2Bits: Grocers learn from farmers markets. What should farmers…
From chalk boards with cooking tips to tail gate parties and petting zoos, grocers have learned from farmers’ markets how to create a shopping destination.
For grocers that survive and thrive, change is strategic and quick.
In a disruptive and highly competitive space grocers are changing. Grocers that haven’t changed fast enough, like the iconic A&P, will go by the wayside. A&P’s demise, states food industry blogger, Alicia Kelso, “has been blamed, at least in part, on the company’s slow response to accelerating market changes. Whatever its future, the company’s story should serve as a case study on why grocers need to evolve with consumer demands and changing technology.”
Grocers have learned why farmers markets have worked.
Fresh veggie and fruit vendors often line farmer market aisles. Grocers know fresh produce looks good–it’s eye candy and it sells well. They’re offering locally sourced foods, or foods that appear locally sourced, to appeal to the health-conscious shoppers. These shoppers are often able to pay more for brands labeled organic and natural.
Many farmers markets are open for 4 hours on Saturday mornings. These markets work hard to offer shoppers activities to help them spend their morning at the market. Now, grocers are using the same activities.
Cooking demonstrations, sampling, and educational events are all used to introduce new foods and new cooking techniques to shoppers. Recipe cards are placed throughout the store in key locations to entice customers to buy the multiple ingredients needed for the recipes.
What must farmer markets learn from grocers?
E-commerce for an integrated digital experience. Grocers are way ahead of farmer markets in this area. Thriving grocers know food shopping is moving online rapidly.
Today’s digitally demanding shoppers want it all: online-ordering, friction-less payment, knowledgeable and personal in-store customer service, fair prices, and convenient delivery, or an easy way to pick up their order.
Successful grocers offer it all. Farmer markets are in the grocery business too.
To stay current and relevant, farmer market farmers must begin offering their market shoppers a digital experience. This digital experience includes allowing market shoppers to pre-order and pay for market goods if they want to.
Orders are prepared in advance and ready for shopper pick up–preferably at each farmer’s booth. This meets the needs of today’s anytime, anywhere digitally demanding shopper.
In Forrester’s Top Technology Trends for 2014 – Beyond, it states that, “A great digital experience is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a make-or-break point for your business as we more fully enter the digital age. Farmer markets are businesses.”
The changes occurring in grocery are only getting bigger, more intense, and more immediate.
Farmers markets have a choice.
They can either choose to respond with reluctance or fear, and do nothing. It’s business as usual. Maybe these markets will go the way of A&P.
Or, they can show up with enthusiasm and excitement, take steps to change, and create a win-win environment for their market farmers and shoppers!
Be a positive part of change. Join the 2BuyAg online marketplace today. Invite other market farmers and customers to join also. Go to www.2BuyAg.com and create your account and profile today.