Every business owner knows the struggle of juggling the demands of running a business while navigating the challenges of a market that’s always changing. Advertising that worked a few years ago no longer produces results. Building profit margins competitive enough to grow a customer base and still cover expenses can feel impossible in this era of online and big box stores. And perhaps most discouraging is the cycle of ideas but no real answers for every business owner struggling to stay in business.
The arduous mix of leaner margins and less traffic with tight or no credit terms has created some of the toughest days in the Christian retail industry. And while the plight of Christian retail has been the subject of countless articles and conversations for the past decade, many industry insiders agree that woefully little has actually changed for storeowners. The subject of what’s gone wrong and what to do has droned on, while stores close due to margins that no longer make it worthwhile to keep the doors open.
But, according to some experts, the hope of the industry may lie in the ability of Christian retailers to harness what’s happening in our nation’s economy; to, as some on Wall Street have noted, take back a market that’s defined by loyalty.
Buying power of the faithful
An estimated one-third of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is now attributable to those who define themselves as people of faith.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (Feb. 28, 2018) estimates the GDP at approximately $19 trillion this year, with consumer spending at $13 trillion. This puts the number of dollars spent by people of faith at nearly $4 trillion.
Studies further show that people of faith are more likely to identify themselves as being conservative and loyal.
The reality that Christian retail has inroads to such a significant portion of the nation’s economy—and specifically to a customer base of self-proclaimed loyalists—is enough financial incentive for some business leaders to invest in the industry.
While no one argues it will take more than the awareness of the GDP to revitalize Christian retail, strategic alliances are now underway with business leaders willing to invest in the industry. Led by The Roush Foundation in strategic alliance with CBA, a massive rollout of industry-specific data and customized inventory on terms is being made available to CBA members.
Significance of attending UNITE 2018
The plan will be unveiled at the UNITE 2018 convention July 8-11 in Nashville. A number of finance, data, social media, technology, and communications strategic partners will be present to reveal specific programs.
“Never in the history of our industry has a program this significant been offered,” says CBA President Curtis Riskey.
Riskey is working with The Roush Foundation and its chairman, Edward Roush, to implement the data and inventory selections in the months prior to UNITE 2018 for select stores. “We will be able to share specific examples of how these revolutionary data and inventory offerings have impacted a number of stores by the time we get to UNITE,” Riskey says.
Roush’s partnership with one of the nation’s leading data firms will allow storeowners to have data on their market area, demographics, and customer base more detailed than anything that’s ever been available. Data will be used to pinpoint product mix and consumer demand.
Accessing the social media platforms the customer base spends most of their time on is another invaluable tool to maximize advertising dollars and free media on various platforms.
The Roush Foundation-controlled Inventory Solutions, Inc. has also secured three product lines on favorable financing terms exclusively for CBA members, available nowhere but those member stores. The products available to members through Inventory Solutions include home goods, gifts, holiday and special occasion, a children’s line, women’s clothing, and accessories. Inventory Solutions has also secured an exclusive coffee blend roasted specifically for Inventory Solutions and CBA stores.
“We’re partnering with CBA to provide much-needed tools and solutions to this industry,” Roush says, “And we’re doing it by helping storeowners in the ways they need it most.”
UNITE 2018 may be the most pivotal event in the Christian product industry’s history. Christian product suppliers and retailers who are passionate about the strength and growth of the industry will want to be there to hear first-hand announcements about unprecedented plans and opportunities.
Read the April issue of Christian MARKET for a preview of things to come at UNITE 2018.
Visit cbaunite.com for details about UNITE 2018.