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On tap: A new way of selling produce

Numerous companies have tried to sell produce over the Internet in one form or another, and the results have been mixed, with some succeeding and others failing.

T.A.P. Market is a new player that has entered the arena with something truly novel. It has created a produce, transportation and agriculture network of industry professionals who can connect and communicate through messages, posts and live chats.

“The way we are different is that we work on a social media platform, where you have to send a connection request and the person on the other end has to approve it,” a representative for the company told The Produce News. “It also allows people to upload PDF files such as price sheets and photos of product to share with your customers. Simply by pointing and clicking to a section of the map on the site — representing the United States and Canada — a company can choose another company listed and request to be connected.”

That saves valuable time trying to find new business opportunities. The same works for receivers looking to source new growers, shippers and carriers.

A unique feature of T.A.P. Market is the My Market option, which allows users to post product and truck availability to all customers simultaneously.

“Right now the way it works in the industry, companies may have some extra product or trucks they need to move and they email or call people to see who’s interested,” the spokesperson said. “But now with T.A.P. Market, they can post pictures with comments so everybody you are connected with can see it. It also allows you to break it down a little further, to type of company [foodservice, wholesale or processor] and you can also exclude certain companies from seeing the post altogether.”

For example, a grower-shipper or carrier that sells a commodity and has more availability to move, can post it in My Market. If you don’t want a specific company to see the post, you can simply click on the company’s name and exclude them from seeing your post or pricing. Also, other companies cannot view whom you are connected to.

“There are a lot of security features like that built into the software,” the spokesperson said. “We hope to form a community within the industry by increasing communication between grower-shippers and customers, while educating the new buyers coming into the industry.”

Another unique feature is that the site offers three usernames and three passwords, and all work in tandem with each other. An account can be a company or a department within the company. Users can set up as many accounts as they need, such as for the fruit department, vegetable department or trucking department.

The genesis of the company came when the owner was talking to various business owners and noticed a lot more people wanting to do business directly. This is simply a tool to help people accomplish just that.

“The industry is going in a direction where people are cutting out the middleman,” the spokesperson said. “Also, we live in a society where we lean toward the Internet to do everything for us. The produce and agriculture industry have yet to fully take advantage of that advancement.”

The site launched in September and is still in its infancy, but dozens of companies have already signed on and the numbers are growing every day. Everything is free and open to all. For more information, visit www.tapmarket.com.