Getting Ducks, Alpacas, & Miniature Cattle in a Digital Row
Ethically raised and lovingly cared for, life for the alpacas, chickens, and miniature beef cattle of Silver Heron Farm is top-notch in every possible way. Between the rambunctious boys and the charming girls of the farm’s alpaca herd, Silver Heron Farm handmakes a variety of farm fresh products, including highly popular alpaca fleece bird nesters in a range of colours and styles, suet bird feeders, alpaca fleece dryer balls, all-natural soil enhancing tea for plants, and seasonally raised meat chickens and farm fresh eggs, with more to come this year.
From the outside looking in, farming appears to be a simple, straightforward endeavor. Managing a successful farm business, however— both the day-to-day & unexpected activities, as well as strategic business planning— is no small task. Making the shift to go digital in today’s marketplace makes economic sense for small businesses in most industries, and the food and agriculture sector is no exception.
For Ontario-based small businesses, Digital Main Street delivers support, like the ShopHERE powered by Google program, to help make the move to eCommerce a faster, easier process.
“Having someone help with organizing and setting up a shop and then teaching us how to use it was very helpful and saved us a lot of time and headache trying to figure it out for ourselves. It was one less thing we had to do for ourselves and it was done and ready to go quickly.”
Small business participants receive one-on-one support from an eCommerce Coordinator to help with building, designing, and tips for marketing their new online store.
“Our experience was having one-on-one sessions with the staff that put together the website, so it was an entirely personalized site. They did their best to understand our business and put together something that showcased our business well.”
For Kim & Geoff, the support provided through ShopHERE allowed them to spend more time and energy taking care of the many other important aspects of their business. Participants in the ShopHERE program can also rest assured knowing that the eCommerce site they walk away with upon completing the program is custom-built to suit the unique needs of their business.
“[Our eCommerce website] had the flexibility that we needed to offer our items, even with much of our offerings requiring farm gate pickup. But it also offered us the ability to offer shipping or delivery.”
There is, however, more to running a successful eCommerce site than merely setting up an online store. That’s why ShopHERE’s eCommerce Coordinators are equipped with the skills and expertise to empower small businesses to take charge of the website maintenance and optimization tasks required.
“We benefited greatly from the training on how to use and edit the site as needed as well as some introductory training on SEO, which is information that we can still use and apply in other settings.”
Building and maintaining an eCommerce website is just one piece of the puzzle that small business owners tackle on a regular basis. That said, every small business has something valuable to offer, and showcasing that unique value online can help to further set a company apart from competitors, and, in turn, further enrich local and global communities.
If you’d like to learn more about Silver Heron Farm or get your daily dose of cute farm animal photos, check out their website here. For more information on the ShopHERE powered by Google program or to learn more about how to get involved in the eCommerce space, please click here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.