F&E Marketplace \ FAQS for Farmers & Food Makers

With many farmer's markets encouraging, or even requiring, vendors to offer pre-sale for fast and safe pick up - we know lots of you are scrambling to get online. As Twin Cities Market Managers and frequent e-commerce users ourselves, we created our marketplace with you folks in mind. 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 days 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 "Linden Hills Farmer's Market" logo from the 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 your cut-off times, and order-by deadlines. Easy, right? A sneak peek of our new marketplace is right here. Please note, not all sellers are represented at this time.  >> 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 looking at offering quick drive through neighborhood markets specific to those vendors that sold product online that week at the F&E Marketplace, or via their own stores. 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. We are calling these "Trunk Sales." Super safe, and a terrific way to include as many vendors as possible. More info will be made available soon! 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. HOW much does it cost? 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 online marketplace differently. We don't get paid unless you make money. Pretty novel this! 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 2.4% + .30 for credit card processing. Plus, F&E is waiving our commission in May. Starting in June we will 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 sales 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 PayPal. F&E never handles your transactions, making payment easy and immediate. When customers place an order, you get paid.  HOW do I get started?  We are currently on-boarding sellers, and will be launching to customers starting the week of May 3. Despite everything, it's an exciting time!

  1. First, become a 2020 F&E Member.

  2. Then create your Seller Account and start listing your products.

  3. See our Guide to Selling Online.

  4. Register for a "Selling 101" webinar or one-on-one coaching.

  5. Stay connected via our F&E Facebook Group page.

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