The Adams County Farmers Market Association helps farmers catch consumers' eyes through the SIMPLE method.
For sales, Kathy and Lela reiterated the advice Dave Hodge shared earlier in the day: tell your story. Lela cited research documenting that customers are willing to pay more for products they perceive as fresher, of higher quality, or beneficial to the local economy. To help you communicate this message, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture offers a free, download-able PA Preferred logo that you may use on your market signage to clearly convey the local message to your customers.
To generate customer interest, use and frequently update signs, displays and points of interest. To best cultivate customer interest, design your signs and displays with your customers in mind. What don't your customers know? If you can answer their questions on signs, they'll feel more comfortable and stick around long enough to get interested in your products. Visual displays alone aren't enough to capture customer interest - always back them up with good customer service.
Many strategies are available to motivate customers, but Kathy and Lela emphasized the power of aromas and tastes to motivate clientele. Some of the best options for piquing customer desire include a bakery, hot mulling apple cider, and samples. Take caution with samples though - make sure they're large enough to pique interest, but small enough not to satisfy customer desire.
Arguably, the purchase is the most important interaction you want to have with your customers, so be sure to facilitate a pleasant purchasing experience. Purchase essentials are simple, but sometimes not obvious. Often overlooked essentials such as offering carts or baskets, displaying visual samples of the final product, and saying thank you, will help you avoid allowing customers to get a sense of perceived indifference from you, the #1 reason customers stop purchasing from a vendor ("Shared Wisdom").
Product location is an important component of getting your product to sell. To sell your product, locate it in a display that 1) doesn't impede traffic flow, 2) is shop-able, and 3) has some component at eye-level.
Finally, don't forget to evaluation, important for any new strategy you employ in your farm business, but especially in marketing. To evaluate, monitor your sales trends - when you update a product display, do sales increase? Where do customers spend time when they're in your store? Where don't they go? For questions you can't answer by tracking your sales or observing your customers, ask them! Are they satisfied? Did they find everything they were looking for? Just remember, it's SIMPLE!
About Kathy and Lela - Kathy Glahn is founding President of the Adams County Farmers' Market Association and proprietor of Farm to Chef Gettysburg, a farm business offering "the finest heirloom produce." Lela Reichart runs Buttercup Farms Farm Market with her family. Lela is also the Agricultural Marketing Chief at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.