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Make Your Farm Stand a Market Standout
You excel when it comes to growing food but selling it is another matter. Being a great salesperson is a skill and marketing your products might be a new experience. To make a splash at the farmer’s market and become the must-see booth, you’ll to have to learn how to be a standout. Our tips can help you get on your way to mastering the farmer’s market.
Creating a Great Farmer’s Market Display
A good display can make your sales for you, so let’s focus on creating that eye-catching, irresistible booth. Putting work and thought in on the front end will help you reap the rewards when you go to market.
Be seen from a distance. Your signs need to be easy to see and read. From a distance you want to loudly proclaim what you sell and who you are. In smaller print, you can tell them where you are located, what you do and what makes you unique. Consider including pictures of your farm and family in your displays — a lot of marketing is about telling a story. Tell yours and sell yours.
Solid and sturdy displays. Markets are busy places where children and pets might be bumping into your stand regularly. Ensure that it’s strong enough to handle those assaults without falling or disrupting displays. Think beyond your stand and consider your displays. A beautiful pyramid of apples looks great, but it’s easy to knock over and then your produce is bruised. Use baskets and crates that will display your produce but protect it, too.
Hide the skeleton. Your booth’s framework is unattractive but with smart use of awnings and tablecloths you can create a finished look that comes with care. One thing to remember, colored awnings can cast an unflattering light when the sun shines through them — stick with white for the best results.
Make the most of your space. While the ground is not a good place to put produce, there is still a lot of space within your booth’s height, width and depth. Create stands that showcase your produce and are easy to get to for both employees and customers.
Label everything. Don’t leave anything to question. In addition to labeling your produce, make the signs easy to read and see. Customers should instantly know what the produce is and the price.
Have a sense of abundance. Make sure your displays feature overflowing baskets of produce, giving your customers the sense of bounty and choice. Even if you don’t have a lot to display, make it look like you do by filling baskets or crates partway with straw and then put your produce on top.
Be memorable. Be part of the display and stand out to customers. Think outside the box and add something totally unique. Would costumes work for you? How about some clever banter back and forth? Can you create works of art from your produce or make delicious samples? Come up with your own way to be remembered and they’ll come back!
Play the role of artist. Get crafty and think of your displays as art. The colors, patterns and accessories you choose for your displays should let your produce shine. Try to create a booth that makes visitors want to take and share pictures.
Prepare for the year. Before the farmers’ market season begins, start making a list for yourself of everything you’ll be selling and when. Consider the adjustments you’ll need to make through the season if your crops change. Will you need more or less baskets or a change in accent color and décor from spring to fall?
Stand back and look it over. Try to see your farm stand from the eyes of a customer. Is it inviting and attractive while putting the focus on your produce? Does it make you want to get closer to take a look and buy?
Have a Farm Stand that Responds to Customers’ Needs
Going hand-in-hand with creating a visually appealing food stand is the atmosphere your booth puts out. The best way to foster that great feeling is by giving the customers what they want and making them so happy they walk away smiling.
Know your audience. If someone comes to a farmer’s market, chances are they’re looking for fresh produce and maybe something handmade or organic. Put the focus on things that matter to someone who makes the effort to come to a farmer’s market. Give them an experience and celebrate your farm, your process and the market itself.
Fast and slow. Some customers will want to discuss the produce with you and learn more while others are in a hurry. Cater to both by prepackaging some products for quick selections and being available to answer questions for those who want to linger.
Customer-friendly area. You want your space to be the most welcoming booth around. Give people room to move so they’re not trapped or blocked from what they want. If they need help to get produce, make sure you have enough employees so they never feel ignored.
Be personable. Wear a nametag and be friendly with your customers. You want your regular customers to remember you and feel a connection. If you’re good with names and faces, try to reconnect when you see them again and ask how they enjoyed your produce last time.
Have good employees. If you have employees, ensure that they’re knowledgeable and have a feel for your produce. Look for people who have a passion for food, are engaging and make you smile.
Create a value add. Give them more than they expect and they’ll love you for it. Consider adding a recipe of the week or a suggested recipe for each product. If you have a new or unusual item, create a flyer that explains what it tastes like, how to cook it and the health benefits. If you’re creating a takeaway — make sure they’re branded so you’re remembered.
Time to check out. When it’s time to buy, your customers want speed. Place the cash register somewhere that’s easy to access and where it won’t block traffic. If you’re in a situation where that’s difficult, a cash apron might be your solution.
Accept credit cards. A lot of people prefer the convenience of using a credit card. It’s easier than ever for small businesses to take charge payments. If you’re concerned about processing fees, shop around before picking a payment processor. Make sure to research total rate, cancellation fees, service charges, statement fees and any other charges. Like all contracts, read the fine print.
You don’t have to be the best salesperson or a marketing guru to make your farm stand successful. Your product knowledge already makes you its best spokesperson. And your understanding of the people who love your produce gives you all the clues you need to connect with your customers. You’re now ready to master the market!