Beginner's Guide to Selling Online with F&E

Interested in selling? Welcome!

We hope this guide will support you in getting your profile set up, crafting listings, and selling products. This is a broader sellers guide complete with resources and tips, so if you're looking for step-by-step instructions, visit our TUTORIALS page here.  
Jump to a section: 
Get to know us >
Create your profile >
Adding listings >
Branding, marketing and promotions >
Managing your profiles and listings >
Tips & resources >
Get to Know F&E Marketplace & Become a Member
With  us, you'll find a passionate community of farmers, small-business food makers and shoppers. If you are new to us, take time to get to know us. Review our seller policies and permit requirements, learn about our in-person markets, membership fee, and make sure our online marketplace is right for you. Once ready, you'll become an F&E Member right here >
Create Your Profile and Configure Your Account: (see this tutorial for step by step instructions)
  • You'll first create your seller account. You'll use this account to manage your listings. Then add your profile picture, a description of your company and set preferences. We suggest using a desktop window browser to manage your listings. 
  • Once you've signed up to sell, you should think about key factors in your selling workflow. Consider things like production time, policies, and how you'll deliver and/or ship your goods. 
Elements to Consider:
  • Banner and logo: upload clear images that represent your brand and products, and make a strong impression on shoppers. Please note, sellers should adhere to the image upload recommendations. F&E suggests Canva.com to edit and enhance images. 
  • Short and detailed store description: begin the description with your company location, along with a description of your experience. This is  your chance to sell yourself, and your products. Consider the following when creating your descriptions >
  • Introduce your team and any other collaborators you work with. If you work with a regional farmer and/or use the ingredients of another local food maker, tell that story and link to their seller profile, too.
  • Store policies. Sellers must consider sales workflow when crafting policies such as; shipping, deliveries, returns, exchanges, payments, custom items, or any other guidelines that are important for buyers to know before they make a purchase. 
  • More specifically, you must create policies for the following within your seller profile: the number of days until delivery, method name/type (curbside pick up, doorstep delivery, shipping or in-person market pick up), and listing the length of time until a buyer receives product. Other policies, include; the number of days the buyer has to complete a return and receive refunds, along with how the customer will return that product to the seller. Please note, with current COVID-19 circumstances, F&E recommends that product not be reintroduced to a seller's existing inventory, and instead offer your customer a "satisfaction guarantee," with a capped credit as refund.
 
Add Listings to Your Store: (see this tutorial for step by step instructions)
Once you've completed your business and store profile, you are ready to start adding products. When you add a product to your store, we call this "a listing." Learn how to list products with our easy-to-follow PDF guide here> Also, F&E and RED have teamed up to offer twice-weekly 45-minute webinars specific to farmers and food makers, and low-cost consultancy opportunities. Register here > 
 
We've also created Youtube video guides on the following topics (see below): 
Listing your products >
Creating variances; allowing lists for varieties of packaging, days and times for delivery and much more >
Adding locations; for customers to pick up product at your in-person markets > 
Image retouching and resizing; creating quality and uniformity in your product listings >
Other Elements to Consider: 
  • Tips for writing your store and product descriptions >
  • Tips for product photography >
NEW! Manage Listings by bulk CSV edits
OPTION 1: BULK EDIT YOUR PRODUCTS (QUANTITY AND PRICE ONLY)
This option is ideal if you already have your products listed, and simply want to make quantity or price updates from week to week. 
Get started:
  1. Start on your Seller Dashboard under PRODUCTS >> PRODUCT LISTINGS, and click "More Actions >> "Bulk Edit"
  2. Follow instructions to download CSV, update prices and quantities as needed, and re-upload document. Tutorial coming soon!

OPTION 2: LIST ALL YOUR PRODUCTS BY CSV

This option is ideal if you have a LOT of products (lookin' at you, farmers!) that you want to pull from your existing records. It's also a great way to upload product images for each of your listings. This is great for someone who's a little tech savvy with a lot to get listed.

 

Get started:

  1. Refer to this link HERE, or visit your Seller Dashboard under PRODUCTS >> PRODUCT LISTINGS, and click "More Actions >> "Add product by CSV"
  2. Follow instructions download CSV, update prices and quantities as needed, and re-upload document. Farmer templates and tutorials coming soon!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Branding, Marketing and Promotion
A marketing strategy is important to the success of your business. Marketing will help new customers find your products and lets existing customers stay up to date. By checking in often, reviewing best practices as set out by F&E and other professionals, then making adjustments for learnings, sellers are more likely to achieve more and higher sales. Just like a farmer's market stall or a retail storefront, online stores require similar kinds of attention.
Elements to Consider: 
  • Make sure you're optimizing your store for SEO searches by using keywords, and include your Twin Cities location so your store can be found in local searches. 
  • Link your store to your social media accounts. 
  • Consider marketing through paid advertising. Facebook and Instagram are two notable outlets. 
  • Consider offering discounts to incentivize shoppers to buy with sales and promo codes. 
  • Register for in-person pop ups and farmer's markets
  • Join the F&E Facebook group page to network with sellers and shoppers. 

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Recommendations for writing store and product descriptions:
 
1. Develop your own voice. 
Your store description and listings should sound like you. Using your own words and infusing your personality will come across as genuine and unique. 
 
2. Write for buyers who take the time to read everything. 
Give all the details you can. A product listing should include sizes of products and its packaging, including the number and weight of each item in a package (such as cookies). Imagery should include close ups photos of the label, any nutrition information and the ingredient list. Descriptions should include any allergen information, such as "wheat free, tree nut free, dairy free" or others. We suggest having uniformity when identifying these details. 
When writing your listings, we recommend looking to sites like Goldbelly, Food52 and D'Artagnan Foods for inspiration. 
3. Remember that customers aren't able to touch or sample your product. 
The best advice we've read is to play "20 Questions" with yourself. If you were purchasing this product, what would you want to know about it? If there were no photos in your listing, would a buyer still understand the product. By including those details, not only will your prospective customer be able to make an informed decision, but it will save you a lot of time answering individual customer questions.
4. Be uniform in styling your listings, use short paragraphs, succinct sentences and lists. 
Even though you want to be descriptive in your product listings, being tedious is a surefire way to turn off your customer. Again, we refer you to the aforementioned online stores when writing your listings. 
5. Proofread. 
If spelling and grammar aren't your thing, ask for help. Either by enlisting the help of a friend or by tapping applications like Grammarly. This application runs in your browser and offers suggestions as you type. Customers want to know that you mean business, a sloppy listing and photos does the opposite. 

RESOURCES TO SUPPORT ONLINE SALES & NEW RETAIL

this list will be further developed as resources come available

COVID19 & YOUR BUSINESS

BUILDING YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MULTI VENDOR MARKETPLACE & AN ONLINE STORE

SHIPPING, PICK UP & DOORSTEP DELIVERY \ FOOD SAFETY

SOCIAL MEDIA & MARKETING

PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS & PHOTOGRAPHY

PACKAGING & LABELING

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CONTACT US

(612) 867 0854

 libby@frankandernie.com

Libby Wyrum, Owner