How Castor River Farm used Local Line to Reduce Order Errors Exponentially in Under 6 Weeks!

Operating for 30 years and selling direct to customers for the last 12 years, Castor River Farm specializes in rolled oats that are rolled daily. They also grow and process many different types of grains into flours including barley, Red Fife wheat, rye, buckwheat, spelt and many more. Additionally, they also produce pork, limited beef, chickens and eggs, maple syrup and soaps. Located 20 minutes from downtown Ottawa, this farm focuses on using natural and organic production to bring high quality products to their community.

How Castor River Farm used Local Line to reduce order errors by 50% in under 4 weeks

No more errors!

As George at Castor River Farm continued to grow his customer base over the years, he prided himself on maintaining a strong relationship with his customers. As the number of customers continued to increase, he was able to keep up with the production demand, yet when it came to deliveries and logistics – he kept facing order errors. The more customers they serviced, the higher chance of an order error. It became harder and harder to track what needed to go where.  He knew he needed to address this and quick.

“Around 10 customers, we didn’t have a lot errors when it came to getting customers their orders. When that number jumped to 30, there was an exponential increase in the amount of errors I was seeing. This was the biggest problem in my business”.

How Castor River Farm used Local Line to reduce order errors by 50% in under 4 weeks

Maybe, maybe not?

George knew something needed to change to deal with the error problem. After being approached by Jordan from Local Line, he considered the thought of starting an online store, but was scared it would take away the personal touch he had when connecting with his customers.

After thinking about the switch, he asked his five best customers whether they would want an online store: “Everyone of them was pushing for it! They were the ones that actually convinced me to move my business online”. Soon after that, George opened his new online store!

How Castor River Farm used Local Line to reduce order errors by 50% in under 4 weeks

A successful switch

After having used the software for only just six weeks, George has seen immense changes in his business. By using the picklists and instant invoices features on Local Line, he is able to easily pack and get the orders where they need to go seamlessly and efficiently. The errors that he so badly wanted to address disappeared. “The biggest problem in my business was my order errors and now that has significantly reduced. The only errors I’m still seeing are from the few customers that have yet to move online and use the system!”

Additionally, the fear of losing personal relationships with his customers has dissolved. George is still able to connect with his customer base through emails and conversations, however his online store allows them to order seamlessly. Additionally online ordering has brought forward some of his shyer customers place their orders more frequently.

“The system has exceeded my expectations on what it would do for my business. My customers love it. I’ve seen more customers, larger orders, and fewer errors in only 6 weeks. It’s awesome.”

Moving forward, George hopes to explore and use Local Line’s other features including the accounting and analytics tools to continue to grow his business. However, most importantly, he hopes to continue to reduce the amount of errors seen in his business.

We are so happy we were able to help George in finding a solution to his business’ biggest problem! Check out Castor River Farm’s awesome online store here to see all the great things they’re producing!

How do I onboard new customers?

All that time you spent on marketing has paid off! The customers are flowing in. You might think the hardest job was getting them in the first place, but you need to have a proper method set in place when onboarding new customers to keep them long term. The goal of onboarding new customers is to get them to believe they made the right choice purchasing from you. You already got them hooked – now it’s time to convince them to stay.

Where do you begin?

Set expectations and goals

You cannot create a process without having a goal. This is the first step to successful onboarding. The three main goals of your onboarding process should be:

  • Get your customers to order more than once in the first few weeks
  • Establishing a pattern of ordering
  • Making your products indispensable to their daily routine

Then ask yourself: What should your customers expect from the onboarding process? What steps need to be taken in order for this to be a reality? What do you need from the customers to make onboarding successful? Outlining what customers need and how to get that to them, will create a successful process.

Map the onboarding experience

After setting goals and expectations, you must map the onboarding experience from start to finish. What is the first interaction and how does that transition to being a seasoned customer? This helps you track which stage your customers are at and what next steps need to be taken. We suggest starting with a welcome email along with a signup page – this is where customers add information such as:

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Delivery Address
  • Phone Number

Follow this step with a list of inventory and ordering instructions. How you structure your onboarding experience is entirely up to you – however be sure to make it clear, simple and consistent.

