Study Reviewing Point-of-Sale (POS) Software and Marketing at Farmer's Markets

March 20, 2022
Study Reviewing Point-of-Sale (POS) Software and Marketing at Farmer's Markets

March 17, 2022

Cornell to hold 2-Part Webinar Series on Point-of-Sale Use for Farms 

Electronic Point-of-Sale (POS) systems present new opportunities for farmers market vendors to improve sales. POS systems provide a quick and easy means for farms to gather data on customer shopping habits. In turn, this data can be analyzed to reveal growth opportunities for market sales. Researchers Matt LeRoux and Todd Schmit at the Cornell Program for Agribusiness and Rural Development are collecting data using POS with NY farms selling meat, fruits, vegetables, fresh cut flowers and mushrooms in direct-to-consumer channels. The project seeks farms that sell their own products at farmers markets, farm stores, and staffed farm stands to participate.

Farm participation requires collecting all sales transactions at markets in real time with the Point-of-Sale (POS) software Square. In turn, the team analyzes the data, providing farms with summary reports and specific advice aimed at increasing farm revenue. Project participants receive one-on-one consultation and technical assistance with marketing and pricing.

To orient farmers to the project, a 2-part webinar series is planned for Thursdays, April 21 & 28 from 6:30-8:00 PM. The webinars are appropriate for any farmers market or farm stand/store vendor interested in or currently using Square or another POS system.

Week 1: The Data-Driven Farmers Market: Using POS systems to Inform Market Practices

Grocery stores have long used scanner data to inform marketing techniques. Now farmer-friendly point-of-sale software gives farmers similar potential to track their sales. Learn how Cornell researchers used this technology in 2018 with eight NY-based vegetable farms. Then hear how one diversified, direct-to-consumer farm uses Square to help inform their market and production decisions. Leave this workshop with specific takeaways and tips for your own sales methods.

Week 2: How to Set Up and Use Square, A Practical Guide
We'll walk you through, click-by-click, the basic functions to set up Square so that the data it collects is useful to your farm and the Cornell research team. We'll cover how to set up locations, product categories, items, and pricing for products sold by weight or unit. This webinar will be recorded so attendees can play it back (and pause as needed) when setting up their own Square.

Registration: Any farm is welcome to attend one, or both, of these webinars using a single registration. Farms that would like to participate in the POS research are encouraged to attend. 

Register HERE :

Instructors: Matt LeRoux, Extension Associate, Cornell University and Becca Rimmel, farmer at Bottom Land Farm will present.

Speaker bios:

Matt LeRoux, Extension Associate, Cornell University
Matt has over 20 years' experience serving farms through Cornell Cooperative Extension, non-profits, and consulting. Specializing in market strategy, Matt works with a diverse mix of produce and livestock farmers and food businesses. Career highlights include developing the Marketing Channel Assessment Tool for produce growers and the Cornell Meat Price Calculator.

Becca Rimmel is owner of Bottomland Farm in Berkshire, NY, a diversified livestock farm raising broiler chickens, egg-laying hens, pigs, ducks, geese, rabbits, turkeys, and sheep for wool. They also manage a new orchard growing chestnut, hazelnut, apple and peach trees. The farm sells meat at four area farmers' markets. Becca is also the former manager of the Ithaca Farmers Market and supported Cornell Cooperative Extension's 2018 POS research with participating farmers.

More details about the research
The hypothesis is that a large volume of data (transactions) will reveal trends in consumer behavior that inform marketing techniques and pricing strategies to increase daily gross sales. The project examines the data on market-specific and farm-specific levels but also aggregated. Daily gross sales can be increased by 3 primary means: increasing customers, increasing customer spending, and increasing prices. The data will inform the best methods for each farm and market. A short article about the team's similar research with produce vendors can be found HERE

Questions about the project can be directed to Matt LeRoux, Extension Associate at

This material is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture under award number 2021-68006-33891 and Hatch under 2021-22-156. From the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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