Early Shopping 'Hour' for Priority Groups


The outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 saw a wave of panic buying by consumers prior to (or in the early days of) national 'lockdowns'. This left vulnerable groups and key workers short of food.

Below is a step-by-step guide to enable selected customers (you may choose as a business for this to just be people you know to be over 80 years or perhaps include key workers as well) to shop before others and hence get the first choice of products (should they run out later in your order cycle).

The process uses the Customer Management feature which is described in full here.

Your enterprise will need to be registered as a Hub on the OFN platform to add tags to Order Cycles, as described below.


  • Set up a policy as a business on which group(s) you would like to offer this service to.

  • Keep a record of the customer’s name and the email address linked to their OFN account.

  • Login to your business OFN account and visit Customers page.

  • Use the ‘Quick Search’ box to identify if the person has shopped with you before.

  • If their email address doesn’t appear then click + New Customer and add their address.

  • In the ‘tags’ column type in ‘priority’ for that customer.

  • Visit your Order Cycles page. Set up your next order cycle as you normally would: opening and closing time being those you would like to offer to all customers.

  • Copy this order cycle.

  • Change the name of the copied order cycle by adding the appendix ‘early’.

  • Change the opening time to an hour/day (your choice) before that of the normal order cycle and the closing time to that of the opening time for your regular shopping.

On page 3 of the ‘Early’ order cycle add ‘priority’ into the tags section:

  • Visit your Enterprise -> Settings page and select ‘Tag Rules’ from the left hand menu. Set up the following Tag rules:

Default: Order Cycles tagged ‘priority’ are not visible. For Customers tagged ‘priority’, Order Cycles tagged ‘priority’ are visible.

Bingo! Your shop front will be open early for a subset of your customers only.

Remember that you will need to notify your suppliers about orders generated in both order cycles each week

You might also like to: Add a message to your customers on your shop Notice page.

Don’t forget to edit your ‘Shopfront Message’ (found from Enterprises -> Settings -> Shop Preferences) to invite new elderly/vulnerable/keyworker customers to contact you so they can be prioritised.

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