Getting to know your customers

You should be an expert on your buyers. Know how often they need to reorder, their pain points, and products they would like to see in the future. Be sure to collect as much information on your customers as you can. This allows you to address these concerns before they occur. Each customer needs to have a profile on your system with this information, plus their order history.

Send them your inventory

Send new customers a list of your inventory immediately. Let your customers know what they can buy from you. A current list of your inventory also eliminates any confusion about what’s in stock and what’s not.

Note: Make sure to continuously update and resend this list. Your customers might lose the original list or the list might change. Plus its a reminder to your customer to place their weekly order.


Set this up right off the bat. Inform a customer on the best way to communicate with you. Perhaps you create a frequently asked questions section on your website. The more upfront you are at the beginning, the smaller chance that you will have issues in the future. Remember, this is not a sale – it’s a relationship.

Get the first interaction right

People remember bad experiences – don’t let your business be one. Be organized, professional and friendly when interacting with new customers. A positive beginning will ensure a happy and profitable future. Share the philosophy of your brand and all that your brand offers. If your business uses sales representatives, be sure you have the right people that represent your brand the way you would. Unlike other industries, food is very personal. The first interaction is extremely important.


How do I keep my current customers?

Getting new customers is often the goal for many businesses, however keeping your existing customers promises continuous profit. Here are six tips that will help you ensure you’re keeping that relationship strong:


This is key! Create a frequent line of communication between you and your customers like a weekly newsletter that includes specials.  This will show your customers they’re still important to you and informs them of all that’s new!


Frequently send your customers an updated list of all you have in stock. This is a friendly reminder to customers of all the different products you produce and shows them anything new or in season. Showing a list of products will also encourage your repeat customers to order something else.

Simple ordering process

Making it easy for customers to order from you, ensures happy and return customers. If the first time ordering was straight forward and an enjoyable process, customers will want to stay with you. To make this process easier, consider implementing an online store, inventory manager and customer database program. Here are some tips for making this process simpler:

    • Use only one method for incoming orders: This will reduce any mixups from orders coming from all different places and will help you focus on a perfecting one process
    • Record all incoming orders in one place: Don’t mess yourself up by having orders written down in multiple places!
    • Remind customers how to order: Sometime people forget! Don’t hesitate to send your current customers a reminder on how to order. This influences customers to order again and where to go to do it.

Be current

Everyone loves trendy. Keep on track of trends that apply to your business and implement them where possible! For example if you source zucchini as a product, share and showcase recipes using zucchini noodles for people trying to go low carb.

Make it worth it to be your customer

Offer special deals to recurring customers. For example:

  • With the 10th purchase get an item free
  • Holiday sales with free shipping
  • Refer a friend and get 10% off your next purchase
Put a face to the brand

The food industry is personal, especially local food. People want to know who’s growing their food. Posting occasional pictures of your farm and your family is super important to the customers buying.  Go a step further. Shake their hand, host a meet the farmer event, be the person they refer to when thinking of your brand.

What are the best practices for managing returned orders?

It’s a fact, nobody likes returned orders. They’re a pain and can be very expensive. As a food supplier, the three main costs of returned orders are:

The cost of the refund

This is the cost of the loss of the sale. If it was a $500 order, chances are you’ll be eating most, or all of that cost.

The cost of distribution

This is the cost of transporting the product to the consumer originally, PLUS the cost of picking it up again and getting the new product to the customer. You are paying double the distribution costs when dealing with a returned order.

The cost of lost time

This is the cost it takes for time the employees it took to deal with the returned order, therefore the time taken away from working with a new order or customer.

Of course, the best practice for managing returned orders is to prevent them all together.

