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Since further restrictions were placed on food services last week, consumers have been looking for ways to access fresh produce, safely, without waiting weeks for a delivery slot. Farm shops are offering a solution.
The appeal of farm shops is furthered by a desire by consumers to support regional stores and producers, and to keep the local economy moving.
Right now, many of the country’s farm shops are offering phone ordering. Their lengthy stock lists and variance in produce mean that orders can be long and complicated, and yet the commitment of shop owners is making it work – just. Some are pledging to serve those most in need first, providing local, personal delivery to customers unable to leave their homes. Others are drafting in volunteers to assist with the task.
Keeping within the government mandated restrictions is important, it will do no less than save lives, and no shop wants to be to blame for the spread of this illness. That’s why owners and managers are thinking up new ways to get food out of their doors and into the hands of shoppers, safely. Car collection is proving a popular method for doing this. Shops are setting up parking bays for customers to reverse their cars into – the customers then open the boot and return to their car. Finally, the farm shop staff place the order in the boot (while wearing gloves) and the customer drives away. The only area in which this method falls over is payment. Money cannot be transferred in person, so as well as handling lengthy orders by phone or email, payment is being taken in the same way.
Online ordering and payment offers a real alternative for farm shops, one which can ease the burden they’re shouldering in trying to meet the needs of so many. By placing core and popular stock within an online menu, ordering and payment portal, they’re relieving themselves of the administrative element of the process. They might even consider grouping items into the popular ‘veg box’ or ‘fruit box’ format which has been proven popular by companies such as Riverford Organics. This would serve to further ease operations.
Once orders have been placed online, the shopper chooses a time to collect. They can then declare their car registration number and colour to facilitate car pickups, leaving deliveries to those most in need.
Right now, we all need to be supporting one another. At Preoday and QikServe, we are in awe of the way farm shops – and other businesses – are adapting in order to help their local communities. The part we ourselves play is simple – we have the technology solution, and we are making it available to businesses that need it. We’re promising to have shops up and running within 48 hours and we’re doing this without asking for lengthy contracts to be signed, for setup fees or for businesses to give away their revenue in commission. All we’re asking is for a small monthly fee to cover the service during this period.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.