The times they are a' challenging. As foodpreneurs you've already got this creative thing down pat. Now it's about putting that creativity to real work. Lemonade, lemons, and all that will define if you sink or swim. Let's swim.
F&E announced plans to launch a multi-vendor online marketplace in late March. Our collective marketplace is pretty darn innovative, and is the only thing like it in the Upper Midwest. To be clear, our marketplace was created to offer F&E Members the greatest amount of customization and flexibility to grow their business. Meaning it's not a single kind of shop, for a single type of marketplace, selling in one type of way - like how lots of farmer's markets are now selling online. With your profile and listings, sellers can fulfill customer orders via:
traditional in-person farmer's markets.
contactless F&E Pre-Sale & Pick-Up Markets.
offering nationwide shipping.
AND doorstep delivery.
There. We said it. It's time folks. Leaving home is scary for people. Home is safe. By adapting your business to speak to this new normal, you may just beat your competition to the punch.
Further, early adopter types have been on this bandwagon for awhile. Ourselves included. What was once a luxury, is now commonplace. Online purchases at 3AM, mean groceries at 10AM - without getting out of bed. For years, F&E - along with RED Market - have been champions of the online sale with market pick up. And we want you to be, too. We get this is new territory, but lots of businesses do it - even locally. Pet Wants Minneapolis has been delivering for year's and they've learned how it can work for them. So can you. There are tremendously affordable applications to support your foray into this doorstep delivery distribution model. Apps for route planning, for one.
Couple ways to think about this.
Trade your 4-hour (or more) farmers' market sit session for a drive session. Instead post your product online, share via your social networks, sell and receive payout - before ever leaving your home (or in some situations baking a single cupcake).Thus allowing you to specifically prepare and package product for a known customer. Better inventory management means less waste, and equals more control over your precious time and your business. Check out our resource page for links to help you plan routes, select packaging and organize your time.
With online sales you receive information about customers you never could in-person. A little creepy, but real.
You can reduce your daily sales cost by eliminating stall fees.
Get your weekend back & so much more.
In our comment section, share the ways you see online sales supporting your bottom line?
During the week of June 1,F&E Marketplace is doing a big promotional push for doorstep delivery and shipping. If these are current offerings, or something you are considering - now would be the time to get your online profile and listings in order. As the only local collective food marketplace in the Twin Cities, we are certain to have a media field day (virtually, of course). To get represented during this push, complete your seller profile and listings by Friday, May 29. To get your listings ship shape, read more here > Remember, to share these offerings with customers via the F&E Marketplace you will need to configure the Hyperlocal Feature and your Countrywise Shipping ranges.
Hyperlocal allows for sellers to set their delivery areas based on distance from a single starting point.
Countrywise Shipping sets rates based on USPS and UPS negotiated rates, and charges customers the appropriate amount at checkout.
Thinking of starting doorstep delivery? Truly, this is the most surefire way to move forward in COVID times, and the safest. Take those hours previously spent selling to an unknown farmer’s market audience, and start delivering your food direct. Remember cottage food makers are legit for this. RESOURCES: Route mapping resource. Insulated shipping boxes and bags.