Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Farmer's Market versus Wal-mart

A farmer’s market provides fresh produce directly to the consumer, eliminating the middle man.  Some farmers will bring assortments of fruits and vegetables, while others will bring fresh baked bread and jam.  No matter the product being sold, each farmer’s goal is to maximize their profit.  Each week the farmer must bring a truck full of produce to sell.  They need to make a reasonable assumption as to how much of each item they believe they can sell; therefore determine the quantity to bring.   It is up to the farmer to decide the look and feel of their own table.  Is it better to make sure their table is completely covered from one end to another or is it better to have empty baskets around to look as if their product is a hot commodity?  Unlike a retail store, like Wal-mart, who must have each item fully stocked at all time, a framer does not have to follow that rule.  One potential reason a farmer might have more flexibility is due to the nature of the event.  When people shop at a farmer’s market, they want the full experience; seeing the brightly colored items, smelling the aromas, and tasting the freshness.  Consumers want to enjoy the outdoor feeling, the idea of freshness, the ability to talk with the people who grow the foods; it seems to be a more personal experience.  However, at Wal-mart, the customer knows what they need and have the mentality of getting in the store, buying the items, than leaving. It would seem that Wal-mart is a quicker shopping trip.  The difference in the reasons for going to stores like Wal-mart verses events like a farmer’s market could impact the ideology of keeping the products stocked on the “shelves”.

It would appear that customers have a different expectation for these two different markets.  At Wal-mart, customers expect their products to be on the shelf, no matter the time of the day.  In reality, Wal-mart states they “have a 900%-95% in-stock level”.  In the back, they have all the stock, but with the employee cut, there is not enough staff to constantly stock the items on the shelf.  The article continues to say if the product is not on the shelf, people cannot buy it and Wal-mart will lose money and potential customers.  On the other hand, at a farmer’s market, consumers know that some farmers will run out of food.  This ideology is developed because of the idea that farmers produce those goods on the same day.  There are more factors that will determine the produce and/or the quantity of each produce.  For me, I like the surprise factor at the farmer’s market; never quit knowing which items will be there until I arrive.  Potentially this is why if granny smith apples are sold out at a farmer’s market, consumers will not respond in the same manner as if granny smith apples were sold out at Wal-mart.  The next time you arrive at the farmer’s market, question the farmer, ask how he decides which produce made it this week and which one did not.  I am sure you will be surprised to learn the art of selling at a farmer’s market.

The Trouble Lurking on Wal-Mart’s Empty Shelves (Time, April 9, 2013);

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