Small businesses changing strategy to compete with big retailers

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 7:46pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — There’s a new trend at some of Sidney Stevens' favorite local stores this year.

“I’ve definitely noticed a lot more sales and specials, especially around the holidays,” she says.

The LSU sophomore says she keeps tabs on those sales on social networking sites.

“I’ll see on Facebook that they’ve got a new shirt in, and I’ll go see that,” she explains. “It helps to go look at it online and then come into the actual store.”

Erinn Legendre, owner of Posh Unique Boutique on Highland Road, says she’s been targeting her Internet savvy customers.

“Facebook has helped us out a lot,” Legendre says. “The fan page, we put pictures up and bring customers in.”

The store’s sales have doubled this holiday season since last year.

“This year, we’ve gone down in our prices a lot more, so I think that’s another reason why we’ve been a lot busier,” she says. “I do find that more people are trying to get more bang for their buck.”

Across town at The Backpacker on Jefferson Highway, owner Michael Mathews is seeing a similar trend of thrifty shoppers.

“People aren’t coming in and buying multiple items for their whole family,” he says. “They’re picking one item and they’re moving with it. They’re not browsing as much.”

He says big box stores have had lots of holiday promotions this year.

“The nationwide retailers are offering specials online and specials in-store,” he says.

That’s why he has been working extra hard to stay ahead of the game. “We’re just trying to keep up with the status quo and make sure customers have a reason to shop with us as well as anybody else,” he explains. “We’ve been offering so many different specials to promote people to take a look around our store.”

Lots of customers say they’re taking advantage of the sales.

“I don’t know how much less we’re spending, but I think we’re getting more and spending less,” says Kate Conely.

That’s giving small business owners a reason to celebrate. They say their stores are great for the local economy. A larger percentage of their sales goes back into the area than from national retailers.

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