Retailers did everything possible to attract buyers over the holidays. From educational sessions to discounts and coupons, and special offers, retailers used their ingenuity and marketing smarts to make the best of a dismal season.

Nonetheless, numbers were down and every indicator pointed toward an even gloomier 2009. Perhaps the very profile of the retail environment has shifted as consumers settle in for what may be a protracted economic change.

Here are some smart, manageable tips on how to survive through the second half of the 2009 buying season and keep your business on track.

Don't Take Your Foot off the Gas

Remember those longs days and nights last November and December while you did everything possible to make your business a success? Now is no time for a vacation.

No matter how tired you are or how discouraged you might feel, it's time to keep your chin up and continue marketing to your customers. A reduction in marketing efforts is not an option. Marketing keeps you in front of current customers, enlightens prospects, and positions you well for when the economy recovers. Those who stop marketing often find themselves losing precious momentum and having to make up ground in the long run.

Need help? Tap into local support outlets, work with your regional Small Business Development Center or business organization, and commiserate with other retailers.

Make Every Customer a Repeat Customer

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Adam Boyden is president of Conduit (, which powers apps for Web publishers and offers a platform to enable publishers to create apps using their own brand and content.