CSA 'Extras' Sales or Box Customization with Member Assembler

Member Assembler is not just CSA member sign-up. We have the solution for allowing your customers to make weekly orders needs throughout the season. You can use it to offer 'extra' items to your members through the season. Have 7 extra watermelons? Offer them in your e-commerce store for folks to purchase them and pick them up with their weekly share.

Member Assembler comes with a full-featured ecommerce shopping cart that allows you to sell individual items to your members whether for weekly 'extras' orders of items above and beyond your normal share (like honey or soaps) or simply using it for CSA box customization. This same approach could also be used for buying clubs.

The following is a how-to and assumes that you are successfully logged in to your control panel.

  1. Create new department

    Create a page on your site that will sell the items under:
    Sell / Manage / Departments / Click the 'create new' link in yellow

    Give the department a name and fill out the rest of the questions on the form. 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. For now, just create one and we can help you get the more complex set up going later.
  2. Limit access to the department to CSA customers only

    Navigate to: Sell / Manage / Departments and click "Edit" beside the department you just created in step #1

    In the "group access" area you will see checkboxes for each pickup in your Member Assembler. Choose the pickup locations that are allowed to access this department. This will force a login/password for each customer as they attempt to access the department page on your public site. You could also decide to not worry about 'group access' if you would rather that these ordering pages are public.
  3. Fill department with items

    Navigate to: Sell / Manage / Items / and click on the 'Create Item" link in yellow to create your first item.

    Add item name, prices, and inventory. Repeat until you have added all the items that you need.
  4. Getting passwords to members

    Since a username and password is required for members to access the store, folks will need to know their password. The user name is always their email address, but they likely do not know their password.

    Navigate to Administrate > Users > Reset Group Passwords in your admin. 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 associated with your store. Lastly, customize the email alert to tell people about your store. When they log in, they will see a link right to it so they can start shopping.

    If they don't like this change, they can reset their password to anything they want at:
    http://www.yourfarm.com/login_lostpassword
    (Replace http://www.yourfarm.com with your Small Farm Central site address.)
  5. Opening and closing the department

    You may choose to have your department open for a time window of, for example, three days before pickup. 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.

    At this point, the department is enabled and ready. To turn off the department when the ordering window is closed, you may go to:
    Sell / Manage / Department / and click "Disable" beside the department

    Alternatively, you could set an "auto-close" time on the same page, but click on the "Edit" link beside the department.
  6. How do members find my department?

    If you have a full Small Farm Central website, you have a navigation menu and the department link will be put under one of those navigation menus that you select.

    If you are a Member Assembler-only customer, another step must be taken to have the customer find the department. You can link them to the department directly by giving them the URL of the department. You can find this under:
    Sell / Manage / Departments / Click on the title of department / this will open your public department page and you can copy the URL from the address bar (it will be something like http://www.yourfarm.com/store/123

    Maybe the easiest way is to direct your customers to the login page which is:
    http://www.yourfarm.com/login
    (Replace http://www.yourfarm.com with your Small Farm Central site address.)

    After the customer logs in, they will see a list of all departments that are available to them based on their pickup location.
  7. How do orders come in?

    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.
  8. Reporting

    You may choose to use our built-in reporting tools to get a report of orders made during a specific ordering window or you can download your data to excel to do more processing.

    To access our reporting functionality, navigate to:
    Sell / orders & reports / create report

    This 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.

See! It's not too hard to set up an ordering system for your CSA. It will take a few weeks for you and your customers to get a handle on the new tools, but there is a lot of time to be saved by using a process like this. There are also a lot of extra sales that can be made by adding 'extra item' sales to your CSA provided that works for your CSA delivery patterns.

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