Competition

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by PerryBee, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Just got back from visiting the farmers market I have been a part of for the last 4 years. I sell out every year in the fall and have been trying to increase my hive count to meet demand and establish a year round presence.
    Not so sure it was a wise move.
    I noticed a big outfit is there and they are selling honey. I don't mind that so much, hey, competition is a good thing right, and I'll stack my local product against their never-granulate stuff. But they are selling way below what I sell for when I am there. :cry: Small jars for $2 bucks less and big jars $3 less.
    Guess it's time to rethink my involvement if predatory pricing is going to be allowed. Disappointing to say the least!
    (or maybe it's just sour grapes on my part?)
     
  2. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    If your clientele is educated in what makes good honey, they'll pay the extra. I've given a lot of presentations in my area and I talk about raw local honey versus that stuff you get in grocery stores or the "never-granulate stuff" (love that term, Perry!); I review the NC Honey Standard with them and explain terms and truth in packaging. I sell my honey only from a nursery way Down East here. People drive up to 30 miles to buy my honey. Most buy for allergies but some just buy for taste. Whatever, a lot has to do with my presentations and handouts.
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    You might loose a few customers this year due to the price cutting of the competition, but those that figure it out will be back in short order.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Perry, listen to Tia.

    Here, the towns close off the streets for a weekend. Vendors of all kinds set up shop. It's called Fall Festival. Last year, vendor A was selling honey for 11.00 for pints, 20.00 for quarts. Vendor B was selling pints for 7.00 and quarts for 12.00 a block away. When vendor A sold out, he bought B's inventory and sold out again. Vendor B stated he couldn't sell much of any.
     
  5. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    Is the "big outfit" truly local? If not, a comment to the person(s) in charge might be in order. Our community's farmer's market regulates who is selling and what they are selling. They are looking for diversity. Also, you just never know. The big outfit may decide they are selling at a loss and decide the farmer's market isn't the best place for them. Your customers will realize that you have been there all along and that your product tastes superior. They will be looking for you. Be sure to offer taste tests.
     
  6. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    Yeah, I'd find out if they are local and if they are the beekeepers themselves. Being able to talk to the beekeeper is a great selling point.

    When we didn't have our own honey, we only bought local even if it was a little more expensive.
     
  7. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I think I would check with the managers of the market. Most farmers markets around here they have to produce the things they sale. Or be able to verify that is not a commercial product. Sounds like they are selling commercial honey and doing so can undercut the guy who produces his own honey. I see no difference in that than someone buying cucumbers at walmart and selling them at the farmers market.
     
  8. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    You could even buy a small jar of "the other guy's" honey, label it in a vague and non-accusatory manner, and have a taste comparison. That should do it, right there.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Perrybee writes:
    Disappointing to say the least!

    tecumseh:
    don't be... just retool your thinking. I would think first off that 'the other guys' product has almost got to be last year's crop... or do you have a honey crop this early in Canada? how long can 'the other guy' afford to send product to the market at 1/3 off given the price of petro? Sell yourself and then raise your prices $1 per bottle. Folks that want fresh, local and by and large unprocessed honey will invariable end up at your table.

    the cheapest trick in this game is to put yourself together a little observation hive and display this when you sale. the kids are attracted to the observation hive and their fathers (with a wallet open) follow.
     
  10. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Tec:
    There is no way anyone up here could have a crop this early so it must be last years. For some, honey is almost a by-product, a few don't even harvest their own honey and simply pay to have it done and sold. Not in this particular case though, I have met the individual (commercial) whose honey is being sold and he is a real nice guy who probably isn't even aware of the situation here.
    I think I will do as suggested and try and raise my game (not prices). I am there to answer questions and people are always wanting to "talk about the bees". I usually have a (empty) hive, veil, smoker, gloves, etc. on display as well. I have an observation hive (unused at this point) that I should fill and use once we are settled as well.
    Thanks all for your input!
     
  11. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    You got to have a gimmick to get them to stop. The longer they are there the more likely they are to buy. Do as I do talk to them until they give up and buy the honey to get away. Almost like a door to door salesman sticking his foot in the door :D :Dancing:
     
  12. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Rat is right, you have to have the gift of gab to be a good salesman.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Good luck on the retooling :thumbsup:

    and not being totally aware of the size of your market??? I would hope there is enough market for the both of you. it took me quite some time to educate my competition here (we are both real small time bee keepers) that there was plenty out there for the both of us and that we profited more from cooperating. sometimes you just need a knowledgeable helping hand when the emergency arise and it ain't like you can just find another beekeeper on every street corner.

    ps... my old abc/xyz explained that it was poor form or perhaps poor manners to enter a market where another bee keeper was operating and start off by slashing prices. no one profits by such action.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would suggest G3 that great salesman all do have the gift of gab but you don't need to be a great salesman to sale honey.

    in my experience to sell honey you only need to interact in an open sort of way with people that have an interest in your product or the bees themselves. Once they have decided you are authentic and by extension your product is authentic if the price is in anyway reasonable the honey will sell.

    There is also nothing wrong with thinking about way to differentiate your product from another bee keeper. A nice package sells, the smaller bottles make for great gifts...
     
  15. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    There's nothing wrong w/ last years honey, nor anything special about this years honey. Afterall, were you doing what you said you hoped to do to be able to sell all year around, you'd be selling last years honey now too.

    Resist the thought of lowering your price. Maintain current priceas or even raise them a little. Higher priced items give people the idea that they are better w/out the producer claiming they are, even if they are.

    Competition is good. It makes one think and not become complaicent. Innovate. Make your booth and product distinct. Have any flags? Like a banner of those triangular penants? Good sales to ya.