Farmer’s market and pop-up-shop shutdowns have forced many producers to innovate new ways of selling. Farmers are not the only ones affected either; sellers of gourmet products, artisan soaps, and handcrafted personal care products have also been shut out of a significant income source.
Businesses that have long depended on farmers’ market sales to sustain them face financial difficulties they may never recover from – unless they can innovate, pivot, or develop a new audience.
Safety Concerns and Shrinking Margins
In places where farmer’s markets remain open, safety protocols must be observed, and in many cases, this is driving up costs and shrinking profit margins to the point that some vendors could decide it’s not worthwhile. Enforcing safety rules is vital, but it requires extra effort. As a result, some markets are raising their vendor fees, driving costs higher, and reducing profitability for everybody.
What’s the Solution? Recovery Tips to Help You Thrive
While some producers have managed to pivot their operations online, many will not survive long-term unless they reimagine their business model. For any vendor whose livelihood depends on in-person sales, it’s a time of great uncertainty.
To help boutique vendors navigate what appears to be our “new normal,” here are some ideas to support you on the road to recovery.
- Adjust Your Pricing. As the market ebbs and flows, so should your pricing policies. Consider the additional costs of doing business and build this into your pricing model. Most people will understand and gladly pay the premium.
- Build Out Your Online Presence. If you have a little more time on your hands, spend some of it developing your online brand. This includes your website, your social channels, and all of your online listings. The easier it is for customers to find you, the better off you will be. Plus, you may discover a whole new audience that is hungry for what you have to offer!
- Start Blogging. You are an expert at what you do, and people love your products. Why not invite them into your world and show off the things you do best? Blogging establishes credibility, and it’s a great way to extend your reach.
- Emphasize Health Benefits. Whether you’re selling personal care products or gourmet food products, keep in mind that people face very specific problems right now, and you can help them. Stress, immunity, and general wellness are all primary concerns, all of which can be enhanced with natural products. Let people know how your products can help.
- Connect With Your Customers. If you are still selling in person, even if it’s on a reduced basis, start collecting emails. A strong email list supports marketing efforts beyond the farmer’s market, helping you grow an audience and opening up new sales opportunities.
- Sell to Stores. Research local retail stores that might be a good fit for your products. The right outlets will fill in the income you’ve lost from in-person sales.