Vendor Variety and Market Sales
A Case Study of the Williamsburg Farmers Market
Although sales at farmers markets have been on the rise for a few decades, a regular challenge faced by market managers is how to ensure that their vendors are best positioned to maximize what they can capture in market sales. Farmers markets have varying degrees of data collection and data analysis. This study aims to demonstrate the value of understanding data, so that market managers can take informed, effective steps to increase sales for their vendors. This is accomplished using 13 years of weekly sales data from the Williamsburg Farmers Market (WFM). The dataset categorized sales by produce, specialty crops, animal products, value-added products, non-edible crafts, and plant sales. This allowed us to explore the relationship between vendor variety and sales. In this paper we ask: To what extent does vendor and product variety affect sales at farmers markets? We use dynamic panel econometric models, including a vendor variety index and other salient market factors, to explore how market characteristics may affect overall market sales. We find that greater vendor variety in terms of the products they offer increases sales both on the aggregate and across vendor types. Based on these findings we argue that one significant thing that market managers can do to boost sales for their vendors is to increase the variety of offerings through the recruitment of vendors who can bring differing product types to the market.
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