Traditionally, one of the common sights in any small town across the United States is a downtown filled with local shops. However, this is something that is starting to become less common as smaller companies find it harder to stay afloat in tough economic times and a changing consumer landscape.

The growing use of online shopping has less customers going out to brick-and-mortar locations. A recent article from WGBH, a Boston news outlet, spoke with several local business owners who discussed their challenges.

"People's buying habits have changed," said Nancy Wright, who owned and operated Perennial Designs here in the center of town for 19 years. "The way people think about buying has certainly impacted all the small retail stores."

Because of this, business owners have had to get more creative to get customers to come through their doors. The piece spoke with Benny Tang, a Babson College student that is part of a team that analyzed downtown Needham, Mass.

The group found that perceived poor parking, a lack of free wireless internet, restricting businesses ability to run special events that have alcohol and a lack of diverse shops were all hurting consumer turnout. By addressing these, the town can improve the amount of money that is spent downtown at independently owned businesses. This is something that every is needed to have a strong city economy.

Businesses need to do their part also and make sure they are able to capture every potential dollar that comes through the door. Partnering with a credit card payment processor, for example, ensures that businesses can get funds from customers that are looking to pay with plastic.