Wholesale prices for potatoes this season are little encouraging for agricultural producers, forcing them to look for new, more profitable ways to sell their crops. One of the possible solutions to the problem for certain categories of farms may be cooperation with online stores. In recent years, such sites have opened in almost all major cities of Russia.
According to Nielsen (a global metering company that provides data and analytics for the most complete study of consumers and markets), when purchasing products, Russians try to opt for regional products: for example, 81% of those surveyed prefer to buy meat of local production, 80% prefer milk , vegetables - 75%, fruits - 67%. This decision is primarily due to the desire to get a natural product with a short shelf life.
Numerous researchers of the Russian e-commerce market are unanimous: it has great potential for growth. According to Robokassa (a service for organizing the acceptance of payments on the Internet), the monthly user audience of the Russian Internet is at least 90 million people a month, of which 65% make purchases in online stores. According to Data Insight (a research agency specializing in the e-commerce market), in Russia there are at least 300 thousand sites with the function of an online store.
At the same time, experts call the online trading in products the most promising area for investment, since this segment is only beginning to develop in our country. It is no coincidence that many international and federal retail chains actively launch their own Internet projects.
But in parallel with food giants, the market has many large and small platforms for the sale of farm products. Online stores of this orientation correspond to the most relevant modern trends: they help customers acquire healthy food without spending time and effort.
HOW IT WORKS?
An online store, as defined by Wikipedia, is a site selling goods through the Internet. It allows users to select products online, place an order, place delivery and pay for their purchase.
The online store of farm products most often offers its customers a wide range of various products, including dairy products, meat and meat semi-finished products, eggs, cheeses, homemade cakes, herbal teas, honey ... Vegetables and potatoes in this tasty row, as a rule, are not the first position. And, nevertheless, they are in demand among buyers: buying shamat of village fat, few will refuse to add a couple of kilograms of crumbly potato to the order, all the more so since the purchase amount will not change much, and the courier will deliver the heavy cargo directly to the doorstep of the apartment.
Each name (or group of names) of goods is represented by a separate manufacturer. According to the agreement with the Internet site, he must monitor the availability of his positions and timely - within one to two days - in accordance with the rules of transportation, deliver them to the picking point (or directly to the client) in case of order.
However, on the site there may be several offers at once about potatoes, beets, carrots, etc. from different suppliers - so that the potential client has the opportunity to choose.
The goal of the online platform is to attract and retain customers. Accordingly, the costs of the organizers of this business are not only the costs of creating and maintaining the site and the costs of organizing courier delivery (if any). Of great importance is the work of promoting and promoting the store.
A farm of any level can sell its products via Internet platforms, there are no formal restrictions, but in reality this format is convenient for small enterprises that grow a limited volume of goods and are not able to organize bulk deliveries to retail chains. Going into the Internet space, the farm gets the opportunity to sell goods at an advantageous price with an initially higher cost price (compared with the products of agricultural holdings) - under certain conditions, of course. Among them are the willingness to work with small orders and a well-thought-out delivery scheme.
“We are ready to provide a platform for any enterprises,” says Marat Sungatullin, coordinator of the Korova Mu farm deli (Kazan), “but in fact we work with small family farms. Most often, our partners are farms located near the city and already have their own points of sale there, and hence a developed logistics system.
Our platform helps them increase sales. ” Internet sites are an ideal place for the implementation of eco-and bio-products. “Our farm is five years old, and almost from the first year we have been cooperating with online stores. For us, this is the best option. - Explains Ekaterina Shagova, manager of the eco-farm “Cornflowers” (Moscow region). - The fact is that we do not process potatoes and vegetables in any way before loading them into storage, we have a live, clean product, the shelf life of which is not too long. And here we get an address order, which we quickly process, and the product falls into the hands of the buyer within two to three days. ”
QUALITY OF GOODS OR WHEN IN ORDER OF CAT IN A BAG
One of the key problems in the operation of the online store: the customer’s distrust of the quality of the product, the properties of which the customer is forced to evaluate from the photograph. In fact, not all online sites verify what the farmer sends to the buyer. But this does not mean at all that the client risks getting a defective product, reputation risks are too high. One negative review on the network can drop sales to the entire store. Therefore, as a rule, any product that did not attract the customer without discussion is taken back. With suppliers offering poor-quality products (as well as forgetting about the order or late for delivery), the stores part without regrets.
But this is provided if the store really works with farmers. There are frequent cases when the owners of virtual platforms go for deliberate consumer fraud. They buy trial batches of products at farms well-known in the region, draw up farmers' personal pages on the websites with descriptions of varieties and photos of fields, post certificates of conformity confirming the quality of potatoes, and ... this ends the cooperation. Further, the store calmly sells its goods, but under the guise of farm products. Ivan Piraev, the head of a farm in the Novgorod region, notes that today his photo and information about the varieties of potatoes produced by his enterprise are available on the pages of five or six St. Petersburg online stores, in some he is called the only supplier of potatoes, goods are being sold very active, but none of the store representatives turned to the Novgorod farmer for products.
The range of prices for potatoes in online stores is huge. For a kilogram of tubers, different sites ask from 25 to 300 rubles. The most expensive product is offered to metropolitan customers and most often under the brand name "environmentally friendly products".
What is the price of the product made up of and what percentage of it remains with the farmer? Each store has its own terms of cooperation. The largest margins are for those who completely redeem the consignment of products and independently engage in their storage and targeted delivery. All costs, of course, are ultimately included in the final cost. But other sites highly value their services: to the price of the product (which the farmer himself announces), the untwisted metropolitan stores add from 70 to 100%. Although if the Internet platform is interested in increasing sales, the requests can be significantly lower.
The well-known Moscow store "Eat Village", for example, charges a fee of 25-35% for its services, and the farmer grocery store "Cow Mu" generally works for free. “Until the site gains a good turn, we will not add our percentage to the prices of farmers,” explains Marat Sungatullin, “most likely, we will work according to these rules until the end of 2019.”
A brief review of prices on sites often makes the manufacturer think: does he need an intermediary? A farm that has in its assortment several types of quality products, its own storage and vehicles for order delivery, is quite capable of opening its own online store.
There are examples of such sites on the network, but online trading is a separate and not so simple type of business. Of the dozens of stores annually appearing on the market, few are truly successful: those who managed to attract customers with interesting products, provided a high level of quality and service, while remaining profitable. This is a challenge for professionals.
Euromonitor International experts predict that online food sales will triple in the coming years worldwide. Thus, by 2022, 3% of the total volume of food products will be sold via the Internet. Now in the world through the Internet only 1% of such products are sold.