The distribution channel used for fruits and vegetables sold at roadside stands in the United States is the direct marketing system.
Although this system is quite common among agricultural businesses, it more or less requires some capital investment in a facility, and the farmer or seller will need to provide the harvesting, market preparation, and retailing labor.
Aside from that, customer relationships are extremely important, but they are more conventional than the relationship between a clerk and a customer.
A roadside stand is a temporary facility put together or established to sell products at a roadway or other heavy traffic area away from the farm or organized farmers market.
Aside from roadside stands, other businesses or enterprises that leverage this distribution channel include farmers’ markets, on-farm retail markets, U-Pick/Pick-Your-Own/Cut-Your-Own operations, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
These businesses and the farm products they sell make up a gigantic part of the United States Agricultural Economy. Farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs always have a hard time picking the right direct marketing channel from among the alternatives.
They most often don’t understand the exact channel that can guarantee business success or even make the decision to add an additional channel to their marketing mix or forgo it.
How Roadside Fruit and Vegetables Stands Can Make The Best of This Distribution Channel
To make the best of this distribution channel, your primary agenda will have to be how to increase the average per-visit customer expenditures for fresh produce and value-added products.
In this line of business, one very viable way to increase per-visit sales is by increasing impulse purchasing (unplanned purchases). For instance, a passerby stops by your stand to purchase some peaches.
While waiting to pay for the peaches he/she tries a fresh cookie sample and immediately chooses to purchase a tray of cookies.
The cookie purchase is considered an impulse purchase. Below are ways to make the best of this distribution channel and boost impulse purchases;
1. Create displays that emphasize special products
It is important you always put up special eye-catching displays all through the peak fruit season to promote different products.
Customers might want to visit the roadside stand to buy cabbages but the display may catch their attention and propel them to purchase other displayed products. This is very effective in encouraging impulse purchases.
2. Change displays often emphasize different products
This is one very important strategy you need to leverage to ensure that your store will remain interesting and new.
3. Be flexible enough to modify displays that aren’t selling
You have to be attentive to note those products that are not selling. And once you realize that a particular product is not selling, make modifications to the display.
It might be that the display isn’t eye-catching enough to draw the attention or interests of your customers. Changing the display might be the difference between a customer making you an offer or still overlooking the product.
4. Have a person on hand to provide assistance and answer questions
One thing to understand is that a lack of product knowledge can easily discourage a potential client from purchasing an impulse product.
It is important to ensure that the salesperson has the insight and capabilities to provide good information, and advice, and answer questions to encourage the customer to purchase a product in addition to recommending additional tie-in items.
5. Create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere
Just as was noted above, customer relationships are extremely important to guarantee success in this business. As such, it is important you create a more casual atmosphere that does not appear too organized to encourage customers to browse. You have to ensure that the atmosphere is intentionally relaxed and friendly to encourage customers to linger.
6. Offer only high-quality products
No one would come back to your stand the second time if you sell them rotten products. Owing to that, take great care to ensure that your products look clean, fresh, and appetizing.
For your customers to be able to make impulse purchases, the products will have to be of top quality. If a product is not selling, consider creating a special promo for it and move it before the quality deteriorates too badly.
7. Design your store to allow for a checkout stand
Roadside fruit and vegetable stand business owners tend to neglect this strategy. Note that the checkout stand is an area where your value-added impulse items can be made visible and accessible to customers.
For instance, put up samples of your fresh produce. Aside from that, have a wide range of value-added products close to the checkout to ensure that customers walk past them while they are waiting to pay for their purchases.