Order Cycles (for Producers)

Last updated 2 months ago

*Not a producer? Go to Order Cycles for hubs.

In Open Food Network, Order Cycles are where shop managers open their shop. This involves selecting which of their products are in stock, what fees are applied and what dates the shop will open and close.

Many producers, who are selling small quantities of products, may find it useful to have an order cycle that is perpetually open, and to fulfill orders individually, as they are placed. Other producers, who sell large quantities of products, to multiple customers, find it useful to establish periodic order cycles, which are collectively fulfilled at the end of a period. For instance, a farmer may have an order cycle which is open (accepting orders) for two weeks. At the end of this order cycle, all of the orders are packed, sorted and distributed at the same time. Once this batch of orders has been fulfilled, a new order cycle is opened. Structuring order cycles in this way can make the tasks of packing and delivering orders more efficient.

Access Order Cycles

Access Order Cycles from the blue horizontal menu at the top of the page.

Note you cannot create an order cycle until you have set up shipping and payment methods.

Create a New Order Cycle

Name (required): Choose a name for this order cycle. This will only be visible to you, so it can be named anything which is meaningful for you. We recommend that you follow a consistent naming protocol e.g FoodHub_Week27_2014.

Orders Open: This is the date at which your OFN store will be open, and start to accept orders.

Orders Close: This is the date when your OFN store will close, and stop accepting orders. If you intend to have an order cycle which is continuously open, select a close date which is well into the future.

Ready for (ie Date/Time) (required): This box tells the customer when their order will be ready for either collection or delivery. If your order cycle is a perpetual one, which fulfills orders on an individual basis rather then in bulk, you should enter something like ‘Two days after order is received’. You can also put information about your delivery methods in your ‘shopfront message’. The example below shows how ‘Friday 9th’ is displayed in a store.

The note is also shown at check out, when the customer selects their shipping method (see below) and is included in the order confirmation email.

Customer Instructions (Pick-Up Instructions): This message will be included in the customer’s order confirmation email, below the message that corresponds to their chosen shipping method (see below). This note is designed to only be visible to customers, so you can include more sensitive information like addresses, or phone numbers etc. See below for an example of the order confirmation email.

Products: You must select the products which will be visible in your online store during this order cycle. Remember, if you add new products after an order cycle is underway, you will need to select them here.

Fees: There is the option of adding a coordinator fee. Here you can apply an enterprise fee that has been created for your enterprise. This function is most relevant to producers and hubs who are working in partnership. It allows an administration fee to be distributed to the party who is responsible for coordinating orders. Most often, this is not relevant to single producers selling their own products.

Open the shopfront

Click Create to save this order cycle.

*Note When you create an order cycle, and the opening and closing dates fall either side of the present, a shopfront will become live on the homepage. If you are not ready to have your store open, temporarily put the opening and closing dates in the past (this can be edited when you are ready to open).

For periodic, repetitive order cycles, you can copy an existing order cycle and change the dates, to make the process quicker. See below.

Note: It might be tempting to use the same OC all the time, and simply update the dates each time you reopen it. However, it's better to create a new Order Cycle, or duplicate and update an OC each time you have a new OC. If you always use the same OC, you will find that you can't filter your reports by OC. This can limit how effectively you can use OFN reports.

Order cycles will display as green when they are active, yellow when schedules for a future date, and grey when they have closed. When an order cycle close over one month ago, it will no longer display on this list. To view all of your past order cycles click ‘show more’ at the top of the list.

Advanced Settings These settings are relevant for multi distributor order cycles. See Inventory for details of these settings.