Farm shops are rising in popularity post-pandemic, with more people than ever before choosing to shop local, and it’s easy to see why. Farm shops offer consumers a range of high-quality products, locally-sourced products, from meat and eggs to jams and breads – and everything in between.
If you’ve decided that you would like to open your own farm shop, the chances are that you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about the ins and outs of the process. There’s a lot more to opening a shop of your own than meets the eye, and so being properly prepared for the ins and outs of the process is important.
Wondering what steps you should take when it comes to opening a farm shop of your own? Below is a guide to some of the ins and outs of starting up – along with some handy pointers to help ensure that you get it right.
For everything that you need to know about launching your own farm shop and seeing success from the venture, have a read of this!
Research your target market
The first step to opening a farm shop – or any shop for that matter – is to take the time to do your research. It’s important to ensure that there is enough local demand for your new shop and that your store will actually have the opportunity to make a profit.
How many existing farm shops are there nearby? How close are these to the location where you want to position your farm shop? Consider what these farm shops offer that local consumers – and visitors to the area – like about them. It’s also worth thinking about how you can ensure that your shop performs just as well as your competitors.
It’s also important to estimate demand. Consider how many customers your shop will need to see each day to achieve the turnover that you require to make a profit. Are there enough homes locally with owners who would regularly shop with you to make your venture profitable enough? Will you be able to attract customers from further afield to boost your income?
For instance, if you’re simply opening a basic farm shop selling a few locally sourced products, you might only attract local customers. However, if you design a farm shop that offers an experience, such as having animals to view, fields to explore, and eateries inside it, then the chances are that you will attract visitors from further afield. So it’s worth taking the time to think about what you would like your farm shop to be.
Source the perfect location
When positioning your farm shop, you don’t need to worry too much about benefiting from passing trade. Yes, it’s always good to have people going past your farm shop, but the most important thing is finding the right location. Because the right location will mean that you can create the farm shop of your dreams – the farm shop that will bring you a good income because it will attract the right consumers.
Ideally, you want the shop to be easy to see and find. So providing easy to read signposts that direct people to your farm shop’s location is vital, as this will encourage people to take the time to visit your farm shop. It’s also important to offer parking facilities at the location, making visiting your shop more easily accessible for visitors.
Be mindful of your competitors
It’s important that you are mindful of your competitors and what they are offering consumers. What you want to do is create a shop that will encourage consumers to choose to shop at your store rather than with your competitors.
What you want to do is create a niche, so that you are attracting customers who want to regularly buy a certain product range, such as organic eggs, meat and vegetables that are all sourced locally – or if you’re a farmer, from your farm.
In terms of competitors, don’t look at mainstream shops like supermarkets, look at other local farm shops and artisan food stores. These will be your main competitors, so working out what they offer, what they do well, and why people like shopping there is vital to your success.
It’s worth doing a competitor analysis where you note down the range of goods each competitor offers, their basic prices, whether they sell organic produce, what their opening hours are, what customer type they attract, what their premises are like, and what level of service they offer. Compare your competitors and determine who is doing what best – and aim to beat all of them by offering a superior service and experience.
Think about finance
The chances are that if you’ve got this far, you’ve already thought about the financial side of opening a shop of your own. However, it’s not simply a case of thinking about it, but of also going into detail about the approach that you will take when it comes to your business finances.
It’s also important to think about your startup budget and how much you have to spend on what. For instance, it’s not just the cost of building the farm shop and filling it, it’s also thinking about the production side of things, for instance you might need to look at John Deer Tractors for harvesting and managing your farm shop produce, and this kind of purchase comes with a big price tag on it. Being prepared for these kinds of purchases is important, which is why knowing how to manage your business finances effectively is so crucial.
It might be worth speaking to a business finance advisor to help get your finances and spending on track before you start. It can be helpful working with someone who is objective and can look at your budget and help you to ensure that you spend every penny wisely.
It’s also important that you have ongoing business financial support management, so that you’re able to make sure that your finances are kept in check. For this, it’s important to source a qualified business accountant who can keep track of your business’s income and outgoings and deal with all of the paperwork for you.
Do customer research
It’s also important to take the time to find out what your potential customers might want from a new farm shop. Don’t just assume that you know what people want from a local store – instead, take the time to ask them what they want from a new farm shop. To do this, consider doing some customer surveys, asking local people – and visitors – what they would like to see from a new farm shop. While this kind of research takes time to do, it can be completely invaluable so it’s worth taking the time to complete.
Ask potential customers things like what sort of goods they would like to see available – is it simply fresh fruit and meat or would they like to see home products and plants? Ask whether they would be prepared to travel to your shop location, to see if you’ve found the right place to launch from. Find out whether they would like to have the option of home deliveries delivered by your team to their home. Ask what they think of your concept in general and if they have any feedback or questions.
You might also want to reach out to local eateries, bars and hotels to ask if they might be interested in partnering with a new farm shop on their food ordering deliveries. Working with local commercial kitchens to supply ingredients can be a great way to add revenue to your business and something it’s definitely worth considering as a new farm shop.
Get your marketing efforts right
Getting your marketing methods right is vital. It’s all well and good opening a new farm shop, but if you fail to get your marketing methods right you’re going to struggle to see success from the venture. That’s why it’s important that from the get-go you have your marketing methods all wrapped up.
If you feel confident managing your marketing yourself that’s fine, but it’s important to make sure that you have the knowledge and understanding that you need to see success from your methods. If you feel that you don’t have the experience that you need to work on a marketing launch campaign and ongoing marketing for your business, it might be worth taking the time to source a specialist who knows what they’re doing.
You don’t just want a marketing specialist, but ideally you want a retail or food marketing specialist who knows the sector that you’re launching in and can provide specific and niche support to help give your new venture the very best chance of success.
There you have it, a guide to the ins and outs of opening a new farm shop and achieving success. The guide above is packed full of lots of handy tips and ideas to help make the process of getting started a little easier to manage.