UBRLOCAL - Iteration 2 & 3
Virtual Food Co-op 
                    
Problem
Local food producers lack proper food distribution and marketing 
 
Solution
An app helping producers sell to groups of consumers by connecting them through local distributors. By cooperatizing the ownership of the app, we focus on an alternative ownership structure, that keeps more local dollars local. 
 
Skills
Entrepreneur, User Experience Design, User Interface Design, Data Visualization, User Research, Prototyper
Website prototype - Built in closed alpha in Shopify
 
Research    
                   
Market Accessibility Issues
9 out of 10 local producers in Washington were not able to sell their products at a Seattle Farmers Market because of lack of space of the producer wasn't large enough. Online tools could help them collaborate, market and distribute their products and scale their production.
Distribution Issues 
We learned that small producers were paying 70% at grocery stores. Grocery stores and government food policies favored industrial food systems. Small, local producers needed alternative, more affordable approaches to distribution and marketing.
Overall producers in Washington state and around the world needed help distributing their food, since they were doing distribution themselves and it took up too much of their time. 
 
Producers needed:
- Affordable distribution that was closer to 30 to 40% rather then 70% of their sales
- A collaborative approach to work with other producers so that they could potentially offer more to their customers
- Logistics were key to their needs. It needed to be easy. 
- Consumers to buy their products!
Understanding customer needs
                            
Consumer Profile was key to helping find customers for producers.  
-Consumers are commonly interested in needing low prices
-Convenience
Persona Continuum
                 
To develop our personas we established continuums and plotted our interviewees’ behavior. Categories included: how often users shopped, where they shopped, how much money was available for groceries, if they were active in their community
User Research - Distributors and "Hosts"
                      
Local food hubs were the key piece of the puzzle to helping scale business for local producers. Food hubs are agregation warehouses for local food and many were under utilized.  We have been experimenting on group buying from these food hubs based on the idea of Hosts.  Farmigo is using this concept, it's the same as buying clubs.  We're looking to cooperatize that model and share profits within the groups.   

Application Goals
                   
Scale buying is key for producers to sell at scale, consumers to buy at discounts and distributors to build efficiency.  We have been experimenting with group buying and group discounts. 
Prototype
                
Prototype featured group buying and singular add ons. This was tested with 26 people at the Impact Hub.  
Paper Prototype - We sold $600 worth of food in 10 hours of testing with 26 people
Take aways and next steps
                   
Take aways (Iteration 2):
We learned that doing distribution ourselves was expensive. Our key strategy is now to work with other distributors and to empower local food hubs.  Most food hubs need more customers, so an app focused on building community buying could help build interconnection of food hubs to communities. This comes with it's own challenges of creating consistency and standards.  Our app could help share data and make food hubs more competitive as well as help local food hubs scale. 
 
Next Steps (Iteration 3):
Next steps would be to test the hypothesis of building an app for food hubs.  We're working with the 3 major food hubs in the Seattle area to test this hypothesis with another group buying prototype based on the concept of a host.  Farmigo uses this concept, though they own all the infrastructure. In essence we're attempting to create a cooperative version of Farmigo.
 
We will continue by designing this next prototype for Anne, our food revolutionary and first adopter.
UBRLOCAL - Iteration 2 & 3
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Published:

UBRLOCAL - Iteration 2 & 3

A virtual food co-op. Buy local food collectively, get discounts, own a tech food platform collectively, build food democracy
5
118
0
Published: