Announcing LFM’s Newest Release, Version 3.4!

Customers love LFM’s new release, Version 3.4.

We recently released the newest version of Local Food Marketplace to all of our customers with some impressive improvements to different parts of the admin interface. This release includes admin order entry, increased flexibility for managing customer order windows and distribution days, and a brand new Report engine.

Here is what a few of our customers have had to say about the newest release:

“We are grateful that LFM continues to accept feedback and make user experience and logistical improvements to the software. Seems like it’s always getting better and the new accounting reports are a great example of that!”
–Karlin Lamberto, Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance

“The bulk order system is great (for our sales team), and is helpful on orders of any size, actually. Also, with multiple ordering days, the new search functions allow us to more easily see what is available, when, and from which producers. The best new feature, however, is probably Product Availability, filterable and editable with a single click – very helpful!”
–Mike Seaman, Idaho’s Bounty

New Reporting Improvements

We are excited to offer all of our reports with brand new filters, all exportable to Excel, CSV, or PDF.  Our updated Financial Reports allow you to see your key revenue and cost metrics with multiple summary levels. What locations and delivery routes are most profitable?  What customer types (or customers) drive sales volume and profit?  Our financial reports provide this information at the click of a button.

 

Reporting

We are already deep in development of our next release, Version 4.0, which enhance your customers shopping experience. We will be hosting a customer only webinar on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 10am pacific to cover what you will need to do to take advantage of these newest improvements. Stay tuned for more details!

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Google is Changing the Gmail Game

Recently, we’ve been alarmed to see 2 changes in Google’s Gmail that can impact your small business:

–        Gmail’s “tabs” mean that your newsletters are not coming into your customers’ main inbox

–        Anyone on Google+ can now email you – even if they don’t have your email

Tabs –  are you missing important messages?

If you have Gmail, you may have noticed that your inbox now has multiple “Tabs”, i.e. Primary, Social and Promotions. The idea of the new Gmail format is to sort incoming mails into piles: apples to apples, etc. The question is: does Google really know which mail you need to see?

At LFM, we noticed that our Newsletter automatically lands in the “Promotions” tab. This means you don’t see it when you open your inbox and you don’t get notified on your phone – unless you click on the Promotions tab. In the same tab, you’d find mingled together messages from Priceline.com, credit card statements and  listservs like the National Good Food Network.  As a small business, we don’t think that our relationship with you is similar to large corporations.

We know you by name, and we hope our emails provide you with more value than a generic “Earn Airline Miles” promotion.  You probably feel the same way about your own customers.

So here’s how it works and what you can do. The choice is yours – we just wish Google would tell you that.

With the new system, your messages are automatically categorized:

       Primary Messages from friends and family, as well as any other messages that don’t appear in other tabs.
    inbox1 Promotions Your deals, offers, and other promotional emails.
    inbox2 Social Messages from social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, gaming platforms, and other social websites.
    inbox3 Updates Notifications such as confirmations, receipts, bills, and statements.
    inbox4 Forums Messages from online groups, discussion boards, and mailing lists.

You can decide for yourself if you want any of these tabs removed. In that case, the emails in that tab would go back to the Primary category. Here’s how you move it:

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Click the + icon to the right of your tabs.
  3. Use the checkboxes to show or hide each tab.
  4. Click Save.

inboxstep2

Google Plus – how to email strangers

While Google distances you from your customers, it opens your door to strangers. Anyone with a Google Plus account can now email you, no matter if you gave them your email address or not. Who has Google Plus you ask? Anyone with Gmail or Youtube is getting signed up since Google forced the integration.

Now, of course, Google does protect your privacy:

“Your email address isn’t visible to your Google+ connections until you send them an email, and their email addresses are not visible to you until they respond.”

That means you can look up someone’s Google+ Profile, send them an email message, and wait for their response.

If A) they do respond, your email addresses become visible to each other.

If B) they do not respond, you cannot send that person another message.

But! And this is option C), the Catch, you can still hit reply on your own first message and follow up that way.

Our problem with this new feature is that it relies on good intentions. Yes, if you just haven’t exchanged email addresses yet, or if you want to reach out to a potential new business partner, it can have great potential. But think about your email inbox as the online version of your mailbox. Would you feel comfortable letting anyone address a letter to your name and have it delivered by the USPS? Personally, I wouldn’t.

Again, the choice is yours, but we wish Google would ask you to opt in – instead of assuming your consent until further notice. Here’s how you can change your settings:

  1.  Open Gmail. Then, click the gear in the top right and select Settings.gear
  2. Scroll down to the Email via Google+ section (stay in the “General” tab).
  3. Click the drop-down menu and choose one of the options:
    • Anyone on Google+: If you have a Google+ account, anyone who has you in their circles can send you an email.
    • Extended circles: People who are part of your circles’ circles can email you, such as a friend of one of your friends.
    • Circles: Only people you’ve added to your circles can email you.
    • No one: Only people who have your email address can email you.
  4. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

 

 

We believe…

Last week, I attended a Leading Through Change seminar hosted by University of Oregon Law Non-Profit Clinic as a board member of a local non-profit, Willamette Farm & Food Coalition (WFFC).  The seminar, led by Shawn DeCarlo of Oregon Food Bank ,  follows a process that helps non-profits and mission-oriented organizations get clear on their mission, goals, strategy, and ultimately their daily work.  As a first step, we wrote down a series of statements about our respective organizations “In all things, we believe … “  While that evening, I was thinking about the work that WFFC does, the words kept coming back to me in context of Local Food Marketplace and the work we do.  Coincidentally, a customer brought our mission statement to my attention a couple of days later and I realized it was time to refine our mission statement because “getting more food on local plates” just isn’t specific enough anymore.

The local food landscape has changed in many ways since 2009 when we started Local Food Marketplace.  Now, local food is being approached in many different ways – running the gamut of traditional grass roots fashion through venture capitalist backed endeavors.  The USDA has paid staff working on local food systems and a website dedicated to food hubs, and the Wallace Center is hosting its third national gathering of food hubs in just a couple of months.

Through all of these changes, we have made choices about our approach to the market, the customers we aim to serve, and our identity as a company.  We’ve grown beyond our early days of Doug and me doing everything to now having an incredible team to help us fulfill our mission.  We’ve updated and expanded our mission to capture the nuances of our company, our chosen path, and what we strive for every day.  We think our belief statements reflect who we are and where we’re headed and invite you to learn what we’re all about.