Migrating from Your Distributor to Farm2Me
Hi there, my name is David and I hate brand marketing. (Well that is until recently).
Fore those who don't know (aka everyone except my friends and family), I run a small outdoor energy bar consumer packaged e-commerce brand (aka we sell mega delicious seasonal mountain branded snacks like bites and bars) called Mountain Bars (henceforth MB). MB is a little side hustle of sorts that I run out of my spare time. The name of the game in ecommerce has long been emails and social media. And it hasnt' changed even as Facebook takes over the worl with Instagram while we all perpetually scroll while in quarantine.
I've known for years that all of the small business 'how-to-articles' and experts say I need to invade users of my social media with a thousand pop-ups, games, emails, freebies, and messages in order to drive newsletter signups and sales. Then I need to collaborate with other brands and share advice and resources, to expand our direct to consumer (DTC) and wholesale sales. Being the stubborn firstborn that I am, I promptly ignored all that advice and probably lost out on millions (by millions I mean hundreds) of dollars in sales. My thought was as a brand developer and general user of the internet, I don't want my day to be full thing that I hate to be bothered with as a consumer (like 10s of daily marketing emails, phone calls, and spam ads on the internet). So I kept a tiny email signup in the website footer and rarely send emails. I let my brand spread by worth of mouth, and through casual pop ins at my neighborhood markets. My thought was as a brand entrepreneur, I would scale with distributors to get products into more stores and consumers hands. But what I realized is that the website footer emails, and my distributors rarely showed me love. As much as my little business with yearly sales revenues fof $10-$20k has had, until recently, a small email list of under 300. In addition to avoiding the dark patterns of newsletter signups, I didn't particularly enjoy writing emails and or using the social media platforms I was on. I didn't particularly enjoy training distributors that didn't really want to spend time cultivating my brand. Well as you might have guessed, my opinion on this has changed an that sentiment has flipped on its head.
To back up a step, when I started my little ecommerce venture, I grabbed Shopify as an ecommerce software platform. It was cheap, it seemed good enough, and that's what all the blogs said to use. Although it was fine, I'm like Hamilton, and the perfectionist in me is never "quite satisfied" (you are welcome for that earworm). So for several years, I've had my eye on this other platform, called Farm2Me. Farm2Me has a beautiful UI and tasty branding. They are advocates for growing my industry's brands. And I'm a sucker for both those things. I think I originally found it because it was a small startup founded by some indie makers in my home state of California. (Since then they have grown and flying solo since 2010.)
Okay, let's rewind to several months ago when I became a "long time listener, first time caller" for Farm2Me because they just launched an integration with the ecommerce platform that I use for Mountain Bars, Shopify. I jumped on board with this integration and I quickly scampered to add it to my site's list of Retail Partners. Because you can create an account to test things without paying, I did that and poked around the dashboard. It was beautiful.
The Migration Process
This was easy. Well maybe too easy, there's part of me that second guesses that I did everything correctly from the get go. But basically, I followed one of their articles and exported my items from Shopify and then imported them in Farm2Me. Well, actually I emailed my file to the Farm2Me Team at email@example.com and they imported it for me. I set up tags to match the tags to match the tags from Shopify and then made sure to update my website's drop downs to point to Farm2Me.
The Deep End
Spoiler alert, I love the deep end. And as for as deep ends go, let's say I'm not even in the high-dive area yet. More like carefully flirting with the rope of the end of the kiddy pool. But using Farm2Me is joyful, the interface is beautiful and oh boy those other makers - all working together to help eachother out and grow!
Besides the super-serious reasons, I love how easy they make marketing and sales.
Here's a quick list of what Farm2Me does super well:
- Automatic order are really easy too accept and fulfill. Because they are windows based I feel like most folks can figure them out pretty quickly.
- Pre-built automated workflows are amazing and allow you to hit the ground running. I took full advantage of this and highly recommend trying them for this reason!
- The depth in the Workflow is really impressive with how many integrations and features they built in - accepting orders, printing shipping labels, receiving payment with Net-0 terms, managing receipts, and making it easy for customers to manage their reorders.
- Their marketplace hits a great sweet spot of easy to use and navigate without over complicating things or being too advanced. I think distributors are more sophisticated but I prefer Farm2Me's because they make searching "small batch" specific products and trends super easy!
- Unlimited Product SKUs. If I was better at sales I'd make spec sheets and sales sheets of every product variation but I know that's daunting for me with limited time! (I know by admitting this, every marketer reading this are about to throw their device across the room).
- The documentation and education sections are really fantastic. Farm2Me is releasing a log of great video content that helps explain the platform and I feel like I've just scratched the surface of the Farm2Me platform. Like, did you know that they offer wholesale quantities and smaller bulk pack quantities? It's really upped my business gifting sales game!
- Related to the documentation and education, Farm2Me also hosted a regular webinar about ecommerce marketing this summer. I soaked up lots of lots of knowledge from these and then last summer they invited me on as a guest and did a breakdown on Mountain Bars' customer journey. It was super fun.
- Again, I drool over the dashboard; the User Interface in Farm2Me makes it so fun and easy to use!
So a few weeks ago I sat down and built some automated workflows because my goal with marketing ahas always been a hands-off, automated approach. Like I said early I started with the pre-built workflows which saved me oodles of time. Here are the workflows I've set up which I hope are helpful for you.
- Shipping labels
- Customer order management
- Automatic payment to seller
- Electronic payment to seller
- Pro-Forma invoicing for wholesale
- Packing Slip & Invoice
- Geo-location filtering
- Drip-mail marketing
- Minimum purchase amount
- ApplePay and GooglePay
- Zip (formerly Quadpay) options
- Referral Programs
- Loyalty Programs
- Social Reviews (products)
- Customer messaging and comments
- Coming Soon: KPI Reporting
After running Farm2Me for 2ish months, I definitely found growth of 400-700% depending on the week. I'd recommend starting with $25-35 wholesale kits, and 1/2 dozen and dozen cases for wholesale customers. Of course, all businesses and markets are different so definitely test things for your business!
Here are the revenues from my little mini-brands in the last month or two:
- $35 Kits: $500
- Half Cases: $450
- Cases: $400
- 2 Cases+: $1200
- Post Purchase Reorders: $300
What product quantities are you listing? Id love to get your suggestions!
ConclusionI used to hate doing wholesale sales & fulfillment, and now I enjoy it! So that's a big win for Farm2Me and I'm a very happy customer. I love Farm2Me for online marketplaces and I think you will too! If you found this helpful and want to take Farm2Me for a test drive, sign up with this link and sell your products too!