The Oak Creek Market located in Milwaukee is looking to increase their sales by 250% in three years. After much investigation and analysis by the Farm 2 Facts team, it became apparent that factors like the weather, which the market initially believed had a significant effect on their sales, actually have little impact on sales and different approaches to increase sales were needed. The team found instead that the best way to maximize market sales is to increase customer-vendor interaction, create community engagement, and have a more diverse array of products to attract buyers to the market.
First, it is important to take a look at the product diversity that is supplied by the vendors. If a vendor only supplies one product, customers will be limited in options and are less likely to be interested in the products available, resulting in a missed opportunity to sell. Proper product diversity will generate customer interest to explore and test a variety of products, opening the possibility for the customer to spend more during a single visit. Not only would this make customers spend more per visit, but it would also cause customers to routinely return because there will be more items to try out next time.
It is also important to keep customers engaged with Oak Creek through experiences and to build community awareness. This means that Oak Creek vendors should put emphasis on providing meaningful services and experiences. Oak Creek vendors provide customers with goods, but few provide services that engage and interact with the customer. The way to foster customer engagement is through community engagement that will build meaningful relationships, increase customer spending, customer retention, and build loyalty.
A simple way to go about creating community engagement is to have the vendors that sell flowers help with the planting in a community garden. Any method that increases interaction between the customer and the vendor will increase sales and draw customers to more products.
Another idea is to hold an event fundraiser like a 5k race. This idea is particularly beneficial because it improves customer interaction as well as community awareness, resulting in more sales and new customers. Similarly, having a St. Patrick’s Day event can increase attention, and an easter egg hunt will help bring children and their parents. Having events for different cultures/religions or having civic organizations come and sponsor events can also be helpful. This will increase exposure and draw new crowds to the market.
Running a successful farmers market requires making them into a staple of the community, and balancing the interests of vendors and customers- and that is no easy task to accomplish. Farm 2 Facts is here to help farmers markets succeed in any way that we can!