Creating a Private Ecommerce Department

Private E-commerce Departments are exclusive pages that are not viewable by the general public. To receive access to the private department, a visitor will need to provide a username and password on a login screen.

This is especially useful for wholesale customers, CSA membership customers, or any other customer types where restricting access is necessary. For example, if you have a group of people who receive special pricing, like bulk pricing for wholesale customers or discount pricing to a non-profit group, it may be easier to set up a private department for them to shop from, instead of providing coupons. (For more about creating coupons, read Making E-commerce Coupons articles)

This article will teach you how to set up a Private Department. Follow these steps to learn how. There are two ways to restrict access to a department, either by user group or by CSA member type (for Member Assembler subscribers). If you are a Member Assembler user interested in restricting access based on member type, skip ahead to step 3.

  1. Create a new User Group. This group includes all the Users that are able to access your private department. Log in to the Control Panel and navigate to:

       Administrate > Users > Manage Groups

    To create a new group, simply type in a title for the group that you would like to create in the "Group Name" field and click the Add group button. You can give more than one User Group access to your Private FDP, simply repeat steps 1 & 2 to create as many groups as you like.

    Note: The Users that are allowed access to the Private Department may already be in your system as a User Group (For example, you may have already created a User Group of your wholesale customers because you use it as a mailing list to send them emails.) In this case, you will not need to create a new User group, so skip to step 3.

  2. Add Users. The Users that are allowed access to the Private Department may already be in your system as individuals in different groups. You can add these existing Users to your Private Department User Group by navigating to:

       Administrate > Users > Manage Users

    Clicking on the User's ID# will take you to their account settings. You can add them to the Private Department User Group by clicking the checkbox next to the group's name. Don't forget to submit your changes.

    If your users are not in your system yet, there are a few ways of going about adding them, including sending a spreadsheet to the Farmer Support Team ( so that we can add users for you. To learn how to add users, read the Creating User Groups & Adding Users article.

  3. Configure your Private Department. To set up your Private Department, navigate to:

       Sell > Manage > Departments

    If your Private Department needs to be created, do so now by clicking on the "Create a New Department" link. After you have created your Private Department, click on the "Edit" link to restrict it's access. (If you already have a pre-existing Department that you would like to make private, simply click on the "Edit" link next to that Department and move to the next step.)

  4. Enable your User Group. Scroll down the "Edit Department" page to the “Private Access” section. As previously stated, there are two ways that you can restrict access to a department - either by user group or by CSA member type.

    If you want to restrict access based on User Group type, click the "Show Groups" link and this will show you a list of all of your user groups. Check the box next the the User Group(s) containing the Users who will have access to this Department.

    If you want to restrict access based on Member Type, click the "Show Types" link and this will give you a list of all of your member types across all of your Member Assembler seasons. Click the box next to the member types that you wish to have access to this department. When restricting access by member type, the system will require not only that the member be assigned to the proper member type to get access, but the member will also have to have their Member Assembler balance paid in full. If you don't want to require this, you'll need to restrict access by user group instead of member type.

  5. Assign Passwords. Users will need a username and a password to enter your Private Department. A User's username is always the email address associated with their User account. Passwords, in this case, are used to restrict access to only certain people, and not for security of information purposes. Online payment systems (if you are using one), like PayPal or Authorize.Net, have their own security measures in place to make sure that your customers payment information is safe.

    There are a few ways to give passwords to your Users. Read the article Assigning User Passwords to learn how. When creating a Private Department, you will most likely want to use the "Reset Passwords for a Group" tool. To set a password for your Private Department User Group, navigate to:

       Administrate > Users > Reset Group Passwords

    Enter your password in the two text boxes at the top of the page. Your password should be at least 6 characters long. This will give all the users the same password, however they will be able to change their password if they wish. If you wish to assign individual passwords, simply leave the fields blank, and the system will generate a unique password for each User. Note: If a User already has a password, this action will change their existing password to the new one.

    Next, select the User Group that you wish to assign the password to. This should be the User Group that you wish to give access to the Private Department. Make sure that you check the box to send an email notification to your User Group. Use the Rich Text Editor to let your Users know that they now have access to a Private Department on your website. Their password information and a login link are formatted into the email as well. Don't forget to click the Reset Password button when you are finished!

Complete! When the User visits the E-commerce page, they will be greeted with a screen that asks them to login with their username and password, in order to access the site. See below:

   Figure 1. Private E-commerce Login Screen


  • Remember, you can give more than one User Group access to your Private Department. Create another User Group or use an existing one. Just make sure enable their access and provide them with passwords.

  • If a User forgets their password, they can use the "Forgot your password" link on the login page to securely reset their password to something new and memorable. This process verifies that the User owns the email address that is entered as a username by sending an email with a link to reset their password.

  • If you are creating multiple private departments or simply want to streamline the login process for your Users, direct them to login at: (replace with your website's domain name, for example: When the User logs in, they will see a list of all department pages that they have access to based on their group membership. See below:

       Figure 2. A Logged In User with Private Department Listed

This login link is already included in the notification email that you sent when assigning passwords. Your Users can then easily navigate to their Private E-commerce Department by clicking on the link. This makes ordering quick and easy!

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