UACES Facebook Internet Marketing: Selling Products Online
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Internet Marketing: Selling Products Online

by Leah English - October 16, 2017

Explore the different buying and selling options available for you online to help you get a jump-start in your online profits!

In our last blog, Internet Marketing: Establishing an Online Presence, we discussed some easy steps for building an online presence.  While the internet can be a useful tool for spreading information and attracting customers to your farm, it can also be an effective avenue for selling products to consumers.  Online market sites and e-commerce shops offer consumers the convenience of online ordering, while still preserving the interaction and trust that comes with direct transactions with local producers.

Ecommerce graphic
Sales Graphic

These platforms offer benefits for consumers and producers alike. They allow consumers the convenience of knowing what products are available from their favorite vendors, and the ability to shop from the comfort of their office or home.  Receiving orders in advance allows producers to gauge demand prior to harvest while making it easier to track inventory and sales. 

For this method to be successful, farmers must be organized, making sure not to oversell their inventory.  Logistics can also present a challenge as farmers must determine the most effective means for distributing their pre-ordered products. When buying online, consumers also assume the risk of not knowing exactly what they’re getting.  This is true of any online purchase, however, the variability and perishability of fresh produce makes things a bit more complicated for farmers and consumers.  Selling value added products such as jams, jellies, or preserves could reduce some of the risk and further expand sales.

As discussed in our previous blog, an easy way to get started online is by developing an online presence for your farm. Online farm directories such as Arkansas Grown or Arkansas Market Maker, as well as social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter offer free, low maintenance options for connecting with consumers across the web. About to harvest your blackberries?  Put a post on Facebook to let people know!  

Now that people know about your farm and what you have to offer, why not make it easier for them to purchase your products? Internet sales options can vary from a simple e-mail ordering system to a complete online store.  An easy way to get started is by taking orders directly through your farm’s Facebook page.  You can even use Facebook messenger to accept payments for your products.  Check out this article to see how Serendipity Farms sells their leftover produce using Facebook: Farm Moves Organic Produce on Facebook

Online Exchange
Online Store

Orders can also be managed through your farm website.  This can be as simple as posting a weekly list of available products and taking orders through by phone or email.  Customers may have the option to pay at pickup or pay online through services such as Paypal.  For an example of this, check out Dancing Fox Farm’s website.

Want to take it to the next level?  Try setting up a virtual farmstand!  In recent years, the availability of easy to use e-commerce tools has greatly increased the popularity of virtual farmstands.  If you already have a website, your website builder may offer the option to set up a sales platform directly through your site.  Other sites such as Shopify make it easy to set up an online storefront that can be used alone, or linked to your existing website.  GoDaddy.com even offers website templates specific to fruit and vegetable stand businesses: Website Templates for Fruit and Vegetable Stands  

In the next blog, find out how you can collaborate with other farms to sell your products through local CSA programs and online markets. Stop by our website to read our full series on blackberry marketing and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for project updates.

For more information on online sales strategies check out:

How to Sell Small Farm Products Online

SSAWG - Internet Marketing

Sending and Receiving Money via Facebook Messenger (video)

Shopify Tutorial for Beginners (video)

 

Leah English
Research Program Associate
Agri Econ & Agri Bus
 

Leah English

 

Terms of use: the images used in this article were obtained from creative commons for reuse / CC BY

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