Here are our tips for minimizing the probability of receiving returned orders:

1. Organization

The biggest key to reducing order mixups and minimizing the chance of a buyer receiving something they did not order, is to be organized. Having a centralized platform where you can see all incoming and outgoing orders, allows you to keep track of what needs to go where, when. We wrote a whole article on reducing order mixups here.

2. Implement a pre-shipment quality check

The most common cause of returned orders is product quality. Product consistency is really important to customers, so if you’re not checking each order as it’s packed, it’s possible you’ll send out sub-par products that don’t meet customers expectations.

3. Provide descriptions and photos of your products

Often, customers order something thinking it will be one way, when it’s actually something else. When selling online, it is important to remain transparent and provide sufficient description and photos of your products to eliminate confusion. You can make this documentation process part of your pre-shipment checklist.

4. Minimize quality changes during transportation

Product temperature and time on the road are the two most important factors that ensure product consistency. There are strict health regulations in place so food stays safe during transport, which means poor temperature control can not only be dangerous, but aesthetically, it can lead to chemical reactions that alter the appearance or texture of a product (Akkerman 2010).

Sometimes things happen and even when considering all of these measures, customers can return their orders. When handling returned orders it is essential to put the customer first. Respecting your relationship will increase the likelihood of them reordering from you in the future. If you do receive a returned order, here are our tips to make that process as smooth as possible:

Provide contact information

Designate one contact person to deal with all returned orders. Delegating the position to one specific person, makes it easy for customers to know who to contact and reduces the chance of the email or message to be lost. Also, if one person is dealing with all returned orders, the methodology will be more consistent. Make sure this person loves making customers happy!!

Even if it’s not your fault, apologize for the issue.

Even if it wasn’t 100% your fault, let the customer know you hear their concerns  and that you’re going to help them. Fighting with a customer over a returned order will only lead to tension. Also, you don’t want an unhappy customer posting about their negative experience on different platforms.

Have an accepted returns time-frame

As food is different than other products people order online, in that is has an expiry date, only accept returns that are within a reasonable time frame. If a customer ordered lettuce from you a week ago and are complaining that the lettuce is expired, the complaint should not be your responsibility.

Offer store credit

This method gives the consumer the freedom to get a new version of what they already ordered or order something else. You are putting the ball in their court, however still ensuring that sale remains in your business. If a customer is insisting for their money back, offer that. It is essential to keep the customer happy.

Being able to provide good customer service is important for maintaining your customer-base and growing your business. Don’t let people slip through the cracks.

5 Step Checklist for Successful Customer Follow Ups

New customers are exciting as you look to scale your food business, however what’s most important is to keep the customer base you have already established. Customer follow ups ensure a positive relationship between you and your customer, so let’s take a look at our 5 step checklist to help you manage your customer follow ups:

1. Give a warm welcome to new customers

The first step when getting a new customer, is to give them a warm welcome. Don’t send them an email, give them a call. Connect with them so that they know that their business is important to you. Starting the sale off on a positive note with customers helps ensure a successful relationship in the future.

2. Check in

After the initial connection, check in with your customers no later than 24 hours after they have received your product. Ask them if they enjoyed your product, if the delivery or pick up was successful, and if they had any complaints that you can improve on. This will give you an idea if they would order from you in the future. It is important to get feedback to help you improve your business and understand what consumers are looking for.

3. Communication!

Often, customers are forgotten after the first initial sale. Don’t forget about your loyal customers! Establish a communicative relationship. Send frequent emails to update customers on new products, sales or what’s new in your business. Not only are you showing your customers you still care, you are also keeping them in the loop of what else they can get from your business (hint: this is what catalog schedules are for!).

4. Be personal

Create a personal relationship with your customer base. Introduce yourself, tell your story, and get to know who your customers are. If your customers can put a face to a product and if they enjoy your product, they will be more inclined to continue to buy from you. Local food is about creating relationships between local food producers and the community, so be sure to make this a goal for your business. Most importantly, you should make sure you understand their business.

