FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

F&E Market: a Twin Cities Online Farmers' Market

 

Updated 3/4/2021

 

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 sell collectively online in a single environment.  Sellers personally ship, deliver or offer market or curbside pick up.

WILL F&E host in-person markets and pop ups in 2021? As an F&E Member, you will receive first notice when and if we offer in-person markets. 

 

SELLER EXPERIENCE

WHO does this work for?

This is ideal for farmers of produce, grains, value-add and proteins. Packaged and cottage food makers for people and pets. Baked goods, take-n-bake meal kits and/or frozen foods; restaurant and food truck pre-sales with pick up, recurring food and beverage subscriptions. We've found it terrific for farmstead made fibers, soaps and much more. We've recently added in beauty and health care sellers; along with kitchen textiles and products. Bulk and case sales, CSAs and subscription - based products can be sold, too. We plan to offer wholesale buying opportunities to processors, restaurants and institutions in the future, too. 

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. 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. To see a side-by-side cost comparison see this spreadsheet.

DOES it make sense to recommend this to fellow vendors at my in-person markets? We think so! We know that the greater number of sellers and the increased variety in a single online location, really amplify this as a significant opportunity for customersCustomers have admitted to us that they've been frustrated with pre-sales where they've had to jump from site to site or email the seller to confirm they get their order. What Etsy did artisans and craft makers - we hope to do for farmers and food makers!

 

DO I have to be apply to become a member? In order to complete our legal, insurance and tax requirements - we do require that you submit an application and be accepted annually. Once approved, you'll then select the membership that works best for you.

WHAT can I do with my listings? Besides being your connection to hundreds of thousands of customers looking to purchase direct from local farmers and food makers, whave unlimited listing opportunities, automatic inventory management, a secure shopping cart and checkout process, and printable invoices and pack slips. The site also offers customizations for store/market pick up, nationwide shipping and doorstep delivery. You can even offer your customers discounts, promo codes, and two for one buys. 

HOW do I get paid? Payment happens fast via PayPal. F&E never handles your money, making payment easy and upon delivery.  Once our deliveries are complete, sellers can confirm delivery via the Seller Dashboard and payment from PayPal is triggered. 

 

WHAT about sales tax? State and local sales tax is computed via the Shopify site, and put to the customer for payment, and those monies are passed along to you. 

 

WHAT is with the drop sites and delivery? Our best opportunity to date for increased sales has been collating customer orders into a single pickup or delivery. We first started out with an organized pickup service in 2020, starting in March 2021 we moved to professional doorstep delivery utilizing the services of BrightSide Produce. Sellers drop product the day of delivery, and delivery occurs after. Read more about drop days here >>

WHAT info do sellers get about customers and orders? Sellers receive all of the same customer information (email, shipping address and phone number) that our administration does; allowing you to manage your own customer relationships, and promote to these folks again and again. 

HOW does it compare to in-person markets? 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 what we do differently, as F&E doesn't make money unless you do. 

 

HOW much does it cost to participate? 

Your first step is to apply. In 2021, our application fee is just $30, and our memberships begin at $45, and top out at $149 a year. With every membership you get a storefront and a unique web address. With our most popular tier you can list as many products as you like, and even receive weekly delivery to your customers.

 

WHAT about other fees? Our credit card processing and transactions fee is at 2.6% + $.30. F&E charges a very low 6% commission on your sales. 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 15%, where sites like Postmates and GrubHub are at 30%. See our cost comparison of sites here. 

HOW do I get started? Read more about his here >>

WHAT if I'm new to selling online? F&E offers technical support, can review listings and provides tutorials to help you get set up fast. We encourage you to have information at the read such as a profile of your business, a list of products and images of those products. It's always important to detail ingredients, type/size of packaging, number of servings and how best to store the product.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

WHO are F&E customers? We are still getting to know our customers. Our initial impression is that many are early adopters, others are seeking to avoid crowds, some are really into meal planning and reserving those special foods and goods; all have a real affinity for supporting local, small businesses.

In general, we are seeing a 65% customer retention rate and an average customer sale of $110+. This blows away most in-person farmer's market's customer average of $15! Customers are seeing this site as a full, comprehensive grocery shopping opportunity - especially with the wide range of products available. 

WHAT is the customer experience like?

Customer notifications, include; receipt of order and notification/reminder of pick up and logistics. F&E also provides notice to the customer if an order is rejected or refunded by the seller. Our promo work, includes; almost daily e-newsletters, boosted/sponsored Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts, earned and paid media. 

WHAT is the customer experience like for delivery? Delivery now occurs on Sundays, and customers are given a window of time to expect their delivery on Sunday morning via email.

 

WHAT other notifications do customers receive? Customer notifications, include; receipt of order and notification/reminder of pick up and logistics. F&E also provides notice to the customer if an order is rejected or refunded by the seller.

 

PROMOTIONS

HOW do you promote the market? Our promo work, includes; almost daily e-newsletters, boosted/sponsored Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts, earned and paid media. 

Have more questions? We'd like to give you answers. Reach out to libby@frankandernie.com