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Get Ready for Farmers Markets

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Do you plan to sell your products at Farmers Markets this year? The start of market season is fast approaching and the time to plan and prepare is now! There is a myriad of things that need your attention so you’re not scrambling and stressing at the last minute.

Farm Food Drink has pulled together the following list of activities to consider putting on your own action plan. All products and marketing strategies are not created equal, so take what is relevant from this post and apply it to your own situation.

Use this support to help plan your whole market season, not just the first one. What can you do to make your market space consistent so your brand stands out and becomes recognizable so people know to come to your booth each week. But, also, what can you do to shake things up each week (or monthly) that could create curiosity and loyalty. e.g., coupons, games, contests, something new.

Finalize Product Line

Decide what products you want to sell at the market. This may seem obvious, but if you have more than one product, know that you have limited space. Do you have multiple flavours or sizes? Are there complementary products? e.g., beeswax candles at a honey stall. What can you manage? What can you display without overwhelming your visitors?

Packaging and Labelling

Will you need new or updated packaging and labelling to sell at the markets? This takes design planning, possibly regulatory compliance (depending on the product type and the number of markets you’re in), and printing and application. Design work takes time.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or engaging a graphic designer or agency, be clear on your brand, objectives, and requirements, as you develop your plans. For outsourced suppliers have need-to-know info ready so you save some time and money. And don’t forget, Farm Food Drink specializes in this space and we’d love to help you with your space!

Production Planning

Unless you are an established brand or have a loyal following at the market, it can be difficult to forecast sales until you’re there for a few weeks and see what interest is like. Take a stab at planning your volumes, and make contingency plans in case you need to ramp up quickly because you’re now in high demand. e.g., Will you need more ingredients, packaging, staff, kitchen time.

Booth Layout

Your booth, stall, table, market location needs to be inviting and engaging to your target market. But first there needs to be some foundational structure. Think of this as building your store, and later filling it. Do you need a market tent? How will you display your product – on tables, boxes, crates, from the ceiling? What hardware items do you need for this space. What display décor might be useful? 

Consider your booth neighbours and how your stall stands out or is “positioned”.  A retailer’s approach is to stand back and observe from multiple (customer) viewpoints. Pretend for a moment that you’re not familiar with your products, and from this perspective determine what stands out with your “storefront”, and what “message” is connecting with the visitor, the audience.

Marketing Materials

Now that you have your market storefront, how will you display your brand elements? Do you need a vinyl hanging or pull-up banner? How about recipe pairing cards, business cards, tabletop signage? This is another area to engage a graphic designer, and engage them now. Marketing materials help you shine, your company shine, and most importantly, make your products shine.

Marketing Promotion

Start planning how you promote your participation at the market through you Website, Email Newsletter, and Social Media.  Use your graphic designer to help with graphics and templates for these, also. Start watching for other vendors who would be good cross-promotion partners. Ask the Market Manager how you can support their promotion efforts, too.  The objective is to build your audience before you get to the market and not rely solely on the market’s traffic.

Visitor Engagement

Are you offering samples? How? What do you need to order or buy to facilitate that? Do you need a license?

Farmers markets are about talking to and engaging with people, All Day!  Be clear on what you are selling, and the benefits to the buyer. What emotions can you evoke? How do you tell your story to make a connection? Practice using sound bites to showcase value. It’s not always about “Hey, buy my stuff.”

Putting it All Together

Get all these things sorted out and into production, then start planning how you are going to get all these items to your market stall. How do you transport items? Do you need staff to setup and/or to help during market hours. Do you need power, refrigeration, shade?

Don’t wait until the first day of the market to test your set up. Do a test run to see how things pack, unpack, how they display, how big or small things are, and most importantly, how long it will take.

Be sure to bring a utility box of tools, tape, stapler, pens, paper, clips, etc. Bring your own food and beverage to ensure you are looked after and so is your staff. It’s fun to check out other vendors, but if your busy with customers, you won’t have time, and you’ll run out of energy.

BCAFM Member Opportunity

A true food community leader, the BC Association of Farmers Markets is a valuable resource for you. Consider becoming a member, if you’re not already. There are many resources and benefits to being a part of their vibrant community. 

Farm Food Drink is proud to have partnered with the BCAFM for many years to support your food sector. We currently have some special offers for members for some marketing support (including banner creation).

Visit our website for all the details to help you get ready for farmers market season. 

Don’t wait! Do it now!

We hope this has been a motivator to push you into action to plan your farmers market strategy. If you’ve got it all figured out, that’s super! 

If you need some help with planning, with your graphic design, or marketing strategy, it’s time to give us a call. Let’s have a conversation to see what your next best steps should be, so you can maximize your farmers market investment.

Farm Food Drink

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