More and more farms are diversifying their revenues. From running a CSA program, adding laying hens, starting their own herd, and offering farm experiences to their customers, the family farmer is getting busy.
Introducing: Wolf Creek Family Farm
Like many family farms, Karin and Arcenio Velez from Wolf Creek Family Farm know what it's like to juggle many different ventures. They are on 40 acres, of which four acres are cultivated for fresh produce. They also raise hogs and chickens on pasture, using the chickens for their eggs. They also run a 75-member CSA and sell at four farmers' markets throughout the weeks.
When their markets closed in early 2020, they pivoted to online sales and started offering home delivery to their customer base. But during that transition they became unsure how they would manage both selling vegetables by pack size and pork by weight.
With many generic e-commerce platforms, you have to list products by unit. For example, I have 14 black t-shirts and 17 blue hats. With clothing, or even with certain vegetables such as heads of lettuce, this works! But, when you sell products such as meat, selling by unit can quickly become challenging. No two pork chops weigh the same. So the question is, how do you properly sell by weight online in a way that allows you to charge your customers for the actual weight of the product?
Let’s go through an example.
Lets say you sell pork chops for $9.99/lb. A customer orders 2lbs of pork chops. You go to weigh the packages for delivery, and one weighs 1.9lbs and the other 2.1lbs. Which one would you give to the customer? Most likely, you’d give them the 2.1lb pack.
Sure, you’re not losing a ton of money on one sale, but image you perpetually run your business this way. At the end of the month, you’re losing 5-10%+ of potential revenue because the customer has paid for 2lbs but has actually received 2.1lbs.
Luckily, using Local Line, Wolf Creek Family Farm is able to list both their pork by weight and list their vegetables and eggs by pack size.
“For the longest time, we had to create a line item or product for bone-in pork chops 1.0 to 1.1 pound for 'x' dollars. This resulted in eight different options for bone-in pork chops. With that, either the customer or us would win or lose based on the weight of the pack we ended up selling”, explains Karin.
“Now, we can list 25 packages of bone-in pork chops in stock in a range of 1 to 1.75 pounds per package. When we go to package the order, we input the exact weight and charge the customer for that price. They’re paying for precisely what they ordered, and we’re getting exactly what we’re owed. It’s a win-win for everybody."
How does it work?
You start by uploading your products into Local Line. You can organize a product’s inventory by either item or weight. When selling by weight, either option can work. For example, you have 20 packs of chicken breasts available (item) or 100 pounds of chicken breast available (weight).
Next, you’ll indicate whether you charge by weight or by item. To sell by weight, you select Charge By → Weight. This way, when someone orders two packs of chicken breast, you can update the order to reflect the exact package weight. To sell by unit, select Charge By → Item. All your inventory can be listed in the same price list – no matter whether it’s being charged by weight or by item.
Once you've selected to sell by weight, input the average package weight for your product so your customers know approximately what they're ordering. For example, if your ribeye steak averages 1.4lb per steak, input that as the average. Add in the price per pound of your product, and the average price of each package will be generated. In your storefront, customers will see both cost per item and price per weight (lb or kg).
The final step is to mark the product with “Orders with this product require approval.” This means that after a customer has made an order on your online store, you as the seller can make adjustments to weight or quantity.
What's even cooler is that if you're accepting payment by credit card and have turned on the 'Order with this product require approval' setting, Local Line will pre-authorize the customers credit card for +15% of their order total so that when you've inputted the final weights, all you need to do is click 'Approve' and it will automatically charge your customers card. No more chasing down payments!
At the end of the day, whether you decide to sell by weight or by unit, you can do either using Local Line.
“The great thing about Local Line is I’m still able to list products by the piece or, for lettuce as an example, by the head. The inventory and pricing for that product are based on the unit, not by weight. I have the flexibility to select which option works best for each product. It’s a HUGE lifesaver" says Karin.
Whether you’re selling whole cows, bags of potatoes, or sausages, selling by weight online is easy to do!
Want to learn more about how to use Local Line to sell by weight?
Download our new guide: The Livestock Farmer’s Guide to Sell by Weight
Use this easy-to-follow farm-focused guide to learn how you can easily sell by weight online. Click the button below to grab your copy! 🙌
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