Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more farms selling direct to their customers were exploring online sales. While selling online can save time and labor over traditional direct marketing models, there’s a bewildering diversity of online sales platforms, and sifting through them all can be a daunting prospect.
The National Young Farmers Coalition has tackled that problem with its free Farmers Guide to Direct Sales Platforms. The guide profiles 19 different farm-specific online sales platforms, with details on features and pricing, and links to additional information.
Following up on that work, the CSA Innovation Network surveyed farmers using those platforms to produce a report on e-commerce platforms. The report ranks each platform based on feedback from 170 farmers, on aspects including set-up experience, ease of use (from both the farmer and customer ends), value, and customer service.
In addition to the platforms in the Farmers Guide to Direct Sales Platforms, the CSA Innovation Network report covers four additional, non farm-specific platforms.
The CSA Innovation Network recently updated its e-commerce report to include feedback from additional farmers and three more platforms. The updated report also includes a resource section with links to information about platforms that didn’t receive enough farmer feedback to be included in the rankings.
Taken together, the guide and reports can be a valuable, time-saving resource for any farm operation looking to add online sales to its direct marketing enterprise, or shift an existing enterprise to a different software platform.