Using scarcity to grow your business


Strawberry season is over in North Carolina and the recent heavy rains left some customers (like me) frustrated at how quickly growers at the farmers market had run out.  Which got me wondering how a farmer might use scarcity to help boost their profits.

An obvious answer is to increase prices. If you’re selling out of something at $4 a pint, why not increase the price to $4.25 or $4.50?  If you keep selling our at the higher price, why not try $5?

I know that many growers hate to raise prices. They don’t want their customers complaining about the cost increase.  But if you’re selling out consistently, that’s a clear signal that people are willing to pay more than what you’re charging. And for many farmers, getting a good price is critical to staying in business.

If you’re not willing to raise your price, there are other tactics you can try.  For example, you can offer a bundle of something popular (e.g. strawberries) with something that’s harder to sell (turnips, anyone?)  Or offer to take reservations from your “regular” customers first so they know that their loyalty pays.

Since strawberry season is over, you’ll need another big hit.  The first week of tomatoes or corn might be a good start. Or blueberries. Whatever sells out for you.

The key is to use the advantage you’ve got, even if you have to wait till next year’s strawberry crop.