My farm, my greens, my shop
My farm, my greens, my shop
More independence with direct marketing
Structural change is having a severe impact on smallholder farms, especially in the industrialized countries. Huge food companies and free trade are pushing down prices and creating high dependencies with strict standards. With direct marketing in their own farm shop, farmers can free themselves from the constraints of the market economy and take control of the distribution of their products themselves.
Off-farm sales – a good start
The sale of individual products directly on the farm is often the first step towards direct marketing. It is not particularly time-consuming and cost-intensive, and it’s more of a side-step. One table to present the food and a “cash box of trust” – that’s all you need in terms of equipment. Often it is hikers or walkers who spontaneously become customers here because their path takes them past the farm.
The next step: A farm shop with fixed opening hours
If sales from the farm are successful, demand is increasing and the producers enjoy direct contact with the consumers, it is worth considering the expansion into a farm shop. This step towards the professionalization of sales requires own sales staff, reliable opening hours, and a suitable sales room.
Important to note: The farm shop must be easily accessible. Sufficient parking spaces are necessary, and the competitor situation should be sorted out.
A good producer profile is the best sales argument
Farm shops generally hold their own against nearby organic supermarkets if they clearly emphasize their producer profile. If customers experience the direct connection between the products and the producers, trust and loyalty to the farm is developed. Small activities such as juice pressing, fruit boiling down, guided tours through the stables, farm parties, etc. are suitable for this purpose. Information about the farm should be displayed in the shop – pictures from the stables or from the work in the fields.
Create atmosphere – rural idyll as a customer magnet
When choosing the rooms for the farm shop, ensure that the stables and silos are suitably spaced – a rural atmosphere for a nice shopping experience does not need exaggerated manure or slurry smell. The immediate surroundings of the farm shop should always be tidy. Use flowerpots and accessories to ensure that customers feel welcome.
How to attract people to your farm
On the road leading to the farm shop, an eye-catcher is indispensable. It is best to attach a leaflet holder for flyers that passers-by can take with them. An appealing Internet presence is also a matter of course today. This does not mean that every farm shop needs a lavishly designed website with an infinite number of functions – a description of the location, opening hours and contact details are all you need to get started. In the long run, it makes sense to add photos and information about the farm as well as an overview of what is being sold.
A farm shop has a lot to offer
The direct marketing of products in a farm shop increases independence from market prices and standard requirements. Because there is no need for middlemen, higher revenues can be realized. The consumers will gain a more direct relation to the products and the producers benefit from the personal feedback and the appreciation of their customers.
The operation of the farm shop can easily be extended by a small mail order business in the form of a subscription box or a weekly stand at the market if necessary. This enables a gradual turning away from indirect marketing with all its constraints – and towards self-determined management from production to distribution.