Why Your Farmers Market Stand Isn’t Making a Profit

NEW YORK | Friday, December 20th, 2013 10:37am EDT

If your farmers market stand isn’t making a profit, there are some upgrades you should consider. These are two big reasons your stand might not be making money and ways you can easily fix those problems.

The rapid growth in farmers markets in recent years has been a result of several factors: the local food movement, the desire to support local businesses and farmers, and community-building all have contributed. Photo: Frank Kehren/Flickr

Stroll through a major city on a Saturday or Sunday, and you are likely to see a farmers market full of not only fresh produce, but also handmade crafts and good, and local art.

There are 8,144 farmers markets listed in the United States in 2013, which is a 3.6 percent increase in the number of functioning farmers markets since 2012 , according to U.S. News.

If you have a product that you sell at a farmers market stand, you have chosen a great place to get visibility for your product, make a lot of sales on a single day, and increase your customer base.

But if your farmers market stand isn’t making a profit, there are some upgrades you should consider. These are two big reasons your stand might not be making money and ways you can easily fix those problems.

You Only Take Cash

Not very long ago, it was standard procedure for open air markets, farmers markets, and vendors of all sorts to only take cash as payment. But those days are over.

If you are still only accepting cash as payment at your farmers market stand, it is extremely likely that you are losing money every single weekend.

It’s time that you start to accept credit card payments, even though you are outside. Doing this is a fairly simple process as long as you have the right equipment.

You’ll need a laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone; you only need one, so choose whichever is easiest for you.

You’ll also need a credit card swiper that attaches to the mobile device you plan to use. Lastly, you’ll need a wireless credit card receipt printer.

These three simple additions to your farmers market stand will let you start to accept credit card payments, which increases not only the number of people who will purchase items from your stores, such as those who are not carrying cash, but it will also increase the amount that customers are able to buy.

A person will only have a limited amount of cash with him or her, but if you allow that person to use a debit or credit card, the amount of money he or she can spend is greatly increased.

You Handwrite Your Records

Once you are prepared to accept credit card payments at your farmers market stand, it’s time to increase your efficiency by adding an eCommerce software program that will keep track of every sale you make every single weekend.

This is not only helpful for your recordkeeping, but it will also let you take stock of what you sell, how much you sell, and when you sell it.

If you find, for example, that you sell a lot of a certain product on certain weekends, but not so much on other weekends, you can adjust your inventory accordingly.

You can also place certain items more prominently on your stand, increasing the likelihood that customers will visit your retail area.

Using a simple program that collects your own sales data can help you market your stand correctly and at the right time, and therefore help you increase your sale and profits every weekend.

Farmers markets are a huge draw for many cities. In fact, in areas where a farmers market has opened, crime rates fall, according to The Washington Post.

So your decision to open a stall at a farmers market is a great one, but if you aren’t taking credit card payments and marketing the right items at the right times, you might not see an increase in profits.

Make these simple additions and changes and you may find that you see a huge increase in how much you sell at the farmers market each weekend.

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