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3 Mistakes That Will Cost You Farm Store Sales

Does this happen to you on the farm?

  • You find random “customers” in your house looking for milk, meat or products you sell.
  • You find people going beyond fenced areas on your property.
  • Customers think your farm store is open 24/7.
  • Theft.
  • You find cars and trucks on open pastures that don’t belong there.
  • Customers haggle you on price like a used car salesman.
  • You’re constantly explaining the ordering process to customers.

If any of this sounds familiar, this blog post is for you.

Farmers from all over the country are experiencing similar challenges and it’s actually very common, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with an open door policy.

In fact, just the opposite is true.

Most farmers think that if they “accommodate” their customer’s needs, they’ll be loyal, repeat customers for life.

Yet, what I find to be true is the total opposite.

When I limit store hours and man the store (no self-serve options!), I make more sales.

The invasion of your privacy isn’t “just the way it goes” when you own an on-site farm store.

This happened to me ONE time and immediately I had to take action and set boundaries with customers.

As a result, I was taken more seriously, not one person complained about my prices, and customers respected me and my property more.

If you’re not doing these 3 things that I outline below, you’re potentially leaving a lot of money on the table with your farm store.

Like a lot of money…

If you enjoy watching video tap, the image below to tour my on-site farm store.

And if you prefer reading, here’s what I talk about in the video:

1. Take Credit Cards

I hear farmers all the time say things like, “I don’t want to pay the credit card fees that come along with using Square. What are my options?”

Let me tell you when you take credit cards, people spend more money. Not that many people carry cash these days and it’s just not convenient.

If you’re worried about accommodating customers THIS is the way you do it. Not with 24/7 hours and a self-serve business model.

Honestly, take credit cards. The fees are minimal and you’ll have happier customers that spend more money as a result.

2. Get Glass Front Freezers

Customers like to see what they’re buying. It’s why grocery stores have glass front freezers and beautiful produce displays.

The buying psychology behind “seeing is believing” is true.

Customers like to choose from a selection that they can see.

It’s worth the investment to buy glass front freezers and label products clearly so they can find exactly what they are looking for.

3. Limit Store Hours & Man It

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I promise that when you have designed store hours it pays off.

Sure, self-serve stands will make you a little extra money, but if you’re serious about becoming a profitable farm, man your stand and have set hours.

Now it’s your turn!

Are you making one of these mistakes on your farm?

What’s one step you can take today to change it based on what you learned above?

Thanks for being here,


{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Sarah January 9, 2019, 6:19 am

    Great post, Charlotte. We are working towards the glass-front freezers – they are first in priority for this year! In terms of manning store hours, we use a hybrid system. We are open and manned for specific days/times each week, but we also have keycode access for regular customers. We do not give the code to customers until they have visited a few times, and we have shown them how the farm store works. We also define that they can access the store from dawn to dusk in self-service. I do see your point about the personal interaction being key, though!

  • April Michelle Beardsley January 9, 2019, 11:15 am

    I just sell milk to my customers right now on the farm. It’s only 2 gallons a day and just having 18 or so customers it’s pretty easy to manage YET I have issues all the time. They leave the gate open, they don’t shut the fridge door, they forget to fill out the paperwork, they have to leave extra cash cause they only brought a $20. The list is long BUT I’m so excited because I am taking your advice and Soon I will only be open for certain hours on certain days. Then the gate can be OPEN and the customer won’t have to fumble with it. I can take credit cards because there will be someone to take it. The best part and the most exciting part for me is to be able to interact with my customers and find out what they need. I would have never said that 2 years ago when i first started selling milk. I hated talking to them. I was shy nervous, and so afraid they were going to judge me.
    The open front coolers will need to come one day for sure. I scope them out anytime I can when i’m in a store that has them. What are the brands, what are the prices, how many shelves….. ect.
    Thank you for all your help and dedication Charlotte.

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