Selling your wares at a local Farmer’s Market is the backbone of any small farm’s marketing efforts. But before you throw everything in the truck and head down, have you thought about your marketing plan? How to maximise your sales, promote your offerings, and to get the best return possible? Here are some top tips to make the most of your Farmer’s Market selling opportunities…
Have a Point of Difference
There are many common items at a Farmer’s Market. The things that are easy to grow, and don’t take much effort to keep. But almost every stall will have those kinds of products. What you want to do is stand out and have a point of difference at your stall. The thing that makes people come to the market just to buy it from you.
Try to think outside the box. What do you have that people really want, but have difficulty finding. Bonus points if the item is difficult to source from a supermarket or vegetable shop. Whether it be heirloom tomatoes, plump avocados, a certain herb, or an amazing home-made chutney. Whatever it is, make sure that it sets you apart from the stalls around you.
People love information when they are shopping. Things that help them make a decision on their purchase are always helpful.
Clearly marked pricing and product labels are a must. But take it one step further and give people information on your products. Put together a sign with frequently asked questions, have a little flyer that you can hand out with more information about your wares. Tell your farm’s story, the names of your laying hens, the history of your farm, why you chose to grow certain things.
Information will help you to stand out in a crowded marketplace, and make it easier for customers to buy from you. Use buzz-words like organic, fresh, free-range, specialty, heirloom, or rare to catch attention and answer questions. Photos of your farm are always helpful, as are business cards with all of your information. And make sure you list your website if you have one.
Ideas and Recipes
Create recipes for the products that you sell. People will be able to visualise it on the table in their own homes and will want to recreate that meal if it looks good enough!
Give them information on how the products can be used and stored. They may buy more if they know that it freezes well, or that they can make amazing dishes for their friends and family. You can also show them how to dry herbs effectively, or how to make them into a paste or pesto so that they keep for longer.
Offer Free Samples
What is more enticing than a beautiful plate of samples? It will draw people to your stall and help start a conversation when they try your product. If they can try before they buy, then they are more likely to purchase.
Bring Your Best
People buy with their eyes first. They are not going to be tempted by bruised fruit, or squashed tomatoes. Make sure you have your best produce on display.
Make It Look Good
People are attracted to colour and volume. If you have gorgeous baskets piled full of amazing products then your customers will be impressed. If it looks a bit sparse and boring then they might walk right on past.
Think about how your stall can be friendly and inviting. You must also make yourself seem friendly and inviting. You will turn people away if you seem disinterested or if you have your nose stuck in a book or your phone.
Be Business Smart
There is no point making the effort to go to market if it is not worth your while. That means that you need to be turning a good profit. Make sure you know the costs involved with producing each item. Then, add a healthy margin on top and that should be your sell price. Charge what your products are worth. Sometimes cheap pricing can drive customers away because they might think the deal is too good to be true – that there must be something wrong with your goods.
Also keep records of what is popular, what sells well, and what doesn’t. It will help you to have enough of the popular products, and limit wastage for the less popular ones.
Make sure all your signage and pricing is clear so that the buying process is smooth for your customers.
Now you are ready to go. To market with you… and happy selling!