This guide aims to walk you through the main functionalities of the Forager platform for Suppliers.
Some important things to note up front:
Forager is free for suppliers to use! This includes receiving orders, electronic payments, and meeting new wholesale buyers.
Forager is where you manage your product availability and prices, and where you will note any changes to your delivery or contact information.
You will receive all orders via email, which will be generated by the buyers with whom you are connected from their Forager accounts. You do not log into Forager in order to view orders.
Invoices are paid by your buyers via EFT (electronic funds transfer) and are initiated within the Forager platform.
The Customer Success Team is here to help you with any technical questions you may have. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any issues.
1. Your first login
When your Forager account is created, the platform generates an email with the subject line “Reminder | Update your Availability list on Forager.” This will be sent to whichever email address you provided in your signup form. (Note: this will also be the email that receives orders, so please let us know if there is a better email than the one you provided for this purpose.) This reminder email comes from a no-reply source, and for this reason can sometimes be found in the SPAM folder. If you do not have this email in your inbox or SPAM folder, please contact Customer Success right away.
Below is an example of what the content of this email looks like. You will notice that the email asks the question “Is your list up to date?” and you are given the options “Yes that’s correct” or “No, I want to update.”
This email is going to come to you every Friday, and it is very important because it is how you will access your account! By clicking the option “No, I want to update” you will be taken to your account screen where you will manage updates and availability changes. Forager does not require you to sign in using a username or password. To ensure ease of future log-ins, we recommend that you bookmark your account screen, or save it as a shortcut on your desktop. Should you ever have trouble accessing your account, please contact Customer Success for help.
Forager is compatible with most web browsers, however it does not always work with Internet Explorer. If you use IE as your primary browser, consider downloading Chrome or Firefox for improved compatibility and overall web browsing.
2. Setting up your account
You will notice that your account is broken up into sections, and everything is customizable. At the very top you will have the ability to add an image or logo of your choice. Below that there are 4 more sections: Updates, Business Information, Ordering Information, and the Availability Manager (AVM).
Please make sure to fill out every section of your new account at your earliest convenience. It is important for the buyers’ user experience that you provide a status update, fill in all of the contact info and “About Me” sections, indicate any order/delivery details, and assure accuracy of your product availability. Details about best practices for filling out this information are provided in the following sections of this user guide.
Forager is also happy to provide a 1 on 1 virtual training on how to access and maintain your account. If you would like to schedule a 20 minute training session, we encourage you to reach out to our Customer Success team!
3. Updating your status
Please make sure you add a message for your buyers when you first sign in! The updates section is a great way to make an announcement to buyers about changes in availability (new products or discontinued) changes in contact information or delivery schedule, reminder of your order minimums, or just a friendly message.
To edit this, click the blue button that says “Update,” type your message, and hit “Save.”
Buyers have a bulletin board of all supplier updates on the home page of their accounts, and will use this information to guide them through their orders for the day.
4. Business Information
The second section down is the business information section. To edit this section, click on the blue pencil icon in the top right corner of the white box titled “Business Information.” This will expand the section and allow you to edit it.
This is where you will provide your address, contact names/emails/phone numbers, and there are sections for you to provide helpful information about your company. Please make sure you fill out the “Contacts” section with your name and email.
Use the “About Me” section to provide information about your company, you, your products or ingredients, your history or mission, or anything that will help buyers get to know you better! This information is used by buyers to train staff, pass their knowledge of your company onto their customers, and help their marketing department find content for supplier spotlights and social media posts.
There are additional fields where you can tell buyers what you like to do in your spare time, and what your favorite local products are! Be sure to save any changes.
5. Setting your delivery schedule
The third section down is the Ordering Information section. To edit this section, click on the blue pencil icon in the top right corner of the white box titled “Ordering Information.” This will expand the section and allow you to edit it.
You will notice a line titled “Default Price List” with a checkbox for every day of the week, and an option for “variable.” This is where you can customize your delivery schedule for each buyer.
Your schedule will default to variable, but to select days of the week you need to uncheck “variable” first. You’ll notice that as you begin to check specific days of the week, there will be 2 drop down menus that illuminate which you may edit to customize an order deadline. The bottom drop-down menu allows you to indicate how many days of lead-time you need to fulfill an order, and the top drop-down menu allows you to specify a cut-off time on that day by which you need to receive an order. See the image below for an example.
This example means that this supplier must receive orders by 12PM on Tuesday for a Wednesday delivery, and by 12PM on Thursday for a Friday delivery.
There will be a customizable delivery schedule for every connected buyer or location. They will all have a unique line with check-boxes for each day of the week, just like the “default price list” line.
Please make sure that if there is any other relevant information that might affect the delivery of products, that you indicate this in the “Delivery Information” text box, and if you have any case or dollar requirements in order to facilitate an order, that you indicate this in the “Ordering Minimums” section.
