Food can be fiercely competitive and is changing quickly. Everyone wants local, healthy and green. As a food producer, you want to stand out and differentiate your business from other options.
Here are six tips to help you get started:
1. Start an online store
We can’t stress this enough!
Imagine a farmers' market, your farmers' market, that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Imagine a place where you can showcase all of your products all the time without having to be there.
Selling your products online makes it easier for you your customers. It allows you to be accessible to everyone, everywhere at anytime. It is a better place for marketing, communication, business management and customer service.
2. Define your online personality (your brand)
Personalize and update your online presence. This includes your online store, website, social media and any other places online customers can find you.
Create a brand that is unique and reflects you and your business appropriately. When choosing branding make sure it is uniform on all platforms as this increases the likelihood of brand recognition and shows professionalism. Food is personal, so make sure your business reflects that.
3. Use technology
There are so many tools out there to help you run your business efficiently. The more efficient your business runs, the more time you have to focus on reaching new customers and servicing current ones.
Local Line's software understands the food supply industry. With features like e-commerce, inventory tracking, customer and order management, and logistics, it was created to do the administrative work for you, so that you can focus on what you love—growing, making, and selling food!
You can even integrate with QuickBooks, a great tool that helps you manage all of your accounting needs. Technology is created to help you - don’t be afraid to use it.
4. Offer a variety of delivery and pickup options
Customers want easy. Starting with an online store, you are making it easy for them to see what all you produce and order it from the comfort of literally anywhere! Now, they want the products to get to them, fast. At a farmers' market, a customer has to find you amongst all other producers, and hope you are selling what they’re looking for.
Offering different logistics options, such as farm pick-up, pick-up locations and even delivery, gives your customers variety to pick which option works best for them.
Make sure this information can be found easily online and update it frequently.
5. Be a part your customers' lifestyle
Because food is linked to lifestyle, it is important to be present where your possible customers would be.
For example, if you produce organic, grass-fed meat, sell or put a pick-up location at your local gym - as this is where your customer base is located. It is amazing what exposure can do for your sales!
6. Be the best
This last tip is simple. Customer service is extremely important in the food industry. Be helpful, organized and understanding when working with your customers. Simple actions like checking in, having strategies for returned orders and being friendly at every interaction goes a long way.
Food can be very competitive. Strategies such as lowering prices and producing at extremely large abundances are not always effective. It can be hard to compete but experimenting with the tips above will help you stand out among the rest.
Nina Galle is Local Line's Content Marketer, creating blog posts, templates, free tools, and other helpful resources for local food suppliers.