How Can My Farm Compete with "Big Food"?
Billion dollar retailers (e.g. Amazon, Target, Walmart) and boutiques alike have all bombarded your Buyers with beautiful and simple online experiences to view and buy their products. Buyers are used to it. Farmers cannot avoid that their Buyers are used to purchasing ‘conveniently’ online. Previously, it was tough for small Farms to compete, as customers learned how easy it was to shop for what they need in one simple "click.”
With every additional step in the purchasing process, customers drop off and lose motivation. They are looking for” ‘click, cart, swipe, done.” They expect barrier free, few clicks and as little time as possible from shop to check-out. Too many clicks? They won’t bother. Confused about an item? Never-mind. No delivery option to choose from? Not worth my time.
What’s more—57% of users say they won’t bother recommending a business with a poorly designed mobile site. Not only do you need a beautiful, easy-to-use shopping experience, it also needs to be beautiful, simple to navigate and optimized to work on mobile.
We live in an age of instant gratification. Buyers are conditioned to make fast purchases and have the necessary information available at their fingertips. When you can order food on your phone, why wouldn't you? The standard questions Buyers ask when purchasing food: what is easy, what is fast, what is convenient? Believe it or not, your window of opportunity lies within these questions. And, guess what—Buyers routinely pay more for convenience without a second thought.
How can you, the Farmer, influence more people to eat your sustainably grown food versus buying from convenient online grocers? How can you compete with ‘Big Food’?
In an Eco Farming Daily article on the subject, Joel Salatin wrote, “I sense growing resentment toward the industrial organic community and increased marketing difficulty.” Large companies with financial, institutional, and networking power are aware: consumers are waking up to the importance of eating organic, pasture-raised food. These companies have moved to capitalize on this apparent trend toward health. Now, you can buy bona fide junk food masked in health food packaging.
Despite, in Joel Salatin’s words, the “relentless education about local food,” the onset of industrial organics is a wrench in the progress of small Farms everywhere. As big name retailers skew toward carrying labels touting “organic” and “all-natural” products, this has created a subpar alternative for customers who appreciate the importance of well grown food. While ongoing education should continue, the real crux and how we compete is to provide convenient access to purchase quality, local food.
So how do you compete? Cut out the middleman. Sell direct to your customers online. Make it easy for your customers to purchase from your Farm in one “click.” Promote easy ordering online, be on every online channel —- be on their phone, in their pocket, in their inbox and on their social channels. Remind them weekly (like online retailers do) to order from you ‘this week.’
Step up to the plate where the big name companies are batting, and knock one out of the park with the unmistakable integrity of your local food and your personal story (believe it or not, Buyers care about you).
THE PATH IS OPEN
This is your David and Goliath story. You can beat Goliath, but you are going to have to take action. The good news? You are perfectly equipped to come out the winner. You need the right tools to market and sell your products more effectively, and you need to show up where your customers are on every channel—web, email, social, and mobile.
In addition to offering convenient, self-service ordering, you need a clean and simple website that is optimized for mobile. You need to send emails to your customers routinely, like the big-box retailers (the standard for conducting business today!) which allows them to conveniently learn about and purchase your products. You need to leverage social media to promote your Farm. Most people are disconnected from their food, but people are connected to Facebook and Instagram at a minimum of 2 hours per day.
This is an incredible vantage point for Farmers to consider. Many people have never stepped foot on a Farm, or even considered what went into the food they are purchasing at their local grocery store. But your Buyers are scrolling on their phones, making convenient purchases using their credit cards, regularly checking their email and watching businesses post to their social media feeds.
We understand this to be true: many Farmers have found profound meaning and even relief in NOT being online, or in not modernizing as the world becomes more digital. We get it! And, we want to acknowledge and honor that. However, how do you reconcile the need to drive more sales with your commitment to focusing on your land, and connecting with a higher purpose? We can tell you it takes less time than you might think to upgrade your Farm’s sales and marketing approach. The two are not mutually exclusive. At Barn2Door, we can make it easy for your Farm to connect with your Buyers online across every channel.
You can continue to keep your primary focus on your Farm and your family, AND you can put food on more local families’ dinner tables by selling to customers online. We can have you set up with a new website and online store in 30 days or less. We can hand you the reins to propel your Farm business forward, and we will continue to provide support along the way when you need it.
BEDROCK OF TRUTH
You can ignore the expectations of your customers—but at what cost? 8 out of 10 US adults purchase online every month. Your Buyers expect easy, convenient experiences online for everything in their lives—including food.
Writer May Sarton said, “it always comes back to the same necessity: go deep enough, and there is a bedrock of truth, however hard.” Thankfully, the truth doesn’t need to be so hard for Farmers. The solution is simple, and it’s already here. At Barn2Door, we are committed to uplifting “little agriculture” by being the “one-stop shop” for sustainable Farmers. We are here to help you sell direct to customers online and compete with “Big Food.”
Consider the 99% of people who aren’t attending a Farmers Market every weekend, and ask yourself—where are these people on the weekend? The answer is not groundbreaking. They, too, are leading busy lives, but they are assuredly scrolling on their phones regularly.
People always have their phones on them. Meet them there. Get your Farm online, put your Farm on their phones, make it easy for people to discover you and buy your food. Your Farm can compete with Big Food. But, to be successful, you need to take the necessary steps to up-level the convenience to order from your Farm. Are you ready?
We believe in a world where everyone knows their local Farmer—shaking the hands that feeds them. You CAN become the “go-to” choice for more people in your local community.
Would you like to read more about how to revolutionize your Farm business? Download our latest eBook, “7 Time-Saving Strategies for Summer Harvest.” We explain exactly what you need to implement in order to save time and increase orders, especially during your busiest time of the year.