I love small farms and buy all our meat direct from ones that meet our standards for quality product and humane treatment of animals. We certainly need more small farms that produce quality products in humane ways. Here’s a comment I left on ways this farm can grow, based on my experience:
- Wholesale may likely be the least profitable channel and the hardest one to control the brand impression and quality. Try to compel consumer’s to become direct customers through engaging packaging that drives them to the farm’s website, or co-branding opportunities at restaurants.
- Online could be the most profitable channel, if products are priced right. I try to set higher anchor prices on single units and then offer generous discounts on volume purchases. Shoot for 30% net profit margin on single units and 20% on volume purchases. That may be really hard with their products, but maybe possible by adjusting the branding and finding ways to increase value without cost.
- With online, you also own the customer and have direct communication to them through email or snail mail. Another reason why online can work so well.
- I would think there is a sweet spot in sales/profitability, but how big is too big when you loose that small farm perception that is important to many consumers? On the front end, optimize product pricing (Suggested Retail Prices), drive incentives to purchase through the online or direct channel that is most profitable; and on the back end, optimize operations, which it sounds like they are doing and seeing success, and then drive towards that sweet spot without getting too big.
- A few online tactical marketing ideas: (a) Adicted.io, Follow.net, MixRank, Adbeat – some good sites for understanding competitor ad strategies. There is traffic already for your product category, you just want to direct that traffic to you, so look at what others in your category are already doing and model their ad strategy; (b) you might want to play with landing pages and sales funnels for where your ads drive consumers back – they might be a better way to sell than just an e-commerce page. My preferred tool is ClickFunnels, but others also on the market