Lastly, the toggle to receive a PDF copy of orders in emails will default to “off” but we recommend that you turn this on so that you will receive a printer-friendly attachment of all orders. Just click on the toggle to turn it blue. Remember to save all changes!
6. Updating your product list
The bottom section of your account screen is where you will manage your availability. We refer to this as the Availability Manager, or AVM.
If you have provided your product and pricing information in your signup form, you should see your full product list already uploaded into your account. Right from the main account screen you can change the “new” status of a product by clicking on the checkbox to the far left, and you can change the inventory status by clicking on the circle which will either be green or orange (for available or limited.) If a product is listed as unavailable (by clicking the circle until it turns red) the product will be stored in the “unavailable tab” until you mark it as back in stock.
Every detail of every product you see can be edited by simply clicking anywhere on that product line. By doing this, you will open up the Edit Item template where all details can be adjusted.
Managing your products
1. Adding a new product
Between the ordering info and AVM sections there are three blue buttons. One of these buttons reads “Add Product” and by clicking on this option it will allow you to do just that! When you select this option a blank template will appear on the right side of your screen. This is the exact same template that appears when you click on any existing product. Simply fill out all of the required fields and click save at the bottom.
2. Adding/editing an existing product
The first thing you can change is the inventory and you can do this in one of two ways.
By clicking on Manage Inventory, you will be given the option to manage inventory down to the exact quantity. This inventory tracker updates in real-time, and as orders are placed, the inventory will count down until it gets to zero, at which point it will be removed from buyer view so that it cannot be ordered. You can even set a notification to be sent when you are getting low on inventory!
Otherwise you can generally state that the product is Available, Limited, or Unavailable. If you select Unavailable, the product will be hidden from view of the buyer so they cannot order it, and stored in the Unavailable tab until it is back in stock. If you are discontinuing this item, you may choose to delete it instead, and this option is at the bottom of the Edit Item template.
Are any of your products a new or seasonal offering? Be sure to check the “new” box to indicate this to buyers! It will gain additional visibility in the first 7 days that the product is checked.
You will be required to select a product category from the drop-down list provided.
Use the “Name” field to provide a clear and standard identifier for each product. You may then use the description box to type up to 1500 characters about each product. The way you name and describe your products is important because it is what will define a purchasing decision! Here are some examples of successful product naming:
Name: Apples, McIntosh, 3lb Description: Organic certified, small apples in a 3lb plastic bag, cases of 12
Name: Cookies, Chocolate Chip, 8oz Description: Soft chocolate chip cookies sold in 8oz branded boxes, cases of 10
Product Code: If your product has a UPC or PLU code, please provide it in this text box. Some buyers are required to have a product code in order to buy them.
If your product is sold in a case pack (in other words, not in units of 1, make sure you check the box for “sold by case, bag, or flat.” This will then give you a blank box to type the quantity in each case, and select a unit.
Example: Butter that weighs 1lb each and is sold individually will not be sold by case, bag or flat, but if you sell the butter in cases of 10lbs, you will check this box and type 10 into the “size” field that appears, and select “lb” from the unit drop-down list.
The first pricing option you will see is for the Default price. This is the price that all buyers will see when you are first connected to them. If you are connected to a buyer, they will each have their own line where you can customize their pricing. If you want them to be charged the default price you do not need to type anything into their customer pricing field.
Please note that some of your buyers have a small transaction fee included in the price they see in the platform in the form of a markup. You will be able to preview the final price for all buyers by turning on the “final price preview” option. To make adjustments, you will need to toggle this off.
If you would like to offer a special price to different buyers, you may do so by typing whatever price you’d like into that buyer’s price field. If you do this, the buyer will only be able to see the unique price you have offered to them. Buyers cannot view the default price or the price that other buyers are being charged if you have given them a unique price.
Lastly, if there are certain products that you offer exclusively to certain buyers, you have the option to hide these products from the buyers who do not have this access by selecting the “Do not list” check box. By doing this these buyers will not be able to order this product.
Forager is not an App that can be downloaded onto mobile devices from an App store, however it is a mobile friendly site, allowing you to easily make changes on the go from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop!
4. Adding a deal
If you are running a promotion, offering a donation, or would like to promote a surplus of product, you can add these products as a “Deal” to increase their visibility to buyers as a discounted offer. Between the ordering info and AVM sections there are three blue buttons. One of these buttons reads “Add Deal” and by clicking on this option it will open up a blank template on the right side of your screen. This template is very similar to the general “Add Product” template, however there are a few additional fields at the top specific to discounted items.
First you need to let buyers know what type of deal this is by selecting from the following options: Surplus, Donation, or Promotion.
