Monday, May 23, 2011

Cultivate Business at Farmers’ Markets

Edith’s Gourmet Baking Company, out of Modesto, California, runs 35 shops. Well, sometimes 35. At other times of year, it’s 14, and other times, somewhere between 0 and 14.
     That’s because all the shops are booths at an assortment of farmers’ markets. The number of booths depends on the seasonal variations in how many farmers’ markets are operating. It’s a distinctive business model for retailing.
     Edith’s Gourmet Baking Company also illustrates a trend among farmers’ market businesses away from a diet of produce, eggs, and cheese. According to a recent CNBC report, the traditional diet has fallen far short of adequate profitability. Across all vendors, average monthly sales are only $1,070. Most farmers use the markets to augment other income sources and introduce themselves to the community.
     Whatever you sell, think of ways you might use farmers’ markets to spread the word. At the Pleasanton, California farmer’s market, there’s often a massage booth. The Vacaville, California farmer’s market recently had an event featuring jewelry vendors. Loads of earrings adjacent to the arugula. More and more people are coming to look, listen, smell, taste, and feel the merchandise. The number of farmers’ markets in the U.S. is now almost 250% what the number was in the mid-1990’s.
     The consumers are coming for the carnival. They bring along family and friends. They’re also coming to support a “Buy fresh. Buy local” spirit. That’s why you’re opening up shop at a farmers’ market instead of a flea market.
     Here are some shopper psychology angles on this retailing format:
  • Be flashy in your booth décor. Incorporate bright, intense colors that, if used in your bricks-and-mortar store, could easily distract customers. Have streamers and mobiles which move with the breeze to attract attention. Remember it’s a carnival.
  • Have a well-stabilized canopy. It protects visitors from the sun, the rain, and that wind. A canopy also gives your booth a sense of place and substance.
  • Have staff wear aprons in a shade of green. Show consumers green and you’ll hear descriptions like organic, healthy, and refreshing. Research says green stimulates thoughts of well-being.
  • Highlight your store logo throughout the booth, on the aprons, on any product literature and shopping bags. You want people to quickly recognize you when they again visit a market where you have a booth or are in the neighborhood where your regular store is ready for business.
Click below for more:
Open Up Profits Using Stores-Within-A-Store
Excite Consumers with Nature
Strengthen Store Identification Using Bags

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