5. Ask for a referral

If people love your product, they will rave about it. References from happy customers are extremely credible as they have experience with your business and enjoy your product. A referral is the best kind of marketing. You could even offer a discount on their next purchase if they refer to a friend. This comes across as personalized and will increase your customer base. And remember, if you don’t ask, it won’t happen!!

The key when having successful customer follow ups is having an organized system that lets you track all incoming orders. It is important to not let customers fall through the tracks – follow up!

How to reduce order mixups

How to reduce order mix-ups and stop throwing money out the window.

Order mix-ups are missed, incorrect, or incomplete orders to customers as a result of miscommunication between buyer and supplier. Mix-ups can result in wasted inventory, lost money and unhappy customers. Often, local food suppliers receive orders through many different means: email, phone call, text message, word of mouth; and often lack a system to be able to process orders without any errors. Using these tips, you will be able to manage your orders, ensure customer satisfaction and reduce your order mix-ups.

Have a centralized system for all incoming orders

Say goodbye to scrap pieces of paper and a full email inbox. Reducing clutter from orders will give you a space for all incoming orders to be visible. Setting a clear protocol on how orders should be placed and where they should be placed will create a system where no orders will be lost or misunderstood. It is also essential that you have a clear system where incoming orders are recorded, otherwise, it’s too easy to let something fall through the cracks.

Direct messaging to customers

Ideally, you want to keep all communication from all the customers on the same platform to be able to keep track and reference it in the future. The use of the same platform also informs the customer on the best way to connect with you if they are encountering any problems. Even if the communications come in through various channels, you should have a dedicated, digital home for all customer notes and conversations. Notebooks are nice, but too easily lost or damaged!

Manage your delivery and pickup logistics

Manage your delivery and pick up logistics by creating a clear, public schedule of when you are able to deliver products directly to the customer or to the predetermined pick up locations. This allows your customers to be aware of when they are to receive their products and reduces any possible conflict you could have when scheduling deliveries. You should also add any delivery fees, tracking information, contact information and any other items that are important about the delivery/pick up process along with your schedule.

Create an order list

To keep track of all of your current orders, create a spreadsheet. This allows you to have one document with information regarding the status of your current orders in one place. Within the document, you can simply mark which orders have been paid and delivered and which need to be dealt with. Do not forget to continuously update the spreadsheet as orders are delivered and when new orders come in. The order list will also allow you to quickly inform customers of the status of their order when requested.

Keep track of your inventory

It is essential to keep track of your inventory by recording what you have in stock and what you have sold. Without keeping track of what you have in your inventory, the chance of possible mix-ups increases exponentially. It is also beneficial to show your customers your inventory, so that they will not order items that are no longer in stock or no longer sold.

There are tools that exist to help you with all of steps. You don’t have to tackle them all at once, but start with the most important one for you and track your improvements.

Customer Service Do’s and Don’ts

Providing great customer service is the key to the success of your business. No matter how good your product is, one negative experience is all a customer needs to take their business elsewhere. As a business owner, you need to be taking the right steps to guarantee that customer satisfaction is met. Putting in the effort to deliver excellent customer service will generate trust in your business, and maximize brand loyalty — all of which will result in increased profits.

Here’s an overview of customer service Do’s and Don’ts.

DO own your mistakes. DON’T blame the customer.

No one’s perfect, okay? When you make a mistake (and at some point you will), own it and apologize. Offering a small incentive may even help solidify future business. Providing free shipping or a product discount is a small price to pay for repeat business.

And what happens if the customer is wrong? Shifting the blame on them isn’t going to help. In cases like this, take the high road. Apologize for the confusion, accept responsibility, and offer a solution.

DO provide customer support. DON’T make it overly complicated.

Customers are pretty tech savvy these days, and so customer support must keep up. When a consumer has a question or concern, they want to have easy access to the multiple tools that are available. Providing a phone number and a FAQs page on your website is a good start, but you’ll also want to include a customer support email and maybe even a Live Chat option.

