Bluegrass Beef Kentucky has seen record online sales since the start of COVID-19. Since March 2020, this grass-fed beef farm has seen sales increase more than $20,000 over last year!
Melissa and her family have proudly been producing grass-fed beef in Shelbyville, Kentucky since 2011. They produce high-quality products by focusing on sustainably managing their grass, forage, and cattle.
In April 2019, Melissa opened her Local Line account to offer an online ordering option for their customers. She liked that the platform was fully built-out and that no extra time or development was needed. All she had to do was fill in their information, upload customers and products, and embed their new store into their website!
At the time, Melissa used Local Line as a secondary sales channel and focused predominantly on selling at the farmers’ markets and on-farm. When COVID-19 came crashing through, online sales started to skyrocket.
“We are glad we were already set up with an online ordering system when the pandemic started,” she says. “It allowed us to be ready to continue to sell to our customers without the farmers’ market.”
Making the most of their online store
Using Local Line to manage online sales has saved Melissa so much time. Her customers are able to visit her online store, browse through the products, select a pickup time and location, and pay online. Before pick-up day, Melissa downloads her pick list, packs orders, and brings them to market or has them ready for on-farm pickup.
“My favourite Local Line feature is that customers can easily choose a pickup time that is convenient for them,” she shares.
She goes on to explain that before using Local Line, she had to do hours of communication with customers to find a pickup time that worked for each of them. Having an online store eliminates all of those conversations. “It takes up a large portion of your day doing all of that communication! My online store allows me to hand that off to Local Line. Customers can select which time and day works best for them and place their orders. It’s a huge time saver!”
So far, Bluegrass Beef customers have been loving their online store. They currently have 160 customers registered.
“In the beginning, it was difficult to convince some customers to use our online store because we were selling one way for so long,” explains Melissa. “Once they were signed up, it’s super easy! Our customers love it. Having the store allows us to continue to sell and without it, we would have not been able to survive this time.”
Since COVID-19, Melissa has seen a significant increase in order size. She now limits the number of certain products customers can buy to make sure there’s enough for everyone! “Way more of my customers are ordering online and making bigger orders. I’ve had to set limits to how much ground beef they can buy!”
Transitioning to the new normal
Moving out of lockdown, Melissa finds it the farmers’ responsibility to continue to push for local food.
“As farmers, we have to give our customers reasons to come back and continue buying from us,” says Melissa. “We are competing with large-scale farmers and retailers, so convenience is key. Shopping online has to remain easy. Local Line helps us do this.”
They hope to keep the momentum going and continue to sell online to their customers. Melissa’s goal is to transition the business to 100% on-farm pick up and stop selling at physical markets entirely.
“Saturday morning markets are hard for a lot of our customers, so we want them to take advantage of our convenient pickup times. Local Line is helping us bridge the gap for selling more at the farm.”
Bluegrass Beef made the best out of a difficult situation. Their online store allowed them to be prepared for the influx of online orders and they saw a sales increase of $20,000!
“If other farmers are considering getting an online sales platform, I would 100% recommend Local Line. It is super easy to use and very affordable! Also, the customer service is unmatchable. They walk you through every step of the process!”
Take your farm's business online today with a free Local Line trial!
Local Line is the best way for your food business to keep operating and selling during COVID-19. Use Local Line to set up an online store and offer home delivery to your customers.
Nina Galle writes blog posts, templates, free tools, and other helpful resources for farmers and markets.