Imagine that your small farm or food hub just hired a new employee. Her name is Susan. But she’s not just any employee, she’s an electronic one.
Susan’s the best you’ve ever hired. She does exactly as instructed. She works 24×7, 365 days a year. She’s never grumpy, never calls in sick and never gets tired. She never takes shortcuts and her wage is only pennies per hour.
You’re so happy because while you’re out there doing “real work”, Sue is happily telling your customers about how great your farm is and she’s busily taking orders with about as much enthusiasm as you do. Your customers love her too because she does house calls and they can order your fresh food from the comfort of their own living room.
You wish all employees were like her.
Sue is your personal secretary too. She takes messages, sorts and files documents, and gives you reminders. She’s got a photographic memory too. Ask her about your business and you’ll get the full report. Sue even does the dishes. Oh wait, that’s her cousin Dave the Dishwasher, silly me.
What about farmers’ markets?
Compare that to farmers’ markets where you have to guess how much you might sell. You pack the truck the night before and wake up at the crack of dawn using a quarter tank of gas to drive an hour into town with an employee. Your best customers also have to get up early to make sure they get the best stuff and an hour after the market bell you’ve sold 70% of what you’re going to sell for the day.
Then you sell a few apples to a nice gal walking her little chihuahua, and half a watermelon to a young couple with ice cream in one hand and a baby carriage in the other. Four hours later you pack the gear and unsold food back into the truck and drive home exhausted. You and your family eat as much unsold produce as you can, but it soon goes to the chickens.
You pulled in $750 which feels nice, but then there’s the $50 market fee, the $100 you paid your employee and filling up the truck wasn’t cheap either. You know you should take at least a couple of hundred for your own time, but after paying the farm’s bills, their ain’t much left over.
Instead, wouldn’t it be nice if you always know exactly how much to harvest because your customers pre-order and you head out with a full load to hit a bunch of delivery sites in a few hours?
This is an excerpt from Day 2 of the 7-day free online course called The Smart Farmer’s Guide to Selling Online.
This totally free course takes the mystery out of “e-commerce” and teaches local farmers and food hubs what they need to know to setup an online shop — without any technical mumbo jumbo, and regardless of which software they use.