In tough times people always go back to their vices. In almost every recession, the industries with the least amount of decline have included alcohol, drugs, sex, and anything else that can help people cope with a tough economic reality.
I guess in the world we live in now, this is just as true. A recent report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index found that people are most pleased with the beer and candy they buy with a slight increase of cigarettes as well. What does this mean for the naturals retailer? A few conflicting changes in merchandising and inventory.
Natural products retailers have a tendency to promote health, well-being, and all things whole. This is all well and good, but the philosophy might be missing out on an opportunity to provide consumers with what they want, which is apparently beer and candy.
What you can do is simply to begin to stock more beer and candy and other items that may not fit into the "healthy" category. There are plenty of natural alternatives to the corn-syrup packed conventional versions out there. Not only will these new natural varieties of beer and candy please your customers, they may turn them on to better brands of their favorite vices, versions that they'll have to come back to you for.
Everyone is going through a tough time right now. Don't look at your shelves as a way to force customers to eat strictly healthy. Offer products that please their palates and lift their spirits (literally).