Idea Overview:
The argument of GMO vs Organic has dominated food choices for shoppers, a conversation that is often full of misinformation. In reality, both have their positive and negative effects on the environment, with studies determining no definitive benefit of choosing either option. The most truly impactful and sustainable choice is to choose seasonal, locally sourced produce, supporting your community and reducing the negative impacts of imported goods. This is where Farm Store comes in, an app that connects farmers with an increasingly conscious and informed customer base and allows them to purchase in-season produce delivered directly to them.
Who might use it/where it might be used?:
Farmers or commercial growers to sell online. Ordinary shoppers looking to purchase the freshest local produce. Informed consumers that want to limit their impact on the environment. Consumers that wish to take advantage of the in-built recipes and meal planner. Alternative to subscription-based sellers of seasonal good to consumers.
The Market (B2B, B2C or Both):
Business to Consumers (B2C)
Sector the idea belongs to:
Is there a similar idea to be found?:
Yes, the app ‘MiLarder’ is designed to help consumers research information on local products and tell them where they can find them. They can search the different local food sources in their area, for example farmers’ markets, farms, box schemes, community supported agriculture, food hubs and pick your own, and can view details, such as description, distance and opening times. Consumers can also find information regarding which farmers are attending a farmers’ market and what products will be available. Information on special events, promotions and other related news can be found on the app and consumers can tell other app users about their local food experiences. The app was last updated 2018 and is not downloadable, no news articles found have been published after 2018.
Why you think there is a demand for your idea?:
Many factors I believe have led me to think there is a demand for this. Brexit has put a huge strain on the UK import/export industry, increasing the costs of produce abroad. Reducing carbon emissions are being massively incentivized by the government and other governmental bodies. Consumers are more environmentally conscientious than ever and demand transparency in how and where their food is produced. Consumers want to support their local communities and have the very best produce available, even before it is brought to supermarkets.
Who would be the ideal customers?:
Families with young children/small family units. Health-conscious individuals. Couples in their 20s. Empty nesters and Retirees.
What ideas do you have to reach these customers?:
Reaching out firstly to farm shops locally. Visiting them in person and getting to know their customers, short questionnaires and asking their customer base on whether they would be open to shopping online. Social media marketing and content creation (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Linkedin). Attending in person events/expos. Requestion permission to set up stands/stalls in City centres.
How far have you developed this idea?:
I have completed a lean business canvas and discussed with product managers, UI/UX designers and government employees. .
What – if any – feedback have you had for this idea so far?:
The feedback was positive, outlining next steps, competitors to check out in this space and benefits the app has to connect produce that caters for difficult dietary requirements.
What supporting material – if any - would you like to add to your proposal?:
I have added a lean business canvas and customer personas.

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17 comments to “The Farm Store App”

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  1. Tim Strege - July 4, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    Shopping local farm products has become increasingly popular – starting with farmers market stands to getting shelf space in area stores. One hurdle has been marketing to most likely customers (how to reach the 18-45 age population); another is to emphasize the environmental benefits (which you have done in the proposal) and to make it a year-round activity, such as getting commitments for seasonal foods and complementing with non-perishable products.

  2. Jake Shaw - July 6, 2022 at 7:41 am

    This idea is very much of its time. With the move to localisation to allow for the rise in shipping costs and the drive to decarbonise the supply chain. There is a wholesale beans and pulses that is trying to decomoditize such foods in a similar way.

  3. Trudi Hamer - July 6, 2022 at 9:47 am

    This idea responds well to the challenges with Brexit and escalating fuels costs as well as demand for local, seasonal produce. Would the initial objective of the app be for the customer to visit the farm shop or to order from it online? Look at this operationally, how would you make a commission from a farm shop visit?

    • Joshua Hickey - July 6, 2022 at 12:40 pm

      Hey Trudi, thanks for your feedback.
      Primarily it would be to order online. A map would be shown so they can see the location of the farm and they could possibly visit if they wished to do so. I haven’t been able to come up with a solution to in-person visits and its commission so I would be driving the online sales for now.

