Project Everest

Channels

[Channels] FarmEd Fiji July 2019

by
Joyce Chen
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Joyce Chen | 1 month ago | in FarmEd - Fiji

Lean phase: Channels

Aim: FarmEd is currently using a business-to-customer (B2C) sales model, with the channels being door-to-door sales and Facebook.  In the future FarmEd plans to use a business-to-business (B2B) sales model, where FarmEd sells the application to businesses which purchase produce to distribute to farmers.   

 

Door-to-Door (B2C)

FarmEd has been contacting customers through door-to-door sales. This is used during all phases of the channels phase, and currency testing results from July 2019 demonstrate that this is effective for introducing the app to farmers and informing them of the benefits, and has a high rate of conversion to sales, with 66% of farmers that were pitched the app making a purchase. This method is effective for targeting early adopters, selling the application and building relationships within the community. However, this method is not scalable in the long term, and relies on trekkers to be in country. Other options must therefore be explored in the future.

The strengths of this channel include:

  • Higher levels of trust when we have face-to-face interactions, demonstrated by the large discrepancy between in-person and online sales
  • The method is culturally suited to Fijian values
  • In-person surveys make it easy to determine if the farmer is suitable for our product

The weaknesses of the channel include:

  • Inefficient: Relies on successful village meetings which is contingent on many factors including: booking a date to attend the village, not having the meeting cancelled last minute, organising for farmers to be congregated in one place. All these factors may not be satisfied due to differing cultural norms around time in Fiji.
  • Language barriers: Relies on farmers having strong English proficiency.
  • Resource demanding: Requires extensive resources such as manpower and transport

Results from the July 2019 currency testing experiment can be found here:

https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/2001890 

 

Facebook

FarmEd is currently reaching new customers and making sales through Facebook. This involves posting information about the app on the FarmEd Facebook page. The July 2019 team explored using Facebook as a channel to sell the application. It found that while Facebook was successful in the awareness phase of the customer journey, there were also several limitations to this channel, especially during the purchase phase.

No farmers bought the app or service via Facebook in July 2019. There were two farmers who sent questions to us on Facebook, but did not purchase the app. These farmers had previously met with FarmEd in February and rediscovered us through promotional posts. The farmers’ interest in the solution our service provided, and their decision not to buy the app suggests a block with the Facebook channel.

The strengths of Facebook as a channel are: 

  • Sales can be made directly through Facebook
  • Scalable, increasingly popular in Fiji and gives access to a large customer base
  • Gives access to early adopters with proficient computer literacy and internet access
  • Customers can send in questions about the product and provide feedback through direct messages to the page

Weaknesses of Facebook as a channel:

  • Low conversion rate from leads into customers
  • Facebook is in the slow growth phase. Many people either do not have accounts, use family members’ accounts, and only access them occasionally
  • M-PAiSA is new technology, Fijians are unfamiliar with making online payments
  • PEV may be seen as less trustworthy online than when we meet customers in-person

A discussion of the drawbacks of Facebook as a channel can be found here: 

https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/2113700

 

Posters

FarmEd experimented with hanging posters around the Sigatoka town in order to reach a broader range of farmers. The posters were hung in agricultural stores and the Vodafone store, but this method was found to not be viable given it was ineffective and not scalable. 

Next Move:

To further validate the channels phase of the lean canvas, it is necessary to address the issues that arose regarding Facebook and B2C channels.

The lack of success of Facebook as a channel in July 2019 indicates the necessity of re-evaluating the way FarmEd markets itself online. It is possible that the slow rate of adoption of Facebook means that despite the channel not currently being viable, it will be in the future. 

The July 2019 utility testing experiment investigated the B2C channel of door-to-door sales. Results from this experiment showed that the B2C door-to-door channel did not allow us to solely target tech-savvy customers. This meant that many of our farmers had internet but were not tech-savvy, and thus did not submit questions or complete the customer journey. 

To mitigate these issues, the 2019/2020 Summer FarmEd teams should redefine the B2C door-to-door channel to seek only tech savvy farmers. To facilitate this process, the July 2019 team ranked villages based on their suitability as early adopters. Focusing on building relations with the high ranking villages can facilitate this.  The ranking can be found here; https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Hfh2QGgMHKnl-VldeF-tsML3a991lKznaL0Q4D283-s/edit#gid=0 

Case studies of the ten villages visited in July 2019, including their suitability as early adopters, can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1o7D22_ijiech0_IfEYRlm5dO9K9HD8Zx?zx=i04lrtzat54q 

To validate this section of the lean canvas, it is necessary to explore other potential channels in the future. This involves extending distribution methods under the B2C channel, and also exploring distribution methods under B2B channels. We propose the following experiments be conducted over Summer 2019/2020.

SMS Blasting (B2C)

  • FarmEd is hoping to utilise text blasts as a marketing method for the FarmEd app to generate EOIs on a large scale. Despite the low efficacy of this channel compared to other channels, it is a viable option given it is a cost effective and time efficient method. Another benefit of SMS blasting is that it ensures that customers targeted meet the criteria and are interested in the application.

Facebook (B2C)

  • The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether it is viable to sell the FarmEd service using Facebook as a distribution channel using M-PAiSA as a payment method. The Summer 2018/2019 FarmEd teams have already tested whether farmers would interact with Farmed through Facebook, using likes as a key metric. The results of their experiment received an orange light with 52 farmers ‘liking’ the page over 3 weeks. Summer 2019/2020 should focus on the number of farmers who purchase the service via Facebook.
  • Further details on the proposed experiment can be found here: https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/2112690 

Businesses and Organisations (B2B)

  • The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether it is viable to sell the FarmEd service using businesses and organisations, particularly resorts and hotels, as a distribution method. The benefits of this channel is that it can be conducted both face to face and utilising media through calls and video chats. It has the potential to reach more customers than B2C channels, and allow sales to continue when FarmEd is not in-country. The Summer 2018/2019 FarmEd teams explored channel collecting data on expressions of interest to be sales agents. Results receiving an orange light due to limitations of MPV.
  • Further details on the proposed experiment can be found here: https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/2112730

Middlemen (B2B)

  • The purpose of this experiment is to determine: 1) whether it is viable to sell the FarmEd service using influential individuals outside of PEV, and 2) whether these influential individuals will be effective sales agents. 
  • The Summer 2018/2019 FarmEd teams explored channel collecting data on expressions of interest to be sales agents. Results receiving an orange light due to limitations of MPV.
  • Further details on the proposed experiment can be found here: https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/2112760

Customer (B2B)

  • The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether it is viable to sell the Farmed service using existing customers as a distribution channel. This can be done by incentivising customers to refer our people to our product. A potential incentive can be that: a customer can receive a 1 month of our product for free if they refer 5 people, 2 months free if they refer 10 people etc. This experiment is a completely new idea, and has not been tested before.
  • Further details on the proposed experiment can be found here: https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/2112780

Eugenia Muñoz 1 month ago

Status label added: Channels

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