Innovation in the Agricultural Industry – 655 Farmsite Innovation
Food Safety has been an issue in Taiwan in recent years. We can blame on all the problems on those unscrupulous business, and wait for the verdict from the justice. Or, we can also personally get involved in this issue. The famous travel blogger Joe Lin, founded “655 Farmsite”, which aims to provide consumers with correct information of good agricultural products, and to appreciate the real value of agricultural products.
We had reported the different talks from “368 Innovation Service” Forum, which dedicates to promoting startup resources to everywhere in Taiwan. This time, “368 Innovation Service Car” drove into Fuxing Dist., Taoyuan with Lin, who shared his experiences on the Internet marketing in the agricultural industry to the folks.
Lin worked in the tourism industry for nearly ten years, and besides that, he has been blogging his personal travel experiences in these years. However, what motivated him to jump into this new field for the one who grew up in a big city and never had connection with farmlands?
An Interacting Platform for Suppliers and Demanders Through the Internet
“Our purpose is to let consumers understand what are good agricultural products and appreciate their values through various activities, such as personal farming experiences, local sales of farming products and etc.”
At first, Lin’s goal was not to provide the direct supply chain. He was going to purely have fun in farms. He received a volunteer event information – due to the over supply of cabbages, the event proposer asked volunteers to help collect cabbages and make donations to preschools or kindergartens. He met many farmers in this event and realized their difficult situations in this industry. For example, despite the trend of “organic agriculture,” no one was taught about the pesticide standard, which would affect the following costs. Moreover, the unpredictable control of consumers and the market also affects the farming strategy, which causes a lot of risk in this industry that outsiders cannot imagine.
“Our goal is to let everyone understand farmer’s hard works and to know the stories of agricultural products from each farmer.” “655 Farmsite” was founded in April, 2015, which provides a platform for farmers and consumers to interact directly with each other. It was hard to reflect the real cost from farmers to consumers because distributors always control the market price. However, via this platform, farmers are able to receive reasonable compensations and consumers are more willing to buy those products.
Lin created a series of activities of agricultural experiences on the website, and specifically, he imported various agricultural products into big cities that allow people to have the “original taste” of the foods in big cities. People by this chance get to know what the real foods taste like without adding any spices.
Do You Find “Real” Fans of Your Service or Product?
“655 Farmsite” has not yet brought a huge impact, but Lin still keeps working on his goal. The most important way to promote its service is to have a good Internet marketing. The Internet marketing does not require too much knowledge and is a relative easy marketing method. Lin created an ordering form by Google Doc and posted it on Facebook to announce related products.
“The numbers of fans you have is not a winning point. The focus should be on finding real fans who would love what you do. Lin analyzed the customer bases, read through every comments fans left on the page, and to promote the event via advertisements. The website also owns its “group” on Facebook to further advertise its website.
Besides Facebook, Lin also relies on LINE, a popular instant communication application in Taiwan, to connect to others. He regularly sends important messages and information to specific groups to make sure that their fans can well receive his messages by LINE. On the other hand, it is also easier for Lin to collect all feedback from the website’s fans and users. Blog is another way for him to promote his service and website. Although blogging, unlike Facebook or messaging, cannot get an immediate response from the public, it provides a detailed and complete content about his website, which allows people to know better about what the website’s purpose.
In addition to marketing strategies, consumer’s preference is also another part to run a successful business, and the best way to buy people’s heart is by “chatting” with them. In Lin’s sales strategy, he starts with getting opinion and feedback from users. To listen to consumer’s voice would be the best helpers for the future marketing strategy. Lin also emphasized that each word, picture or video posted on either Facebook, LINE or the blog needs to be examined again via cellphones because people always check updates by using cellphone, the easiest way in this digitized era.
“Cellphones are one of the essentials that connects city to countryside. Check every update via cellphones before you send your messages. You would want to make your effort perfect to the public!”
Lin, a solo entrepreneur, is still exploring more operation mechanisms on the Internet. He hopes that the website can provide individual farmers with a more convenient platform to manage and sell their own products online, and what Lin needs to do is to manage the operation of the website’s backstage, and to maintain the relationship with different farmers. The website’s purpose is to offer a platform to serve healthier and better quality products to the public.
中文版連結Cover photo via thebittenword.com@Flickr, CC License