  4. Richard John - July 6, 2022 at 11:12 am

    Great potential: why are you superior to MiLarder is my first question: also a target market of 18-45 is too wide. You might like to break your ‘ideal customers’ into 3 groups; for example, couples in their 20s, small family units, empty nesters, for example.

    • Joshua Hickey - July 6, 2022 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks Richard. I believe MiLarder was unfortunately a little too ahead of its time with no driving force behind shopping locally, although they got a lot of things right in incentivising their customers to post and share reviews. The app also focused on connecting customers to farmers markets for in-person visits rather than Farm Store’s focus on commission through online sales.
      I’ll revise my target market too, thanks!

  5. Mark Cardwell - July 7, 2022 at 8:45 am

    If you’re focusing on online sales, what do you think about delivery/collection? Click-and-collect perhaps? Delivery? If delivery, would you try to standardise the service?

  6. Mark Cardwell - July 7, 2022 at 8:58 am

    For smallish growers of seasonal produce, availability changes constantly. Have you a way to deal with that for online ordering? (A typical solution is to sign people up for a “vegetable box” subscription, and not give them a choice of what exactly they receive.)

    • Joshua Hickey - July 7, 2022 at 10:26 am

      Hey Mark, thanks for your questions.
      Currently I am exploring options for the delivery/collection. I’m siding towards a model that involves delivery once a week so that they can order throughout the week on what is available.
      With smaller growers and their availability, we are going to encourage additional sales around the year round produce such as flowers/plants for those months that growers experience lower yields. A marketing strategy around those months for plants/flowers would be interesting to explore too.
      I do want to move away from subscription-based models, Oddbox is a wonderful example on that service that i’ve personally used. I found that I had to curate my shopping around the Oddbox rather than it complimenting my typical shop.

      • Mark Cardwell - July 22, 2022 at 3:24 pm

        Yes, and there’s marketing value in selling what’s in season. I’m just saying it may need some thought on how you manage stock lists and demand. Your grower won’t be keen on spending the morning counting flowers and entering totals in the app. Nor will your customer be keen on being told yet again that their order has been cancelled due to lack of stock. So if you can figure out a way to streamline all this, you’ll have a good advantage.

  7. Joshua Hickey - July 8, 2022 at 7:12 am

    I have uploaded my first draft of the Lean canvas in the supporting files if anyone is interested, would appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

    • Mark Cardwell - July 22, 2022 at 5:19 pm

      Hi Joshua. Canvas looks good. Here’s one suggestion – and it’s very subjective so you may not agree! I’m just wondering about what goes in the Problem and Solution boxes. Could you focus in more tightly on your solution? So for example, one solution point is “shopping at food/farmers markets”, but you’ve already said that “farmers markets/shops” are an existing alternative. Under “problem”, can you capture what’s difficult about shopping at farmers markets, and then under “solution” you can express how you improve it? As I say, it’s subjective, and it’s only about making your idea immediately clear to the reader. I love your expression of the high-level concept – “Deliveroo from your local farms”.

  8. Simon Krystman - July 12, 2022 at 10:23 am

    Hi Joshua, what sort of mentoring help do you need? Where there any parts of the Canvas you struggled with? Also, have a go at a Customer Persona and upload it.

  9. Joshua Hickey - July 13, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Hey Simon, I believe fundraising/grants are one of the first things I’m not confident on right now, anyone that could help with initial marketing too would be great. I’d say the channels and the customer segments took me a little longer than the others. I’ll have a go at that now thanks!

  10. Mark Cardwell - July 23, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    This is an example of a “multi-sided platform” – the gurus on this subject are Evans and Schmalensee – it’s worth googling them.
    E&S say that there needs to be some significant friction preventing market participants carrying out valuable transactions. Your platform creates value by enabling or simplifying those transactions.
    E&S also point out that there’s a challenge in getting the platform to critical mass. You need enough sellers to make it worthwhile for a buyer to visit your site. And you need enough buyers to make it worthwhile for a seller to list on your site.

  11. Mario L Castellanos - September 2, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    I came across this company today. From what I read, they want to become the Amazon of ag: https://en.pinduoduo.com/. Hopefully, you find this helpful.