LISTING YOUR ITEMS
We, at Farmers Direct are over the moon to display your unique food products and farmers market items! We ask that you strictly sell only food items or artisan items found at farmer's markets. Use your judgment when listing as we may deactivate your account if you are selling items not representative of our market place such as cell phones, shoes, big box store brands, etc. That being said, if you make soap from the goats that you raise or the fruits that you grow- list it!
What we do ask when you list your items is be as SPECIFIC as possible. List all ingredients, allergens (such as Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree nuts, Fish and shellfish, soy and wheat), weights, quantities, the place where your items are farmed and raised, etc. The more information the customer has the better! Also be sure to include beautiful pictures of your products against a white background. Props are allowed be we need consistency for our site to remain uniform. Make sure your images are clear and your policies, refund policy, shipping terms are all readily visible on your store front. Most importantly make sure you abide by all state and federal laws.
Farmers Direct allows you to ship your products to your customers or use our "Local Pickup" feature. This is a free feature for you to use. When you make a meeting point with a customer we ask that you show up on time and meet in a safe, well lit, public place to trade your goods. If you charge the customer for the items before pickup they are more likely to show up and meet you for local pickup so we encourage this practice.
If shipping items, we ask that you test shipping your products to make sure they ship safely to your customers. Check with your shipping partner to make sure you are charging correct pricing and ship in a timely manner. Your goal is that you can sell more of your items to the lovely people coming here to support you. We have put together some shipping best practices below for you to reference.
BEST PRACTICES FOR SHIPPING
We know that you spend most of your time farming, baking, making food products, packing, selling, taking care of your family- doing it all! Many of you haven’t thought about shipping your products to people all over the country and we are here to make it easy. Do you know you can get FREE boxes from USPS to ship your products? And that they deliver them to your house for free? AND that they will pick up your outgoing boxes free? Do you know you can call and negotiate special rates with UPS and FEDex that are not published- even if you are a small business? Lots of people ship food and it increases their profits by HUGE numbers. It is safe and fast and customers are willing to pay the extra fee to get your items! Most items you can ship in a standard box with some type of padding such as packing peanuts or newspaper. Parishable foods need a little extra attention but once you have a system it is quick and easy.
This guide is meant as a useful tool to help you get started with shipping perishable products. Links to suppliers will be provided to make it easier for you to locate well priced packaging and materials. We are breaking this down into 3 sections: Getting boxes, keeping your products cool and choosing a shipping partner. If you get these things down you will be ready to go. Always make sure you are abiding by all laws when selling your food products.
First, you need a box to ship your items in. You can get FREE cardboard boxes delivered to your door by going to USPS.com. To utilize the free boxes you must ship Priority Mail or Express mail. We require overnight or 2-day mail (by any shipping partner of your choice for any perishable items). You may also use Styrofoam boxes which typically includes an exterior cardboard box. They come in various thicknesses. The thicker the wall, the less dry ice or ice packs you’ll need, but the more expensive the box.
If you choose a cardboard box you need to use a liner. These are a great cost effective way to keep products cool. This option allows you to tightly wrap your product and then fill any extra space in your box with bubble wrap or other packaging. Buy insulated liners HERE with free shipping.
These combine the insulation effectiveness of Styrofoam with the reflective properties of insulated liners. These are generally made of recycled materials. This solution typically comes with a cardboard box.
2 KEEP YOUR ITEMS COOL
The general rule is to use ice packs when shipping refrigerated items, and dry ice when your item needs to remain frozen.
- Ice Packs: Make sure to test the number and size your product needs INSIDE whichever insulation-providing container you choose. Keep in mind there are also different kinds available, but to save money, you’ll probably only need the one-time use ice packs. Buy ice packs HERE for as low as .39 cents each with free shipping.
- Dry Ice: You will be handling a hazardous material, which means you’ll have a few extra considerations when labeling your package, and choosing your shipping partner. When using UPS, if you stay under 5.5 lbs. of dry ice, you’ll avoid extra requirements when shipping by air. Any time you use dry ice you must label the outside of the box showing that it contains Dry Ice. You need to calculate how much dry ice you will need in your shipping box as well depending on how long your product needs to stay frozen, how much your product weighs, the temperature of your item when you ship it, etc.
- UPS INFO FOR COOLANTS AND REFRIGERANTS
- FED EX SERVICE GUIDE
Part 2: Choose the Right Shipping Partner
Who Should Deliver Your Food Product to Your Customers?
For perishable products that require a guaranteed delivery time within 1-2 days call around to different shipping partners such as UPS and FedEx. These shippers offer lower rates to small businesses. You can also check rates on the USPS site. Many people and big companies alike ship food items 2 day mail which is much more cost effective than overnighting packages and MOST of the time 2-day mail is quick enough to perserve your food nicely. Test and check and ship a sample box to yourself. You can learn so much this way and saven your self alot of headaches later
It’s worth the investment of time to research which shipping partner provides the best service for your unique business and products.
Shipping Speed: How many days will your product keep?
You may think you have to overnight your product to be safe, but remember that 2-day shipping is significantly less expensive and may be fast enough. Saving customers money on shipping means they’ll order more often.
The shipping speed required will depend on shelf-life, and whether you need to keep your product refrigerated or frozen. The key question to ask is this: what is the slowest I can ship my product, while still ensuring safe arrival?
With UPS, you can ship within a large regional are a via UPS Ground in 1 day or 2 days, which will cost a LOT less than 1 or 2 day air delivery. Just keep in mind that UPS Ground does not provide a service guarantee.
Keep your buyers informed about what method you are using. Remember, buyers want your products and they want them to come in good condition and are willing to pay extra to support you and have your amazing items.
Shipping glass is done all day every day. People are buying glass jars of beauty products and hot sauces off the retail giants websites like crazy so don’t be afraid of shipping your own glass products. Its actually really simple. All you need when shipping glass is a box to fit your item(s) and some protection. This protection can be bubble wrap, packing peanuts, newspaper, or air packs. Any of these wrapped around your jar is fast and easy to do. Then just ship as usual. As with shipping any item we recommend doing a test and shipping something to yourself or a friend to see if you need any additional packing elements. With glass you can always package and do a drop test. It’s easy and safe to ship glass and no one wants to be without your amazing canned and jarred goods!