No customer wants to go digging around on your website to find these tools. Having a “Customer Support” button on your homepage will ensure that they’re easily accessible and limit confusion.

DO respond quickly. DON’T neglect customers.

As an e-commerce business, it’s important that consumer questions or concerns are replied too promptly. Customers can quickly become frustrated if their emails remain unanswered and a robot operator is the only voice they hear on the phone.

Make the promise to your customers that all questions will be answered within 24 hours. This will reassure customers that they won’t be left hanging, as well as motivate you and your team to respond within an appropriate window of time.

DO allow for customer feedback. DON’T ignore customer’s remarks.

Make it easy for your customers to leave feedback. Not every customer will have something to say, but they’ll be happy to know you value their opinion enough to give them the option to make remarks.

Once you’ve created a way for customers to send in their comments, be sure to read it! The customers that do contribute feedback will provide you with valid insight about the operations of your business.

DO express gratitude. DON’T be indifferent.

Recognition is one of the best ways to retain customers. Thank them for their purchase, their business, their loyalty — however you want to frame it. But don’t be indifferent. Let them know that their purchase is more than just a transaction. Expressing your gratitude will make customers feel appreciated, which will increase your chances of repeat business.

Managing Outsized Demand: Top Shelf Collection

Today’s food producers are constantly competing for shelf space. Products need to be clearly differentiated to stand out and so does their branding.

Josh Lines from Sarnia saw the gap on Ontario’s hot sauce shelf. Sure, there are a variety of brands with mashed up hot peppers in vinegar, but they all lacked substance and none of them had nutritional value. This gap in the market quickly turned into Josh’s opportunity, and Top Shelf Collection was born.

Josh uses all-natural ingredients to ensure the product has the freshest, boldest flavour. Then, he uses Canadian honey, not refined sugar, to add a slight sweet touch to his hot sauces.

Josh has worked in the food industry his entire career, bartending at the local pub. If you know anything about bartenders, then you know they’re fun, chatty and extremely likeable. So it should be no surprise that as a bartender of Sarnia’s local watering hole, he pretty much knows the whole town. Because of this, Top Shelf’s beginning success started in Sarnia when local businesses showed their support by stocking Front Street Heat on their retail shelves and enhancing menus (and the Canadian Caesar) across town.

It was no surprise that Top Shelf sauces didn’t stay a secret for long. Front Street Heat’s quality ingredients and catchy branding caught the interest of neighbouring restaurants and retailers in other cities, who were making room on their top shelf for this hot Canadian condiment.

The Problem All Food Suppliers Actually Want

Top Shelf premium hot sauce gained demand faster than anticipated. He had a website but no formal ordering or delivery process for his customers. And because Josh is always thinking forward, he knew he wanted to launch two partner programs to selected customers which includes an awesome handcrafted wooden display shelf, menu and social media collaborations and discounted pricing. He had all the right ideas, just no platform to bring them to life.

Local Line or Life Line?

Josh saw immediate value in Local Line’s easy-to-use platform.

“The team at Local Line has simplified our challenges and organized what was unorganized. Through incredible hands on customer service, they helped put our business on track during a difficult period of product growth. Truly a life line for a small but growing business.” Josh, Top Shelf Collection

Here are a few examples of how Josh uses Local Line for his rapidly growing business:

Pricing Catalogs

  • Josh got immediate value with Local Line’s unique private pricing catalogs that can be geared specifically to his different and ever-growing customer list.
  • Once he quickly and efficiently uploaded his products (2L jugs and 296 ml bottles), he created catalogs for his retail, wholesale and partner customers. He then added his customers into his Local Line account, assigned them to appropriate catalogs, and sent invites to their inboxes.


