2Bits: Zoom Zoom Food–Thrive Tips for Small Farmers
“Anything you can do, I can do better!”
The musical, Annie Get Your Gun
Walmart and Amazon.com are at it again. Convenience-delivery is the name of the game.
I can almost hear Walmart and Amazon.com spokespersons singing this song to each other.
Walmart, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”
Amazon.com, “Anything you can be, I can be greater. Sooner or later I’m greater than you.”
Last week e-news alert headlines read, “Walmart pilots its own grocery delivery service” and “Amazon orders 20K vans for last-mile delivery.”
The latest scoop on delivery from these 2 global giants that’s important for you:
Walmart is trying out its own network of delivery drivers that will be independent contractors.
“Spark,” named after the Walmart “star” logo, is a Walmart form of Uber that will allow it to deliver to 100 metro areas in only 4 months—by the end of 2018.
Spark drivers will use their own vehicles to make Walmart deliveries, including groceries. This is Walmart’s response to Amazon.com, Kroger, and Target’s move to offer home delivery.
Amazon.com just ordered 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans for their delivery fleet. These vans will be leased to small entrepreneurs that want to start or build their delivery business by delivering for Amazon.com.
Amazon won’t own any of these vans. It will farm them out to fleet management companies that will buy the vans, then lease them to the small delivery companies.
“Tens of thousands of people have gone through the full process of the application to get to the vetting stages (of being a part of the delivery process)” states an Amazon.com spokesperson.
Amazon.com’s online ordering, including groceries, has grown at a faster pace than its’ current delivery partners can handle, so it needed to start building its own delivery network.
Farmers that sell directly to consumers need to think about how this aggressive effort to provide above and beyond convenience impacts you.
Don’t be an innocent bystander. Be smart and plan now.
If you need examples of industries that did not plan ahead, think about local bookstores, hardware stores, gas stations.
How many of these types of stores do you see in your town? And, are they thriving?
Thrive Tips for Farmer Market farmers:
Pre-sell your market produce and products. Have your customers’ orders ready for pick up at the weekday or weekend market.
Use pre-printed, re-usable, recyclable containers. Pick-ups could be by vendor.
Pick-ups could be at a different vendor each week, highlighting that vendor and giving them a chance to hand out samples, recipes, and coupons. Market staff could be stationed at that vendor’s booth to help.
Pick-up at the market information center works too. Market staff would manage the service, handing out the labeled customer orders.
Thrive Tips for Non-Farmer Market farmers:
Take orders online during the week through an online marketplace.
Set a pick-up location one day each week in the parking lot of a local church or non-profit organization that would like an awareness creating opportunity.
Make deliveries directly to your customers one day each week.
Ask customers to provide a cooler for produce and dairy, and a separate one for meat. Both should have appropriate freezer packs in them.
Set up an on-farm delivery day with specific hours. If you choose this option, make sure you have pick up guidelines.
Clearly state pick-up location, hours, liability release, expectations on dogs, children, and the process if an order pick up is missed.
Check for city and/or county health department regulations.
Know the name of the game. Don’t play the game to win. Play the game to keep going—sustainably and profitably. Play infinitely.