As Fall is rolling around the corner, we may have some traditional holiday items for sale. Examples are the pumpkins at Halloween or a Thanksgiving turkey. Perhaps you just have some home raised produce or crafts that you would like to market. Well, here are a few helpful hints to get the most out of your sales.
To start, a common outlet for many of these products are farmers markets and roadside stands. The first thing to consider, when setting up a stand, is visibility. Does your stand look appealing, catch the consumer eye? Does the consumer see you your product in a glance? As potential customers, they want to be able look at a stand and see what is available. Attractive signs also are beneficial in attracting customers to your stand. Signs should include the business name and the type of products you are selling. For example Family Farms sells pasture raised turkeys, so this information should be included on the sign.
Second tip is what makes your product better than the guy next door? What is your selling point? Did you plant a New England Pie or a\ Ghost Rider Pumpkin? Just by having the variety name could spark some interest. With this type of marketing strategy also takes some knowledge of the differences between varieties. With our example of the New England Pie variety, it is easy to understand that it is a pie type of pumpkin where the Ghost Rider Pumpkin is a pumpkin that weighs about 10-15 pounds, dark deep orange color with a very dark green handle. These characteristics make a very nice Jack-O-Lantern.
In addition to knowing the varieties and types of products you have, what can be done to add value to your products? A few ideas are developing baskets, kits, or just plain further processing the products. When further processing raw products, be sure that you follow all State guidelines for food safety and labeling. More information on food safety can be found on the Department of Trade and Consumer Protection website at http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/core/food/food.jsp or by calling the Farm Center Helpline 1-800-942-2474. These value added practices will take more time; however, can have a substantial gain in your bottom line. When considering a value added, create something that is either easier or more convenient for the customer.
However you make your approach to marketing goods, record keeping makes a world of difference. Good records lead to increased profits in future years. In our pumpkin example from earlier keep records of which variety sold better. This way when you are planning for the next year, you have sales of ghost rider variety instead of just having sales of pumpkins. Also, good record keeping will help provide you with a dollar per area estimate. This will also in helping you decide how much of a product or variety you should plant or produce the next season.
Enjoy the fall harvests and good marketing.
Author: Adam Hady – Agriculture
Agent, Richland County UWEX
Originally Published: The Weekend Farmer, Fall 2006