There’s a growing demand for locally produced goods, with at least one in three households now buying from farm shops- according to FARMA research. Consumers love the idea of helping the planet by reducing the air miles their food has taken, not to mention freshness and the movement away from factory farms and other mass produced products. So opening a farm shop can be an excellent way to earn more money. Essentially you’re cutting out the middleman by selling at least some of your products directly, and opening yourself up to new markets. And there clearly is a market for these kinds of products so it’s well worth expanding operations to include something like this. Here are some ideas for going about it.
Decide what you will sell
As with any kind of business, you need to know your customers and who your target market are. Don’t just stock it with things you like, invest in market research and work out who your customers are and what they want. Some options to consider include homemade jams, jellies and chutneys made from your own crops. If you keep bees you could sell honey, if you keep cows you could make different kinds of cheeses and dairy products. You could make your own sausages, burgers and meat products and different types of bread among other things. You could also stock sustainable and locally produced products from other sellers, anything from handmade clothing to reusable cotton produce bags.
Price products suitably
Another thing to find out in your market research is how much you should price your products for. This really can be make or break in any business, so once you know who your customers are and what kind of budget they’re working with, find out how much similar kinds of products sell for. On one hand you need to be making a profit but on the other, you can’t charge so much that people think it’s not worth it. If you’re selling fancy sets of chutney and gift cakes for example then you can charge more, but if your farm shop is more for essentials like bread, milk and eggs for the locals then they’re going to want affordable prices.
One of the nice things about shopping in a farm shop rather than a large, faceless supermarket is the personality. Make it personal and unique to you and your message. Display produce in cute wicker baskets, lid your jams with gingham fabric, use recycled boxes for your fruit and veg boxes. Have a think about your message and the kind of vibe you want to portray and bring that to your store. Branding is still important, so have a designer create you a logo to use on things like labels. Personality is what will help your shop stand out and keep people coming back.