When it comes to local food systems, online ordering is both a growth opportunity and a source of challenges. At Local Food Marketplace we are committed to providing software solutions to help farmers share their products (without increasing their workload). We are excited to tell you about a new app especially for producers, Local Food Connect. Connect is a next generation solution for farms—integrating with our Marketplaces, other online stores, and future sales opportunities.
Why Did We Build Connect?
We see Connect as the foundation of our vision to grow & scale the local food ecosystem. There is no local food ecosystem without the supply—the farmers that grow the food. Our goal is to help farmers grow without being overtaxed with administrative tasks. The Connect app will open new opportunities to farmers by giving them one place to manage all online and offline sales.
How Can Connect Help Farmers and Producers?
Everything From One Account: The explosive increase in online sales over the past few years has helped more customers access local foods. But if a single farm is selling to two or three different online stores or farmers markets, that can mean two or three different account logins, two or three different platforms to learn, and two or three different inventories to manage. Local Food Connect solves this real-world problem by offering farmers one app where they can manage their sales to all channels, including food hubs currently using LFM and even in-person transactions at farm stands and markets.
- Manage Inventory: Avoid overselling products or miscounting inventory by having one place to view and manage your total inventory, while also having the option to break it down by each store.
- Create Consolidated Harvest Lists: Be ready for harvest days by using Connect to print clear harvest checklists or keep track on your mobile device, assign tasks to different harvest crews, and even print packing labels. Connect will do the work without the complicated spreadsheets.
Stay Organized & Plan: To know how much food to grow, where to focus sales, or just to plan for the season ahead, farmers need good data. Rather than running sales reports from several different sources and having to manually combine information, use Connect to access all your data in one place.
- Integrated information: Use the app to get a quick glance on what’s coming up for the week, what you’ve sold, and what you’re low on.
- Simplify Reporting: Spend less time juggling spreadsheets, and more time growing your business. Connect provides report templates to get you started, but all your reports can be fully customized.
Get Paid Faster: The last thing a producer should spend time on is chasing down payments. Connect can help you get paid faster and easier than ever.
- Automation: Food hubs and markets that use LFM will be able to automate payments to their producers through Connect.
- Take Payments: Connect integrates with Square terminals to process payments in-person at farms and farmers markets.
User Friendly: Local Food Connect was designed to be easy and accessible.
- Mobile First: Connect is formatted for phones and tablets, so you can use the app on the farm, at the market, and on the go!
- Easy product mapping: Does one site sell your products as “Apples, Green” while your own inventory lists them “green apples”? Connect can automatically map these product names so you can have a more accurate idea of your sales and inventory.
How Can Connect Help Food Hubs and Online Markets?
We believe that the new Connect app will also help food hubs and online markets that subscribe to our Local Food Marketplace, by helping you better connect to producers you work with.
- Payments: Pay your producers directly through Connect (available in Spring 2022). Save time on billing and keep track of payments in one place.
- Easier for producers: Producers are experiencing platform fatigue with too many systems to learn. Connect’s simple, mobile-first design offers a fast and easy way for producers to update products they list on your marketplace, create harvest lists, pack lists and more!
- It’s FREE for producers to get started using Connect with your LFM site.