When thinking about your typical farmers market, omnicommerce is probably one of the last things that comes to mind. For the most part, payments take place in-person and via cash, which may put a limitation on the number of customers a vendor is actually able to reach.
New York-based startup OurHarvest is on a mission to change that as it seeks to bring farmers and customers together digitally.
OurHarvest operates somewhat like a “pop-up farmers market” – a place where the farmers market meets online grocery.
“We bring the freshness and local flavor of the greenmarket online for convenient shopping,” OurHarvest co-founder Scott Reich explained.
In some areas OurHarvest offers home and office delivery and in others it operates central community pickup locations where consumers can receive their pre-ordered food. Products range from fresh meats and seafood, to produce and dairy, to snacks, pantry items, and more, Reich noted, but everything is sourced from local farmers, fishermen and food artisans.
After noticing the inherent inefficiencies in the supply food chain for both farmers and consumers, Reich and co-founder Michael Winik decided to utilize the power of an online marketplace to change it.
On one end there are farmers who get paid very little and often struggle to make ends meet, while on the other side there are consumers who consistently pay a premium price for an inferior, less fresh product.
By cutting out the distributors and middlemen, OurHarvest is able to ensure farmers get a larger percentage of the retail price while also opening up an opportunity to reach outside of the traditional retail channels.
“Farmers typically don’t have access to a broad market either – a farm stand in a small town might only be able to serve their immediate community. We are able to open markets to these farmers, expanding their customer base,” Winik said.
“The customers win and the farmers win,” he added.
The delivery difference
It’s one thing to be able to shop for fresh, local products online, but OurHarvest also allows for these goods to be delivered to customers in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn via a partnership with UberRUSH.
After visiting the OurHarvest site and placing an order for delivery, the company and UberRUSH coordinate for each delivery and the consumer is charged a flat fee for the service. OurHarvest works with Uber to make the deliveries happen in the selected delivery window and then pays Uber directly.
“The whole delivery process is intended to be as seamless as possible for the customer,” Reich said. “Customers love the experience! They get notified when their order is on its way to them so they can plan ahead and know exactly when their food will arrive.”
OurHarvest is looking to expand the delivery service area to all five boroughs of New York City in the future as well as incorporate additional pickup site locations on Long Island and in other suburbs.
Making the mobile move
When it comes to the mobile channel, OurHarvest utilizes an optimized website that allows its customers to place their orders via their mobile devices, an option that Winik says is taken up by a meaningful amount of customers.
As the company continues to grow, there are plans to eventually introduce a dedicated mobile app that can help to contribute to a seamless and convenient shopping experience for customers.
“An omnichannel strategy is critical because many consumers – especially very busy parents – don’t often have time to sit on their computer and browse around a traditional website,” Winik added.
“We need to be accessible and available to everybody regardless of the devices they use or their time constraints.”
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