Once you’ve created a product listing for your share, your next step is to establish the “SKU(s)” for that product. A “SKU,” the “stock keeping unit,” is the standard identification of an item on sale, specifying the price and how to collect payment for the product. A product can have a maximum of six SKUs associated with it.
Before we actually create the SKU for a product, let’s look at the payment alternatives within CSAware. As the farmer, you choose the payment options that you’d like to offer to your members. For simplicity and ease-of-use for the member, you might limit their choice to only two from the following list of possibilities.
The available payment types also depend on whether you deliver year-round or have a defined delivery season. Farms that deliver year-round (using the “open ended” period) have three payment options available to them: “Recurring”, “Deposit”, and “Single Payment.” Farms having a defined delivery season (a beginning and ending date) may choose from among these three or two additional options of “Whole Season” and “Equal Payments”.
Recurring: “Recurring” will charge for one box at the time of purchase, and auto-debit the buyer’s credit card or cash account for each subsequent delivery until the end of the subscription year or season, or, in the case of year-round CSAs with no end-date, until the member cancels their membership.
Whole Season: “Whole Season” will cause this SKU to be charged ONCE at the time of purchase, and the subscriber’s account credited for the number of boxes remaining until the end of the season. One of the benefits of this payment method is that the purchase price will be prorated to the number of deliveries remaining in the season. If someone joins mid-season, CSAware will correctly calculate and manage the payment process for both the member and the farmer.
NOTE: This payment option is only available if you have a defined season, with a beginning date and an ending date.
Equal Payments (Installments)*: “Equal Payments” will cause this SKU to be charged “N” times on a regularly scheduled basis over the season (where N is the number of installment payments set).
NOTE: This payment option is only available if you have a defined season, with a beginning date and an ending date. This payment option is not available to members after the beginning of the season because it does not prorate the installment payment amounts.
If using this feature, you may choose to require members to complete all payments before the season starts. In this case, it is important for you to be aware of your target “registration ending” date at which time you will discontinue offering the installment plan option. This is done to avoid late registration access and payment timing issues with members choosing this plan option. Just before your delivery season starts, turn off this payment option by resetting the SKU status to “Inactive.”
The number of installments and payment timing: Installment plans can range from two to five payments, with the most typical number being three equal payments. The first payment is always due at the time of the order, but you can select between two different payment structures for the remaining payments. The default structures is for CSAware to automatically charge the member’s credit card for the next installment 30 days after the initial order, and every 30 days until all payments are made. The alternative is to customize the timing of the installment payment; if you prefer this option, please talk to CSAware staff about setting that up.
After the initial payment, future payments are recorded to “Accounts Receivable.” Details about the farm’s accounts receivables can be found in the Reports section in a report entitled “Installment Subscriptions.”
NOTE: If you offer installment payments, and allow your members to pay by check, CSAware will send a reminder email to members on the day their payment is due.
Deposit: “Deposit,” or trial subscription, will credit a subscriber for a specific number of weeks, and sign them up for recurring billing after these credits are used. With the “Deposit” payment option, product delivery and recurring billing will continue until the member cancels their subscription. The member must actively “cancel” their subscription to stop the deliveries.
Single Payment: “Single Payment” will cause this SKU to be charged ONCE at the time of purchase, and the subscriber’s account is credited for the given number of boxes. This option is not able to be automatically prorated if a member starts mid-season. With the “Single Payment” payment option, product delivery will stop on the last delivery date of their subscription. The member must actively “renew” their subscription to continue receiving the deliveries.