Member Assembler is so much more than just CSA membership sign-up solutions. Another great feature is the Ecommerce shopping cart that is included with your Member Assembler subscription. This feature allows you to sell individual items to your customers online. When paired with Member Assembler, it is a great way to offer 'extra' items to your members throughout the season. Sell those 7 extra watermelons you harvested this week or offer specialty items like soap, eggs, and bread every week in your Ecommerce store for members to purchase and pick up with their weekly share. This tool also works great for other types of box customization and buying clubs.
This article covers the following topics:
Log in to the Control Panel and navigate to:
Sell > Manage > Departments
Creating a Department & Adding Items
A Department is a page on your site where you items will be located for sale. Once you are on the "Manage Departments" page, click on the "Click here to create a new department" link located in the yellow box. This will take you to the "Create New Department" page.
Figure 1. Create New Department Page
Start by giving the Department a name and brief description. Next, choose the location of the Department on your website by selecting which menu it will be listed under in your navigation bar (for Small Farm Central website subscribers). Then choose the display method and checkout options. Finally, decide if you want sold out items to be listed as "sold out" or hidden from the customers altogether.
You may decide to create one Department to handle all of the sales for your CSA or, depending on your workflow, you may decide to create different departments to handle different ordering windows or pickups. Start with one Department for now. Small Farm Central Support Staff can help you create a more complex set-up in the future.
When you are finished, click the
button at the bottom of the page. This will take you to the "Edit
Department" page. Here you will see some of the details of your
Department including the title & description that you created
previously. There are other things to edit on this page that we
will go over later in this article.
Now it's time to add items to your Department. Click on the link entitled "Edit Inventory" at the top of the page. (You can also add items by navigating to: Sell > Manage > Items) Click the "Create New Item" link located in the yellow box.
Figure 2. Create New Item Page
Choose an item name and write a brief description. If you have a photo of your item in your Gallery, select it from your photo options. You can also upload a new photo by clicking the "Click here to upload a new image" link. (For more information on uploading photos read the "Uploading Photos & Creating a Gallery" article in the Getting Started with Website Tools section of the Knowledge Base.)
Give other farmers credit if you are offering their products in your Ecommerce store. Choose the Producer of your item by selecting a name from the drop down menu. You can also create new Producers by clicking the "Create More Producers" link.
If you have more than one Department created, you can change the
inventory details by clicking the arrow next to each Department
that your item will be included in. When you are finished, don't
forget to click the
Submit button! Repeat these steps
until you have added all the items that you would like to
Member Access & Creating Passwords
To make a few more edits to your new Department navigate to:
Sell > Manage > Departments
Then click the "Edit" link next to the Department you wish to make changes to.
In the "Group Access" section you will see checkboxes for each pickup location in your Member Assembler and any other User Groups that you have created. This tool will make your new Department restricted to only certain members. For members to be able to view and purchase items from this department, they will need a login/password. This is what a restricted access Department looks like on a Small Farm Central website:
Figure 3. Department Login Page on a Small Farm Central Website
If you would rather that these ordering pages be public (meaning
anyone can order from them) then simply leave the checkboxes blank.
To restrict it, choose the groups that are allowed to access this
department and click the
Submit Changes when you are
For restricted access Departments, your members will need a
username and password. The username is always their email address,
but you will have to set their password and tell them what it
To set passwords, navigate to:
Administrate > Users > Reset Group Passwords
You will have the option to either choose a single password for all users or have the system randomly generate a password for each user. Then click the group(s) that you have selected to have access to your Department. Customize the email notification to tell people that they now have access to a new private Department in your Ecommerce store.
If a member already has a password, using this tool will change
it. However, users can reset their password to anything they want
by going to:
"yourfarm" with your Small Farm Central website address.)
The email notification will also include a link to the login
page on your website. That address is:
http://www.yourfarm.com/login (Replace "yourfarm" with
your Small Farm Central site address.)
When your members log in they will see a list of all Departments that they have access to, so they can start shopping right away.
Another way is to provide your members with a direct link to the Department page by sending them the page's URL (Uniform Resource Locator). To find this, navigate to:
Sell > Manage > Departments
Click on the title of the Department and you will be taken to
the login screen for the Department on your website. Copy the URL
from the address bar at the top of the page (it will be something
http://www.yourfarm.com/store/123). Then, send it
to your members.
Remember: If you have a full Small Farm Central website, you will have a navigation menu on your site. The Department link can also be found under the navigation menu that you selected when creating the Department.
Opening & Closing a Department
At this point, the department is enabled and ready. However, you may choose restrict the hours that you have your Department open. For example: a Department that is open for a few days or one that closes the day before pick-up. At the start of the ordering window, you will likely want to send a blast email out to your members with the Mailing List tool to tell your customers that the department is open for business. (For more information on the Mailing List tool, read the "Creating User Groups & Sending Emails" in the Getting Started with Website Tools section of the Knowledge Base.
To turn off the department when the ordering window is closed, you may go to:
Sell > Manage > Departments
Click the "Click to Disable" link beside the department or click
the "Edit" link to be taken to the "Edit Department" page. In the
"Auto-disable Department After Date/Time" section you can set a
time when your store will "close" and compose a "Disabled Message"
that your members will see to let them know when the store will
open again or other important information. Don't forget to click
Save Changes button when you are finished!
Orders & Reporting
Orders will be sent to you via email and a confirmation email will be sent to your customer. You can watch them come in over email and then go to the Control Panel when the ordering window is closed to do reporting.
The Member Assembler reporting tools allow you to create a reports of you order information. You can also download your data to Microsoft Excel to do more processing.
To access the Member Assembler reporting tools navigate to:
Sell > Orders & Reports
Here you can view orders, search payments, even manually add an order yourself. The "Create Report" tool will allow you to develop a report of orders made during a specific ordering window. It will give you an aggregate total of total number of items sold between all orders and individual order information. This report has everything you need to pick and pack your orders. The "Export" tool allows you to export order and user information to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet so that you may do further data work.
Congratulations! You have just set up your first Department and have begun to offer your subscribers a more dynamic membership experience. While it may take some time for you and your members to get a handle on the new tools, there is a lot of time to be saved and sales to be made by using the Ecommerce system.
Remember: If you need extra help setting up a more dynamic Ecommerce store for box customization or a buying club, contact Farmer Support by calling 412-567-3864 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ready to move on? Read another article:
Welcome to Ecommerce
The Charges & Discounts Cookbook
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