13th April 2022 FruPro

How to Sell Vegetables Online

There are many ways to sell vegetables, but finding the pathways from growing to selling are often convoluted or difficult to access. Are you are finding it hard to sell your vegetables? We have the essential tips. In this piece, we look at the current methods of online trading, demand for online vegetable selling, the role of social media in marketing your business, and the value of online marketplaces. With this key guidance, selling vegetables online becomes clear and easy.

Vegetable Growing Field

How to Navigate the Online Landscape?

Even if you are familiar with the fresh produce industry, learning how to sell produce online involves navigating the virtual landscape. For many people who are selling vegetables, the contemporary market has changed now, flowing in the digital direction. But, there is a lag between the common trading practices and the new technology available. By looking at the online vegetable trade, we offer a fresh perspective for those new to selling vegetables and those who have done it for decades.

 According to the OECD study on B2C internet sales of fresh fruit and veg, there are four clear e-commerce business models for online purchases: 

  • Retail-led click and collect models and/or Online-to-Online (O2O) models 
  • Online pure players and vertical B2C 
  • Integrated B2C marketplaces such as Amazon 
  • Add-on models such as “Hello Fresh”

Another key area for online fruit and veg trading is B2B, with many companies pivoting to online trading since the pandemic. For more info on how companies made the transition to selling online, see this article.

What are the Regulations for Selling Vegetables?

With an idea of where your model fits into those categories, it is important to remain within the law. For both EU and UK vendors (more here), the EU Regulation 543/2011 is particularly pertinent on the marketing of fresh fruit and vegetables (Article 6) and entails that all the required information shall be legible and conspicuous at the retail level. Article 5 requires that in the case of distance sales, this information shall be available before the purchase is concluded. For more information, see page 5 of this document.

Legislation aside, what are the key tips for trading online with your online vegetable business?

Becoming a Trusted Vendor

One of the things that both businesses and clientele will need assurance of is quality.

The Journey from Growth to Harvest

In this sense, the journey of the vegetable growing process is important and the higher the transparency you can offer, the better. Being open about the growing and harvesting process of your vegetables is one way to assure that you are clear about the quality of your produce.

If the journey can be shown, businesses and customers are more likely to trust the product quality. The product journey adds value because people like to know where their food has come from. Since online selling takes away the in-person elements of buying, where people could otherwise observe characteristics like freshness, ripeness, bruising etc, the online trade must account also for this.

Sharing your story is one way to build trust regarding quality and for B2B sales, always state whether your product is a Cat1 product or Cat2.

Brand Identity and Experienced Traders

For those who have been trading for some years successfully and particularly, those who are known in the market, this experience brings a certain level of quality assurance and should be advertised through your online platform. If you have a credible brand from generations in the industry, this is a strong marketing point to push through your online avenues. But, what about the newcomers?

Tips for Selling Vegetables Online for Newcomers and Start-ups

For those with fewer or no years of vegetable selling under their belt, there are alternative ways to assure clients of the quality of your produce.
Options include:

  • Having a product rating system with feedback from clients
  • Pictures of the produce (though slightly less reliable)
  • Badges for the amount of trade completed
  • Quality control platforms such as clarifruit that identify fruit and vegetable quality through an app

Utilising Social Media

Despite the widespread disadvantages that the pandemic brought with it, there were some unusual benefits for the online fresh produce market. Traditional B2B trading faced limitations, no longer being able to check the products in person or attend networking events.

Also, with B2C, the customers’ in-store options become far more limited, especially if you were facing a quarantine period. These factors offered a great business opportunity for people to sell groceries online. However, some made better use of these circumstances than others.

The use of social media is very important in online marketing, whether you are well-established or just beginning your vegetable selling journey. The simple logic is that social media provides good options to market your platform with little to no financial expense.

For those starting on a small scale, the best thing to do is to begin spreading your brand to people you know and to use contacts made through mutual friends. The logic here is simple: we trust people we know more than those we don’t.

Additionally, we advise:

  • joining Facebook groups
  • working with social trends like hashtags
  • collaborating with people who have influence and audience on social media

Tips for Selling Vegetables Online for Larger, More Established Vendors

For those more seasoned sellers who want to move online, it is worth pushing the brand identity that you have already established and sharing your online presence through existing avenues, such as an email newsletter or website.

Channelling your audience to your social media platforms means they stay updated on interesting visual and written company content that they can directly engage with.

The more your audience engages with your social media content, the more your content will spread to others.

Telling Your Story

Social media is built to tell stories. From the daily grind to the remarkable, rare and even heart-warming tales – social media will frame your story how you want. Customers increasingly want to know the journey of the product they are buying, and this is something that should be factored into social media marketing.

If social media is a new avenue for you and your business, it is worth looking to leading companies in your field to see what kind of content they are posting, how they sell their story, and which social media campaigns grab your attention.

What are the advantages of Online Marketplaces to Sell Vegetables?

Regardless of your industry position or prior experience, it is vital to be connected with a network of buyers and have a safe and secure way of selling vegetables. Many trading relations rely on longstanding and often archaic relations that have offered a certain level of trust and reliability but leave little room for new networks.

Breaking into these pre-existing relation structures can be tough and also difficult due to poor communications in the fresh produce industry. Moreover, once new relations are established it can be difficult to guarantee the quality of goods, services, logistics and the right cost.

How to find your Fresh Produce Marketplace?

Being part of a trusted vegetable marketplace is vital and increasingly, these are moving online. Inevitably, the best opportunities will come from exposure to the best marketplaces for selling vegetables. 

A fresh produce marketplace supports sellers that are willing to engage with online vegetable marketing and helps companies that want to know how to sell more vegetables online. Such a platform is capable of meeting essential trading criteria such as providing trusted vendors, reliable goods and a large network, but also offers the bonuses of a digital platform.

Traditional factors remain, such as quality assurance and trust, but these are bolstered with the digital benefits of increased transparency, rating systems, improved communications and a vastly wider network. The online platform facilitates a new way of trading that reforms outdated and fundamentally slow manual processes still lingering in the fresh produce industry.

FruPro Marketplace

In this sense, FruPro aligns the best of both old and new. Whether you are established in the industry or arriving as a newcomer, our platform connects people free of charge and offers trusted trading with clear communications.

Why You Should Sell Vegetables Online?

For most, the idea of farming online may feel unnatural, but it is the way the industry is moving. Having shown in previous articles part one and part two that digital agri-trends are inevitable, the question is no longer if, but when you are willing to make the move.

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