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How to Get More Out of Your CSA Members This Year

Level up your CSA with Local Line. We all want to get more out of our members. Here are ways to increase your average order value and profits this year.

Nina Galle
Nina Galle

Feb 21, 2023

In honour of #CSAweek2023 hosted by our friends at the CSA Innovation Network, we want to help you level up your CSA this year. Getting CSA members is hard work – so let’s ensure we get the most return possible.

Here are a few ways to increase your average order value for your CSA this year:

Switch to a Buy-Down Model

Many CSAs today use the traditional box or subscription model, where all members get a weekly box of produce. This box is the same for every customer and contains a variety of different products depending on what is available that week on the farm. 

The subscription model can be a great way to start – no extra work during packing, but it has its disadvantages as well. A subscription model might:

  • Deter customers who do not like certain products
  • Cause customers to Feel like they're wasting product.
  • Give them too much that they cannot finish.

The buy-down model is where customers purchase credits, or “shares,” at the beginning of the season and then redeem those credits throughout the year for produce. Members are able to shop your online store week after week, and each purchase gets deducted from their initial payment. 

The buy-down model can help: 

  • Promote flexibility. 
  • Provide insightful data on which products are popular. 
  • Encourage repeat members year after year.

Leveraging data in their CSA

Just Farmin’ is a local vegetable farm in Liberty Township, Ohio. Steve and his wife, Barbara, have been running a CSA program on their farm since 2012. They were able to transition their CSA model from a market-style pickup, where full share customers can choose eight items weekly, to a buy-down CSA.

“Customers can pick out what they want from our online store week to week and then pay with their share credit,” shares Steve. 

“This model has allowed us to get a better handle on inventory and understand our customer’s buying habits compared to the market-style model we had before. We are moving more produce this year than any year before. This data lets us start planning what we need to grow next season.”

How does store credit work in Local Line?

The initial share purchase (i.e. $500 for a share) gets inputted as store credit into Local Line for each member. Every week members get sent an email to fill their box for the week. 

Once a member goes to pay for their order, they pay for their order using their store credit logged on their Local Line account. As the season progresses, their initial credit will begin to subtract. 

Some CSAs have noticed that customers will often use up their share before the end of the season, and will want to top up!

Add a Retail Price List

If you currently run a box-style CSA, i.e. members receive a standard box weekly, consider adding a retail price list.

A price list is your “shoppable” list of products that appear on your online store. 

Your pricing, pack size, and availability might change with each sales channel. Price lists allow you to offer different options for each customer type.b

Brown Sugar Produce Local Line Storefront

Here is an example of a retail price list. A few days before CSA pick up each week, send your CSA members your retail price list so they can add additional products to their boxes. You’d be surprised how many members order products on top of their boxes.

Take Teri from Brown Sugar Produce

Brown Sugar Produce is a family-owned and operated produce farm located just outside of Brandon, Manitoba. Like many farmers, Teri wanted to pivot her business away from markets and focus solely on her CSA program. 

But how would they ensure the same profits?

They quickly found that sending their CSA members a price list with additional products for purchase made skipping the market more than possible this year. 

Using their online store, they make $500 to 800 a week in additional income from their CSA members! 

“Local Line offers a lot of value to my CSA members. It’s easy for them to use, straightforward, and has simplified my workflows. I had never had a customer interface before, and it really was lacking in my business. Now, I can’t live without it.” shares Teri.

Learn more about how Brown Sugar Produce uses Local Line for their CSA here!

Creating a new price list in Local Line is easy!

To create a price list, click Add Price List and fill out the allotted information, such as the name, URL slug of the price list, and description of the price list. You can also specific payment terms for the price list, including the number of days until payment is due and payment options accepted. Additionally, select which fulfilment plans you want to be included in the price list.

To add products, click on the price list, and click Add Products. You can check which products you would like to have visible in your store and make adjustments such as price and available pack size. Any price adjustments made in this price list will not affect other price lists.

Setting up a price list schedule

Ensure CSA members are automatically sent the retail price list by setting up a price list schedule.

A price list schedule is an automated email sent to all the accounts tied to a price list. This acts as an automatic order reminder to your customers. You can customize the message and frequency.

Local Line Price List ScheduleLocal Line users who send a weekly price list schedule see 3x as many orders in their store, and their average order size is 53.1% greater!

To create an automated price list email, toggle on the Enable price list update emails feature. From here, you will be able to add a subject line, personalized message, and define an email schedule. 

To learn more about setting up automated price list emails, visit our knowledge base.


Get More Out of CSA Members Local Line Webinar

Learn how Corinna Bench, My Digital Farmer, gets more from her CSA members!

Sell more, increase your retention rate, and increase your profits! Sounds pretty good, right?

In this free webinar, we sit down with Corinna to get her best tips for making customers super fans and increasing your average order value.

Watch the Webinar!

Sell Other Producer’s Products

Is your retail price list feeling a bit stale? Do you want to add a greater variety of products to your offering? Consider connecting with other local producers and selling their products through your retail store!

Introducing Local Line Connections

Sell other local products around you using your Local Line store. Every Local Line user, farm or hub can tap into Local Line’s local food network to sell products near them. 

Farms, producers, and hubs can add other vendors from the Connections tab in the main navigation sidebar. Invite existing Local Line users to share their price lists or invite new users to upload their products into your store.

Local Line Connections Vendor View

How it Works

There are two connection types: managed and connected. A managed connection is where you (as the hub) upload vendors to your Local Line account. You oversee products, inventory, and visibility for that vendor.

A connected vendor or shared connection is when a producer already using Local Line shares their products with you. They oversee products, inventory, and visibility.

Local Line Connections Product View

Local Line subscriptions from Core and up have included vendor seats. You can also add additional vendor seats for only $5/vendor/month! A vendor seat is the number of vendors you can add to your retail store, connected or managed.

To learn more about setting up Connections, visit our knowledge base.

How does this work for your CSA?

You can use Local Line Connections to add additional products to your retail price list. Now, when you send your members your price list – they can select not only your products but also shared products from vendors near you.

If you’re a veggie CSA, consider working with eggs, meat, dairy, and bakery producers near you! Make your CSA shop a full-blown grocery store.

Whether you're starting a CSA this year or are going into your tenth season, level up your CSA with Local Line. 

Try Local Line for yourself for free today!

Used by all types of farmers and producers, Local Line helps you sell online, communicate with customers, and manage your business all in one place.

Start Your Free Trial

Nina Galle

Nina Galle is the co-author of Ready Farmer One. She continues to arm farmers with the tools, knowledge, and community they need to sell online at Local Line.

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