It’s not easy being a farmer.
Aside from climate change and the havoc it wreaks on their crop supply, farmers also continually face a litany of expensive challenges, from high tariffs attached to new machinery to foreign competition and over production, both significantly devaluing the products farmers produce.
Brothers Gabriel and Gonzalo Úrculo, were farmers in Spain, trying to make a living by growing oranges on a farm. But they soon realized that if they wanted to succeed, they needed to cut out the middleman.
The team behind CrowdFarming aims to make things easier for farmers everywhere.
Together with Juliette Simonin, they took their thinking a step further. Along with expanding their orange grove, they wanted to take it a step further to help all farmers in Europe by giving them direct access to consumers, eliminating the need for costly intermediaries.
They started the CrowdFarming platform, and their vision was to build a powerful platform that would allow farmers around the world to sell their own products, arrange for the transportation of their packages, offer customer service, and create effective advertising.
Today the site boasts 314 farmers in 15 countries across Europe, Colombia and the Philippines. The farmers sell a range of products ranging from cheese to chocolate, soups to blankets. And it’s a success as today they serve about 300,000 consumers on their platform.
“We are always hearing from farmers, particularly in Europe, that they are not being paid fairly for the work they are doing and that it’s not sustainable,” she said. “From a consumer perspective, there are many scandals about what we are eating, about how we are being misled about what’s in our food and whether or not it’s organic. Buying directly from farmers certainly helps alleviate some of those concerns.”
Juliette stressed that CrowdFarming always aims to be transparent in the way they run their business, that way consumers can trust what they are buying into. One of the ways they do this is by hiring people on the ground to act as partners to the farmers but also to verify that what is being sold is being adequately described.
“People want their values expressed through their purchases and so transparency is critical,” she said. “Customers want to know that what they are buying from a platform and farmers are ethically credible.”
Being credible extends to all aspects of the business, from products to purchases.
“For us, the moment of payment is really critical,” Juliette said. “We can’t ask people to trust us, trust the farmers on our platform, trust the products they are selling, and then not give them a trusted payment provider.”
CrowdFarming uses PayPal for payment transactions and fraud protection and as a result, the company has seen the positive impact of working with a trusted provider. According to this PayPal case study, within six months of implementing PayPal on their platform, they saw some success:
To reduce friction at checkout, the CrowdFarming team integrated PayPal’s Reference Transactions, which allow customers to make recurring payments with just a few clicks.
"Customers see PayPal at checkout and they trust that it will be a quick, easy, and most importantly, secure transaction. We benefit from that extension of trust, especially with new customers," Juliette said.
Next up for the team includes developing regular educational, expert-driven content for their products, cheekily titled, “WTF (What the Field?!).” It’s an important part of the company’s overall strategy to educate and empower both farmers and consumers, she said.
“It’s a very good tool to dive into, in detail, complex issues in the industry, about solutions that are not always a one-size- fits- all solution. It’s also a great way to give people who are asking questions content that they can review that has quality, objective information driven by leading experts in the field,” explained Juliette. “It’s a very important tool for us.”
To learn more about how PayPal can help your business build trust with your customers, visit our PayPal for Enterprise page. To read more about how PayPal has helped other businesses find success, check out our Modern Enterprise series.
These results may not be typical and may vary substantially by business. This content is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.
The Modern Enterprise series explores the issues and opportunities shaping today’s most successful companies. Read about innovations that change the competition, new ways of doing business that consumers have come to expect, and hear from industry leaders on their decisions and the lessons they’ve learned. Read more or sign up for the newsletter here. For more on how PayPal can help your company, visit PayPal for Enterprise.
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