  • Josh took advantage of Local Lines web services, and gave his website a fresh look. He also took his Local Line store and embedded it right on his website so that his customers were only seeing the Top Shelf brand when they were ordering. Everyone from small independents to Metro stores across Ontario are able to place their orders directly on the Top Shelf website. This kind of ordering experience is critical, because it enables both consumers and his wholesale customers to order directly from his website, enforcing a consistent brand and experience.

The nice thing about Local Line is that the platform is built to grow with your business. This means Josh has new services available to him that become important the more momentum his brand gains.

With no plans to slow down anytime soon, Josh knows Local Line has his back and can grow with his business.

How We Built the Flanagan Market

If you’re in the food & hospitality industry in Ontario, you probably know Flanagan Foodservice. Flanagan’s is Canada’s largest family-owned foodservice distributor, serving restaurants, institutions, and bakeries since 1977. Their story is one of service, quality, integrity, and hard work.

Today, Flanagan’s serves more than 6,000 customers across Ontario. They have three warehouses, more than 500 employees, a fleet of 80+ trucks, and list well over 10,000 products. Still, even with their Ontario-wide distribution, world-class team, and award-winning products, Flanagan’s needed to improve in one difficult area: local.

For mid-large foodservice distributors, supplying fresh local food is difficult. Logistics are complicated, as is vendor management and product pricing. For this reason, foodservice distributors tend to avoid local food procurement, but what happens when customers start to demand local food? Local food is more popular than ever but it’s basically impossible for foodservice distributors to list. For Flanagan’s, they knew the traditional model of foodservice distribution was not going to work, so they sought us out, and we built them the Flanagan Market.

The idea for the Flanagan Market started in early 2017 as a way to figure out how Flanagan’s could list all the local food their customers were asking them for. They were already listing more than 400 Ontario products in their Our Ontario program which was a good start, but they were still missing the unique, niche, and diverse selection of products their customers were hungry for.

We were able to help Flanagan’s in three ways:


The first thing we had to do was determine whether the products being sold by Local Line suppliers were a fit for what Flanagan’s needed, but with customers like Top Shelf CollectionFull of Beans, and Artisan Farms, it didn’t take us long to know that our suppliers and their products were a fit!

We built a “discover” tab in the platform so that Flanagan’s could stay up to date on which suppliers and products were available to them, and they could start conversations with anyone they wanted.

 Discover local suppliers in your area Discover local suppliers in your area

Currently, Flanagan’s has been able to find and list over 1,000 Ontario food products from three dozen Ontario suppliers, effectively more than tripling their local food offering.


Once we knew how to identify and onboard suppliers, we had to figure out how Flanagan’s customers would order. We couldn’t list the products in the traditional Flanagan’s catalog because the products weren’t being scanned, stored, and shipped from the Flanagan’s warehouse. In most cases, we thought a drop-ship approach would be the best. So, we took Local Line’s already award-winning e-commerce module, modified it, and made it usable by Flanagan’s. Now, it lists all the local products in one online store, accessible by any customer 24/7.


The main reason foodservice distributors haven’t been able to make local food work is because of distribution, so it was clear to us from the beginning that we couldn’t just warehouse products and ship them with normal Flanagan orders. Margins would be too tight, logistics would be complicated to manage, and as a result, customers would probably end up unhappy.

After conducting an analysis of customer geographies and supplier shipping options, we determined that most Local Line suppliers already ship to the major cities Flanagan’s customers are in. We also built the technology so that customers couldn’t place orders from a supplier who doesn’t deliver to them.

To make the products more accessible, over the span of two months we built out a network of third-party distributors to help ship products in hard to reach areas. Today, we work with Flanagan Market suppliers to find the right shipping partner and get them set up to ship Ontario-wide, just like Flanagan’s.

There were many other details that went into building out the Flanagan Market including invoicing, quality assurance, ensuring food safety, and commissions. All of these, however, were details in relation to the fundamental questions about how to list and distribute products. Once the model, technology, and suppliers were in place, we launched the Flanagan Market on May 29th, 2017. Today, over 400 customers are on the platform (and growing)!

