A fresh produce vendor or supplier can be hard to find. Understandably, you want one that is at the top of their game and one who has a firm grasp on the fresh produce supply chain. One of their key roles is to supply fresh produce to wholesale distributors.
Because of the high perishability of fresh produce, these vendors try to get their supplies to distributors as quickly as possible. However, not all vendors can supply these perishables that quickly. Rather than cutting down on the price, some may attempt to sell lower quality wares at the same price as high-quality produce.
What differentiates a good fresh produce vendor from a bad one? This article reviews several factors you should expect from a good fresh produce vendor.
6 things you should expect from a good fresh produce vendor
A good fresh produce vendor is innovative. They are always seeking newer and better ways to improve their customer experiences.
This could mean using software to manage their business better.
Software programs like Silo are applicable for many financial aspects of a produce business. Business owners can use this solution to streamline payments and leverage accounts receivable automation.
This solution has numerous features and can also be used to reconcile accounting, create invoices, make accurate inventory counts, maintain lot traceability over the entire supply chain, and sign off on shipments.
It could also mean short-term innovations with immediate effects. An example is hiring a staff member to attend to customer complaints. Whatever the case, it should always be evident that the vendor’s focus is on their clients and always looking for ways to augment customer convenience.
2. High-quality Produce
A good fresh produce vendor sells high-quality fresh produce. They themselves understand the value of high-quality fresh produce, and their customers are always certain that what they receive is the best that is available .
Fresh produce, unlike other products, have short shelf lives. The more damaged they are from the onset, the faster they will spoil before they are used or properly stored away. The quality of fresh produce depends on its physical characteristics, chemical composition, or a combination of both factors. High-quality produce can be differentiated from that of poor quality based on the following physical characteristics:
- Smell: Smell is one of the easiest ways of identifying high-quality produce. For instance, good fruits have a light and sweet smell. A strong aroma indicates that the fruit may be close to overripening, while a pungent, foul smell suggests fruit that may not be safe to consume.
- Texture: Fruits surfaces should be smooth and firm. Mushy portions, dents, or dimples may indicate that the fruit is slowly rotting under the skin. Vegetables like peppers and cucumber should also be as firm as possible.
- Color: The color of fresh produce should be even. Avoid fruits with dark spots or dents on their surfaces as much as possible. On citrus fruits, abnormalities may appear as white streaks instead. Some green vegetables may have brown edges due to poor handling.
3. Fair Prices
A good fresh produce vendor sells at the best prices. They may set their pricing based on the competition or use common pricing strategies. The most common pricing strategies include cost-plus pricing, competitive pricing, value-based pricing, dynamic pricing, and price skimming.
They are never exploitative regardless of what pricing strategy they choose to go by or what profit margin they have their heart set on.
A customer, usually a distributor or shipper, can find it frustrating to buy their perishables in bulk, only to find out later that they paid almost twice the average market price. The price difference may be marginal for a few supplies. It, however, widens with an increase in the volume of order.
A good produce vendor may also provide both new and repeat customer deals and discount offers. Deals may include bundle offerings and clearance sales for produce whose shelf life is close to expiration. They may also give discounts on holidays or for bulk orders. They should prioritize the vendor-customer relationship over making short-term gains.
4. Great Customer Service
A good fresh produce vendor offers great customer service. Customer service, good or bad, can seriously affect the growth of their business, and they know it. They, therefore, strive to put their clients at the center of everything they do.
People that support a business help it grow. It is, therefore, important to treat them well. Customers always know when they are not wanted or seen as a burden. Good vendors treat their customers warmly. This stands regardless of the countenance of the customers. Even if the customer appears tired or is rude and snappy, a good vendor remains empathetic and reasonable.
They take note of complaints and try to understand where their clients are coming from. They try to adjust their operations in line with these complaints, and where they cannot fix them, they apologize, reassure, and compensate these customers in other ways. They understand that a sincere apology is enough to resolve most issues, and they communicate this to their workers.
Weather, climate, and seasons have a big part to play in the fresh produce business. The best fresh produce vendors have access to several suppliers who produce fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the calendar year. Therefore, they can supply fresh produce that other vendors may not have.
They are also the quickest to have fresh produce that is in season. They remain the go-to vendors for the goods that are out of season because they have established a stable track record of positive performance metrics. Their clients might have to get it on pre-order and at a higher price, but they will always be the source for fresh produce that is in demand.
6. Good Reputation
A good fresh produce vendor is reputable. They are known among other vendors and their customers as trustworthy and reliable.
A good vendor, for instance, does not mix fresh and rotten produce and sell at the same rates as high-quality produce. Dishonesties such as these separate the good from the bad. If the bad produce is to be sold, it should be sold with transparency. That way, the customer does not feel cheated or slighted—they are aware of what they are purchasing.