The Farm Biz Blog

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

5 Top Tips For Selling At Farmers Markets

farmers markets in person selling marketing tips Jan 07, 2023

Selling at a farmers market can feel overwhelming when you’re first starting out. Knowing what to bring, how to set up for a farmers market, and even how to interact with fellow vendors can be stressful, so check out my top tips for successfully selling at a farmers market.

Tip #1: Make Your Farmers Market Booth Look Good

Ok, so depending on your product this can be easier for some people than others. I’m secretly a little jealous of my produce growing counterparts because there’s just nothing nicer looking at a market than tables with baskets overflowing with a bounty of colourful fruit and vegetables. But, even a booth selling a product like ours, frozen meat inside coolers and freezers, can be jazzed up with some decorations, nice signage, and for the love of whatever you believe in, a table cloth that goes all the way to the ground to hide everything you’re storing underneath… it just makes your booth look much so much neater when you can’t see a bunch of junk under your tables.

Another aspect of this tip that’s important to remember is you’re selling food, so please make sure your booth is clean. Dirty table cloths, grubby containers for samples or unsightly hand wash stations imply you don’t give too much thought to food safety. So be sure to keep the items you use in your set up nice and clean.

Tip #2: Promote Your Farmers Market

In my past few years doing markets the one thing that frustrates me most is hearing my fellow vendors complaining about slow sales and yet they do virtually nothing to promote the market or the fact that they’ll be in attendance. It is not solely the market’s responsibility to hit the pavement (or social media) to promote you and the market!

Try to think of it this way, farmers market stall fees equal some of the cheapest retail space you can get. No crazy overhead of a brick and mortar store, no ridiculous slotting fee to get your product onto grocery store shelves, and no need to sell at wholesale rates in someone else’s shop, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have to get out there and hustle for your customers.

If you have social media (if you don’t we’ll get to that in a future post) be sure to remind your followers of your market schedule leading up to and the morning of your markets. This is particularly important if you’re not a weekly regular at the markets you attend.

Another thing that has worked very well for me especially in a new market is offering to write a guest blog post or a piece of content for the market to use on their website or in their newsletter. It’s a great way to get in front of market shoppers and not too many vendors are willing to put in the time. I can say it’s paid off big time in our sales each time we do it.

And while I’m no market manager it’s been my experience that vendors who promote their markets regularly tend to get preference on market dates and stall locations whenever possible. Think about it, if you have two vendors to choose from and one is always promoting the market and the event’s they’re putting on and the other expects the market to do all the promoting, who would you pick?

Tip #3 : Promote Fellow Farmers Market Vendors

Besides just promoting which markets you attend, it’s important to promote the other vendors that attend that market. Now why would I want you to promote others instead of just focusing on yourself? Well for many reasons.

When someone is comfy in bed on a cold Sunday morning they might not be ready to hop out of their warm bed to come see me to buy a frozen chicken BUT if I can show them a photo of the delicious hot latte I just bought from the coffee vendor and the delicious pastry I’m enjoying with it, or show them the fresh strawberries that just came into season, they might be more willing to make the trip to the market.

And PS, when you’re sharing other vendors and promoting them at the market, always ask if they have social media and if they do, be sure to tag them in the posts. More often than not they will re-share your post and you get the added benefit of having your company pushed out to their customer base, some of which likely shop at the market too — win/win!

Tip #4: Take Credit Cards and/or Debit

While I know not everyone has a high price point item, I strongly encourage vendors to get set up to take credit cards at the very least. Yes many local markets offer market money but even with that, I can guarantee you’re loosing sales if you don’t accept plastic. Sometimes it’s just not worth it in a customer’s mind to head to the Information Booth and get market money so they move along to a different vendor. Options like Square are inexpensive and easy options, just be sure to look at the rates you’re charged per transaction.

Tip #5: Remember it’s Collaboration Over Competition

When it comes to farmers markets I want you to ditch the scarcity mindset that there’s not enough customers to go around. I can promise you there are enough people in the community eating chicken and beets that we can support one another when it comes to other vendors at the market. When we sell out of eggs, I always have a list of other vendors I can recommend shoppers too. Sure I might loose them if they end up preferring the other farm’s product but more often than not customers are just so happy to see you supporting other vendors that you likely make yourself a loyal customer in the process.

Your voice will never be as loud as those large grocery chains with their endless marketing budgets but by working together with other farmers market vendors, we’re able to increase our reach in our goal to promote support around our farmers markets and the local food movement.

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.