There are offline businesses going into bankruptcy everywhere. In a time of prosperity, people rush to buy the latest electronic gadget or to get the latest bath accessories, one for each change of the season. So, your market niche may have done well when the economy was doing well, but now you've noticed a down tick in purchases. What's going on? Don't assume that this is a product of the economic recession; instead, be proactive and try to determine what factors are affecting your sales. It could be the economy, but it could also be various other factors: A shifting demographic, poor sales strategies that don't work in a downturn, or bad or no advertising campaign.
When you set up your business, you probably had a good idea of what demographic you wanted to serve. With the recession, the demographic you serve may have had shifts in their income level or even living situations. Take a look at the boomer generation. They are experiencing an epic shift in their income as they retire, with battered retirement accounts from poor market results. Even though you could rely on this demographic to purchase certain products and services as they continued to dominate the market, this may not be true in the future. So, you need to re-evaluate the demographics that you are serving in your market niche.
Running the same promotions with worse results? That's not really surprising considering that the psychology of the market place has changed dramatically and that the consumer may not be in a buying mood for a while. Before the recession, status was a great psychological trigger to use to create a buying opportunity. The same trigger is somewhat meaningless in a downturn unless you are marketing to the very rich. The biggest strategy for the downturn is going to be value offers; you need to make sure that many of your strategies reflect a trigger for value.
Bad or No Advertising Campaigns
The immediate impulse of business owners in a downturn is to stop throwing money at advertising since there are fewer buyers. This is a mistake and can be a self-fulfilling prophecy for poor sales later on. So, if you haven't evaluated your advertising campaign, you need to do that now. Look at where you are advertising, what psychological triggers and sales strategies you are using, and whether you can provide value offers that put you ahead of the competition during this tough economy.