The Farm Biz Blog

Fresh on the blog, get free tips and tricks to grow your agricultural business online.

3 Tips For Running An Online Store For Your Farm

e-commerce online store Jan 07, 2023

As our world fell into a global pandemic, it became more apparent than ever that farms need have some way to sell their farm goods online.

Flash back to February 2020, Canada was just beginning to feel the effects of COVID-19 when I hopped onto a plan from a conference in Toronto to speak at the BC Association of Farmers Markets annual conference. This year’s topic? Growing Your Farm Using An Online Store.

In the last 30 days I had been in California at a Mastermind with Mary of Five Marys Farm, followed by two conferences that had me traveling throughout North America but at the time that I stood in front of that room we didn’t yet fully know what was heading our way.

I spoke to the group teaching them why and how they should implement an e-commerce option to their business plan… looking back I wish I had told them to do it and do it now because weeks later many farmers markets closed due to COVID-19 and many farmers were left without an avenue to sell their meat and produce.

If you’re here because you’re looking to open your own online store for your farm here are three tips to rock an online store for your agricultural based business.

Tip 1: Flat Rate As Much As Possible

Don’t do what I did! When I started out with our online store I was using it as a way for customers to preorder for pick up from the farmers market so I didn’t want a separate price strategy online versus at market because I was worried that market customers would feel ripped off if they slightly over paid with a flat rate model.

At the beginning it worked just fine because we were small and not that busy but once we grew, holy Hannah was it a beast to deal with. I was putting thousands of dollars worth of meat online each week and as hundreds of cuts sold we were stuck finding that one pack of pork chops for $21.38.

I ended up changing my price model to be size/flat rate based and I can’t believe I did it any other way in the past. Customers didn’t care at all because we had established trust with them and they understood why the change was needed but I’m a strong believer to train your customers from the beginning. I should have anticipated our rapid growth and just committed to flat rate from the start.

Tip 2: Set A Minimum Order Value

Again, I’ve now realized it’s easier to set a rule from the beginning instead of trying to retrain customers after the fact and a minimum order is no different.

Always keep in mind the cost associated with accepting payments online through credit card, PayPal and other methods, the cost to print the order, handle the order, pack the order, and get it to your customer. Do you really want to have all those costs for a single pack of chicken drumsticks or a bunch of carrots?

Take a look at the costs involved, your margins, and the way get their order to them when setting up a minimum order.

For my farm we have a minimum order of $49 if picking up from the market or farm gate shop and $149 for us to ship the order. If customers want to spend less, they can come see us at one of the farmers markets we attend.

Tip 3: Don’t Wait Until It’s Perfect

Maybe I should have made this tip number one because in my opinion it is THE most important. Please don’t wait until your online store is perfect before you launch it into the world because done always beats perfect.

When I launched my first online store it was slapped together in Shopify and looked terrible. I only sold two items — Both farmer’s choice variety packs. But you know what? I sold a heck of a lot of meat on that old site of mine.

It was though that site that I made enough money to do a rebrand on my farm and that’s when I switched to Squarespace, launched a massive amount of products, and really grew my e-commerce presence.

I changed pricing strategies, implemented minimum orders, made mistakes, and learned so freaking much. So take it from me, just do your best and get a site up there, you can always make changes and updates as you go… besides when sales start coming in you’ll get that extra motivation you need ;)


What do you think? Are you planning to add an online store to your farm?


Let's get growing!

Want Helpful Marketing Tips Direct In Your Inbox?

Join our community and I'll send you tangible tips to grow your business online.

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info.