Small Business, Big Impact: Vibrant Farms

Organic food is more than a 4 billion dollar industry in Canada, but it’s really only gained mainstream popularity in the last 15 years. Before that, organic food was niche and for farmers, the business case for going organic wasn’t as strong. That didn’t stop Dennis Baer, owner of Vibrant Farms from becoming certified organic more than 30 years ago. Back then, becoming organic was not a popular decision but he wanted to feed his children natural, wholesome food.

Today, more than 30 years later, Vibrant Farms continues to serve the Waterloo Region community with grass-fed, certified organic meat. After 30 years they’ve generated a big local following, and today they use social media as a way to keep in touch with customers. About 6 months ago, Vibrant Farms began searching for a more modern way to serve customers. Historically, they’d take orders via email, text, and phone calls, then they would enter invoices, accept e-transfers, and schedule pick-ups/drop-offs with customers. Their popularity was growing so quickly they needed a more sustainable process but didn’t want to lose their personal relationship with customers.

As Vibrant Farms got started with Local Line they realized it had everything that they needed; from an online store to custom price lists, from CRM to invoicing and online payments, and even inventory and email scheduling. Since launching their Local Line store, Vibrant Farms is processing 2 new orders per day and has expanded their delivery areas to serve customers in new markets.

Serving Customers

Vibrant Farms serves hundreds of household consumers. They have multiple pick-up and drop-off locations spread across the region. Kathryn Little-McEwin, Business Manager at Vibrant Farms says,

“I like to think about where our customers are. Where are they hanging out? Where are they going? Where can I reach them in one place?”

This kind of thinking led Vibrant Farms to partner with leading naturopathic clinics and Crossfit gyms around the city, knowing that many people going there are health conscious and looking for organic meats. Today, when customers order from the Vibrant Farms online store they can select their preferred pick-up locations to accept their order. For Vibrant Farms, pick-up locations are an economical way to get products to customers, because they couldn’t deliver them all door-to-door.

They also serve wholesale customers like local restaurants. One of the reasons they love Local Line is because they can simply create a new price list and delivery schedule for their restaurants, but still track one inventory set. This eliminates manual entry time and helps process orders faster.

We asked Kathryn how farmers should go about getting new customers. Her response:

“You have to think outside of the box. Who should I be partnering with? Who should I be marketing our products to, and thinking about different ways to reach those people”

Getting Distribution Right

A couple of months ago, Vibrant Farms wanted to break into the Toronto market. They had served a small number of customers there in the past but logistical challenges prevented it from taking off. Thankfully, Vibrant Farms was able to partner up with Arrowhead Meats, another Local Line supplier who delivers beef into Toronto each week. Vibrant Farms and Arrowhead, along with a third Local Line customer, 5 Chicks and a Farmer, were able to organize a collaborative delivery system that enables Vibrant Farms to leverage pick-up locations in Toronto and serve new customers. In their first week alone, Vibrant Farms got three new customers! Without the Local Line network, Vibrant Farms wouldn’t have been able to access the Toronto market and process new orders.

Let’s get Social!

When it comes to social media, being active and integrating yourself into the online community has also proven to be a major aspect of Vibrant Farms’ success. Sharing the link to their Local Line store, offering Black Friday specials and doing pop-up shops are a few examples of how Vibrant Farms has used social media to leverage new sales and find new customers. You want your products to be as accessible as possible. Currently, there are more channels than ever where you can promote your business, all of which have a relatively low (if any) barrier to entry. So what are you waiting for? Create that twitter account, share that link on Facebook, post photos of your products and farming operations! You don’t have to share your entire life, but share aspects of it that consumers these days want to see. Pictures of you feeding the animals, finished products, your beautiful property, etc. If you need assistance with this, we can help!

The Bottom Line

As we move into 2018, Vibrant Farms now has a sustainable method of growth. They’re serving customers while serving themselves. Life is easier for customers and for them, and they’ve found a way to increase their distribution to start scaling their business.