We've been getting lots of great questions in recent days, and thought it best to get them answered right here.
WHO does this work for?
This is ideal for farmers of; produce, value add and proteins. Packaged and cottage food makers for people and pets. Baked goods, take-n-bake and/or frozen foods; including meal-kits, and subscriptions & more.
WHAT is this multi-vendor online marketplace?
Our marketplace is built for the "new market normal." Like Craigslist, Etsy or Ebay, sellers create a profile, list products, and then you'll personally ship, deliver or offer market or curb side pick up. This online market is a one-stop grocery shop, where Twin Cities customers can purchase from dozens of small local food makers, artisans and farmers with a single credit card transaction. Yes, this is the same technology that the big box stores are using, but we are making it affordable and manageable for us little guys.
WHY will this work for farmer's markets and more? Frankly, what we've seen in recent weeks has our head's spinning. For instance, many Twin Cities farmer's markets are promoting their market pre-sales with a long list of vendor websites. Customers have to jump from site to site, input their credit card multiple times and navigate a cadre of mismatched - sometimes unsecured - websites. That is BEFORE they don protective gear and arrive on site. Times are tough enough already! Let's help your customers out!
F&E Marketplace values your time, and that of your customers differently. Simply, when a customer clicks on the market/neighborhood logo from our marketplace homepage, all those products available for pick-up at that market come up. Allowing the buyer to purchase dozens of products with a single credit card transaction. We also have uniform messaging helping the customer to understand cut-off times, and order-by deadlines. Easy, right?
WHAT more can I do with this? Everything and anything you can do from your own online store, without the hassle of having to design, pay and administer it! We do the bulk of the promotions for you, too. Besides being your connection direct to farmer's market customers, we have customizations so your buyers can select doorstep delivery or you can even ship nationally. We also have unlimited listing opportunities, ability to pass commission, shipping and credit card fees along to the customer, sales tax reports, automatic inventory management, a professional and secure shopping cart and checkout process, printable invoices, recurring order and subscription customization, abandoned cart customer notifications and so much more. One shop can do it all, and we like that about our solution.
Do I need to register for an F&E in-person market to list products here? Did I have to sell with you before this year? You do not. Our store is for any Minnesota and/or Wisconsin permitted food maker or grower. WHY wouldn't I just have my own online store? Other than the aforementioned, the value of multi-vendor marketplaces is the greatly increased customer traffic and professional promotions. With such a wide range of products listed, customers will come back again and again. Seriously, folks, if you understand the value of farmer's markets - then you will understand how an online marketplace is valued to a customer. One stop, not a dozen plus. It's secure, intuitive and looks professional, thereby competing with the Instacarts of the world. No more Google forms, or sites with copyrights from 2010, or blogs masquerading as sales sites - it's time to up our local grocery game. We think your customers are worth it.
WILL F&E host in-person markets this season? F&E is offering quick drive through neighborhood markets specific to those sellers that sold product online that week at the F&E Marketplace. Online sellers would drop off any pre-sold product for customer pick up at a drive through location handled by just one or two people. Super safe, and a terrific way to include as many vendors as possible.
Our Drop Sites for Pre-Sale & Pick-Up include the following neighborhoods: Linden Hills (via the Linden Hills Farmer's Market), Excelsior-Minnetonka (via the Excelsior Farmer's Market), the Highland Park Neighborhood of Saint Paul, and Downtown Minneapolis at the Finnegan's tap room. Learn more about these here >>
NEW. F&E is now working with condos, apartments and senior living communities in the Twin Cities to collect from sellers, then deliver product from the aforementioned locations. Doubling your opportunities for increased sales; garnering you even more sales from a single drop site.
WHAT if I sell at more than one farmer's markets? You can list as many markets and dates that you want. Offering your customers the greatest amount of flexibility. This is unique to online stores, and a customization you don't have to pay more to tap into, like Squarespace. Where set up fees can be upwards of $300, with monthly subscriptions starting at $39 a month.
HOW much does it cost to participate in drop sites with delivery? Does it compare to farmer's market fees? The average Twin Cities' farmer's market charges $30 a day to participate. We know that most vendors see revenue in the $300 to $500/day range. That equates to a 10% commission, on the low end of sales. And, of course, your stall fee is charged regardless of your sales. So if it rains, you are still out that money. An unfortunate reality, that sometimes doesn't play well with your bottom line. As farmer's market managers ourselves we know this. That is why we designed our drop sites, in coordination with our online marketplace, differently.
With F&E Marketplace, it's free to get a storefront, a unique web address and list as many products as you like. Further, F&E enhanced our plan to allow sellers the lowest credit card processing and transactions fees available at 2.9% + .30 for credit card processing. We charge a very low 5.6% commission on your sales, and this is just cover our costs. To be clear, this is far lower than most sites, where there is a monthly subscription and set up fees required, on top of sale's commissions. Etsy and Ebay easily go up over 10%, where sites like Postmates and GrubHub are at 30%.
By the way, a portion of our profits will go a different Midwest charitable organization every month! With this, customers are provided a round-up opportunity for a charity at the point of check out, and we think this is pretty cool, too.
HOW do I get paid? Payment happens fast via Stripe. F&E never handles your transactions, making payment easy and upon delivery. When customers place an order, you get notified immediately via email and when they receive your product - you get paid.
HOW do I get started?
We are currently on-boarding sellers, and have launched our site to Linden Hills Farmers' Market customers. We have big plans for the week's ahead, and anticipate good things!