39 Days of IDEAS | Day 1: Welcoming shoppers to their new market

The germ for Georgia Organics’ big new idea came, like so much else does, from farmers. “Farmers told us the customer base at their farmers markets were too small,” said Danielle Moore, director of the My Market Club program. “We set out to discover why.”

Teaming up with Spitfire Strategies, Georgia Organics conducted a nationwide study that identified several common causes holding potential customers back: “From not knowing about the market at all, to people not realizing that they could get all their grocery shopping done there,” said Moore, potential customers were generally under-informed.

Seeing a need for education and engagement, Georgia Organics decided to start an on-site club to welcome people, orient them, and get them excited about returning. “We thought, what is working for those big box stores?” said Moore. “The answer: rewards! Rewards make people feel engaged and welcomed—like part of a club.”

You can find My Market Club’s volunteer ambassadors at eight farmers markets across the state, handing out loyalty cards and My Market tokens (as good as cash) to new visitors, and swag for returning shoppers (including t-shirts, totes, and coupons for program partner Chipotle), while serving as easy-to-see, easy-to-approach guides.

Moore reports that they’ve welcomed more than 7,500 new shoppers—including SNAP/EBT recipients—to Georgia farmers markets since the program began in late 2012. Demand among farmers for more My Market Club coverage, said Moore, has also grown quickly: “We started with six pilot markets, and this year we were lucky enough to be able to add two more. Next year, we’re looking to increase that number to 13.”

 

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The Georgia Nonprofit NOW team: Betsy Reid, Editor-in-Chief: Marc Schultz, Managing Editor; and Tom Zimmerman, Community Editor

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