COVID-19 has changed the way we do markets. As markets now continue to open, some customers may not be ready to shop freely. Instead, use online ordering to pre-sell products and use the market as a pick up location!
Some great benefits of pre-selling your products before the market include:
- Saved time
- Larger order size
- Frequent communication with your customers
- No manual entry
- Plan for market days with your most popular products
- Sense of security
If you’ve ever lugged products to and from the market, you know how unpredictable your sales can be. Pre-sales allow you to know exactly how much you will sell, and how much product you need to bring. Any other products you bring are extra sales!
Increase order size
Offering online pre-sale to your customers will likely increase the size of your orders. Customers are given a list of different products they can pick and choose from. Maybe they’ll find something they didn’t know you sold! Additionally, customers have limited inventory at a market which can limit what they can purchase. When using an online store, they are more inclined to buy more than if they were walking around the market browsing. Their shopping becomes intentional, rather than a weekend activity.
Keep in touch with customers
Online sales allow you to stay in touch with your customers. When customers are shopping at the market, they can easily get distracted by other suppliers. An online store allows your customers to focus on your business and order exclusively from you. Additionally, an online store will allow you to keep in touch with your customers in the non-market season too!
Here’s how to use online ordering to pre-sell for market!
Sign-up sheet at the Market
To send your customers the link to pre-order, you need their contact information! Provide a sign-up sheet at the market to allow your customers to record their contact information to get started. Also, hand out promotional material with a purchase example that outlines how customers can access your store and place an order. The first step to being successful is getting your customers to your store.
Send a catalog
After your customers have signed up for online purchases, you will want to send them a catalog ASAP. A catalog is a list of your available products. This will encourage your customers to place their orders before the next market. Additionally, the catalog can introduce them to new products you make not always bring to the market.
The market will now act as your new pickup location instead of as a sales channel. Provide your customers with the pickup times and location!
Download a pick list
To prep for market, download a pick list from your online store to know what you need to bring. The pick list is downloaded directly from your online store and will include all orders made for that specific day. No manual entry or any chance of missed/mixed up orders!
Go to market!
Now it’s time to go to the market and sell! Depending upon your business, you may offer payment through your online store when the order is placed, or accept payment at the market. Online payments may help ensure your customers show up to pick up their products. Either way, you know what profits you will make that day!
To ensure additional sales from market-goers, look at what your customers are ordering and pick out any popular products. Bring these to the market!
Let’s change the way we do farmers’ markets! Pre-selling your products before heading to the market and using the farmers’ market as a pickup location, can make a significant impact on your sales. If you’re already selling online, why not try this next time you go to market?
Thousand Hills Ranch and Pembina Valley Hub are using pre-sales and pickup locations as a great tool to ensure sales, and reduce stress at the market. To learn more about how they do it, check out this article!
We've put together a free guide to help food producers and small-scale farmers sell their food online!
It outlines who to sell to, how to sell to them, and where to get started.
Nina Galle writes blog posts, templates, free tools, and other helpful resources for farmers and markets.