With shoppers increasingly looking for the best value, a staggering 72% of retailers who responded to a C-Store survey said that improved promotions would be the biggest help in 2009.
Only 8% chose an increase in their own margin above a better deal for customers. Attention- grabbing deals are what brings them footfall, retailers said.
"Our main priority is to get people in the store and price promotions do the trick," said Vicky Tomlin, who runs a Mace store in Bradford-on-Avon.
And despite increased interest in pricemarking, only 5% of retailers said that this would be their first choice, while only 3% said that extended credit would be most useful to them.
The survey also found that more than one-third of retailers are not getting meaningful support from manufacturers' field service teams.
Mark Johnson, of Celebrations Off Licence in Stockport, said that manufacturers could benefit from visiting independents more frequently. "There's a lot of us out there and the standards are getting better, so manufacturers need to start sending reps to us," he said.
Other findings from the survey revealed that alcohol has become the champion category for the majority of retailers, with tobacco and confectionery hot on its heels.