This is when they started Local, a social enterprise that creates a framework for farmers and local food producers to sell their products and for customers to access local food.
Local offers local producers a sales channel through their online store and in-person location, Local Market, and access to a larger distribution network to reach more customers. Now being open for over a month, they are seeing a huge amount of support from their customers!
“Our customers love our in-person and online store," shares Robyn from Wildsight Elk Valley. "One customer told me they first come to our store to see what they can buy locally and then go to the grocery store (only if needed) to purchase the rest of their list! It is great to see that the community is so passionate about supporting local producers.”
Getting Organized with Local Line and Square
Local was initially connected with Local Line through the BC Farmers’ Market Association. The Fernie summer market, Mountain Market, was using the platform for sales during the first COVID-19 wave. When the team got Local Market up and running, they knew they wanted to stay on with Local Line to continue to offer farmers and consumers an online store.
When they opened their in-person location, Local Market, in December, they were still able to manage everything from their Local Line account with the Square Terminal Integration. This integration turns a Local Line account into a POS system using the Square Terminal device. Local Line became their one-in-all tool!
“Local Line is our main source of everything! It’s our inventory management system, sales platform, and reporting system for vendor payouts. Local Line is all we got! It is great to have everything we need to operate in one place.”
Operating as an in-person storefront and online store, Local Market is learning the best way to balance both in-person and online transactions:
For in-person sales, customers are able to browse around the store, pick up what they need, and pay at the counter. In the platform, the transaction is logged as the order and payment is processed through the Terminal. On the customer-side, they are able to pay with credit or debit similar to a regular card processor. Inventory is deducted directly from the Local Line system instantaneously and appears in the online store.
“Right now, we’re seeing that a lot of our sales are actually in-person! I think everyone is excited about our new location and wants to walk around the store. Some customers also check out what’s available in the store online, and then come into the store to buy it!”
For online sales, customers are able to shop through the catalog and filter by product or producer. They then fill their cart, make their order, and pay online with any debit or credit card, or in-person using the Terminal at pick up. Local Market is able to access that order through Local Line and pack it for the customer for pick up.
The flexibility of being able to offer customers either option is a huge advantage, especially in a time when social distancing is recommended! It allows them to be prepared for anything that may come their way. On top of that, all inventory is tracked and recorded in the same place.
On the vendor-side, Local Line has allowed producers to be in charge of their products. Similar to a farmers’ market, Local Market sells retail space in the store, however, does not own the inventory in the store. Farmers are able to bring their products and sell via the sales channel.
“Our producers love having Local Line. As most of them already have their own Local Line accounts, they are familiar with the platform, which made it super easy to get started. Also, they are able to update their inventory themselves. They love being able to watch their inventory tick away as new transactions have been made. As the hub, we love being able to use the reporting feature to be able to determine exactly how much to pay the vendors at the end of the sales week.”
The Terminal integration with Local Line has given Local Market the platform to be able to manage both online orders and in-person transactions using one tool! No more manual entry into multiple platforms and checking if values at the end of the day are equal.
“We have had a great experience with Local Line. The support team has always been very responsive and ready to help when needed. The product team has been very receptive to feature requests. It feels like there are real people on the other side of the phone who are happy to help.”
Moving forward, the team at Wildsight Elk Valley and Local Market are excited to see what the future holds. Having everything in one place allows them to be efficient and offer their local producers an easy and straightforward way to sell. As the staff grows, they are excited about having a simple workflow for online and in-person sales that is easy to learn and operate.