Subscriptions feature 2.0

What is the need / problem ?

Within the UK instance we have received many requests from software users for a better subscriptions feature for the platform. Feedback includes that the existing workaround is clunky. We need a much easier and user friendly subscription feature for the OFN.

Who does it impact ?

Many current and potential users of the platform, it would open the OFN to many more producers looking for a viable box scheme function that they can use to deliver regular veg boxes into their local communities.

What is the current impact of the problem ?

Potential users have chosen alternative software instead of the OFN due to this perceived lack of functionality. In addition we have seen several large enterprises decide to stop using the open food network platform due to the lack of an adequate box scheme subscription feature on the platform.

What is the benefit of focusing on this ?

With the closing of Boxmaster.co.uk in the UK there will be a large rise in food enterprises looking for an alternative to switch to and the open food network should be their top alternative with this feature.

It would make the open food network far more useful to many food enterprises who want to use our open source platform but can’t because of the lack of this feature.

A more detailed breakdown of this potential feature and what might be needed can be found here

1 Like

<synopsized by @lauriewayne1 from Slack thread so as not to lose this valuable information>

here is the document with a more detailed plan. @lin_d_hop has suggested we find £10k funding to plan and design the feature before approaching additional funders to pay for the development work and we are looking for this funding within the UK at the moment.This feature would be quite expensive to implement so we would like to suggest that we could find multiple funding pots from different countries to make this a reality (if it seems to be a needed feature by many instances).I’m currently looking for feedback from other instances on your thoughts about this so I can start to pull together a plan/proposal for how we can hopefully make this happen + look for funding etc. If you have capacity to look for relevant funding pots too, let me know and we can swap notes & work together.

From @konrad:
Thank you for the initiative, @Patrick! @julian_p Could you have a look at the document and see what the needs in Germany for you and other users would be?

From @julian_p
Very nice initiative! What should I say from my side… i think it would be really good to have that function included in a way more intuitive way, I at least with my very small business would also appreciate it.
Currently we seem to get 47k € to prototype a way to use OFN as a self service solution for shops including door access system via the costumer DB, therefore we found the https://prototypefund.de/ which grants this amount of money for open source developement to small projects twice a year- could be a source for later developement.

Prototype FundPrototype Fund

From @Patrick:
That’s great @Julian Plagemann thanks for the info! I will get in touch when we get to the point of funding the development funders.

from @Karla :
his would be of use to our users here in CAN. We have had many potential users ask about features like this. Also current users have been using workarounds, but it can be time consuming and confusing, so having something built in would be ideal.

From @maikel:
In the meantime, which solutions do those enterprises find which suit their business better?
While we would like the OFN app to be the best, it doesn’t suit everyone (yet) and we still like to give enterprises the best advice which solutions work best for them.

From @Karla
We just had an user in CAN ask about using OFN for their csa/box program and I came across this doc that @tschumilas had put together last year CSAs and OFN - Google Docs

From @tschumilas:
In North America - the things we call Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) are in contrast with the things you call "Box Schemes’ in the UK. A Canadian CSA farmer will react very negatively if you call them a ‘box scheme’. Its because the core of the CSA model for us, is that the buyer SHARES the risk of the season (at least to some degree) with the grower. So - in terms of OFN features - for CSAs, the critical need is not enhancing ‘subscriptions’ (aka ‘standing orders’) as we currently have them (although I totally agree this would be super useful for lots of food hubs…). Instead what CSAs need is the ability to apply partial payments or ‘installments’ to an order total more easily with credit card or cash methods. This is because its important to CSAs that the shareholder (aka ‘member’ or ‘customer’) purchase the entire share or season and that this is their ‘order total’ (not a week by week amount). Its a commitment to the season.
Right now we help our csas do this via stripe… but gosh its clunky and confusing.