Then you have a field where you can describe the discounted amount such as: 20% off, 2 for 1, Half Off, etc
Next you will select an expiration date within 21 days, indicate if the product is packaged or cleaned (optional) and set the inventory amount to be sold at this price.
Once the inventory runs out or the expiration date arrives (whichever comes first) the product will be hidden from buyer view unless you add more inventory or extend the expiration date.
Deals will not be visible in the “All” tab of your AVM, but you can view them in the “Deals” tab.
Sharing your price list
1. Setting up price a list
Everything that you are typing into your account is being populated into a read-only version called the Default Price List. This can be found at the top of your account screen where you will see a drop down menu labeled “Price Lists.”
By clicking on the drop down and selecting Default Price List your browser will open an additional tab which contains all the details from each section of your account screen. The purpose of this page is to provide a quick and easy way to share your information and availability outside of the Forager platform. For this reason, some suppliers are able to use Forager as their primary inventory and wholesale availability manager!
2. Sharing your price list(s)
To share this information externally, just copy and paste the URL from the address bar into an email. If you make any changes to your account screen after sending out the link, these changes will be reflected in the link because it updates in real-time.
The default price list will reflect the default price provided for each product and the delivery schedule that you have set in the ordering information section for “Default Price List.”
You are also able to add additional live price lists to be shared externally. Between the ordering info and AVM sections there are three blue buttons. One of these buttons reads “Manage Price Lists” and by clicking on this option you will be brought to a screen where you are given the option to add more price lists. By clicking “Add Price List” you are simply duplicating the information in the default price list and assigning it a unique name.
After saving the name of your new price list, you will now be able to choose it from the drop-down menu at the top of your account screen. You will also see a line within the Ordering Information section where you can customize the delivery schedule that will appear in this price list. You will also be able to assign a custom price within each product if you would like the list to reflect a different price. Lastly, you can choose “Do Not List” for any products in the AVM that you do not want reflected in your new price list.
Price lists can also be deleted or edited within the Manage Price List section.
As mentioned before, buyers are going to place orders in their Forager accounts, and the platform will generate an order email which automatically sends to your inbox. This is the way you will receive all orders from your buyers over Forager. You will receive a variety of notifications from the Forager platform, these are listed below:
Order Changes -made prior to or at time of delivery
Messages from buyers -including marking the order as delivered, or order comments
Availability Update Reminder-which arrives every Friday and contains the link to get into your account
New Buyer Paired- If we connect you with new buyers on the Forager platform
These emails will all go to whichever email address you provided in your signup form, however you can add as many email addresses to the account as needed. Contact the Customer Success team if you would like to customize which users receive which emails (any of them can be turned off if needed.)
To communicate with buyers over Forager, simply reply to any of the email notifications you receive and your response will be sent to the buyer’s Forager account! Buyers will receive a notification for any new messages.
Payment via Forager (EFT)
Buyers will issue payments through the Forager platform which will be directly deposited into your bank account. When an order is received, an electronic invoice will be generated, and the approval/initiation of the payment is done within the buyer’s Forager account. Once approved by the buyer, payments will remain as “scheduled status” until 4 days prior to the invoice due date, at which point the funds will transfer, and directly deposit into your bank account. You will also receive email notifications as payments are scheduled and deposited.
The due date on the invoice will be determined by the delivery date, and your net terms. All suppliers default to net 30 when they are connected to a new buyer. If you would like to negotiate shorter terms, this is something you will need to speak about directly with the buyers. Forager is not the one to negotiate these terms, because we are not the one paying the invoices, although we are happy to help facilitate these conversations.
Electronic payments allow buyers to cut back on time writing and mailing paper checks, bring efficiency and cost savings!
As a supplier in the Forager network, you will have the opportunity to engage with new wholesale buyers!
To our buyers, suppliers can be defined in two ways: Connected or Marketplace
Connected Suppliers: This is how Forager defines any active buying relationships. If you are a “connected” supplier within a buyer’s account, it means that you either do, or intend to transact with a customer over Forager. If you have joined Forager at the request of a buyer or a buyer has indicated that they would like to work with you on the platform, you will be one of their connected suppliers.
Marketplace Suppliers: This is how Forager defines potential new buying relationships. If you are in a buyer’s “marketplace” it means that you meet the requirements of their local program, and you have indicated that you have the ability to deliver to their location, and scale production should they have the demand. This is how buyers gain access to a broader selection of local food, and you have the potential to expand your wholesale business!
You will be able to tell if you are a connected or marketplace supplier by the logo that appears next to the buyer’s name in the pricing section of your product list.
If you see Forager’s logo (green leaf) next to a buyer’s name, it means you are a connected supplier.
If you see our Marketplace logo (blue market) it means you are a marketplace supplier.
Buyers can order from marketplace suppliers the same way that they order from connected suppliers, however there is one additional step to fulfilling orders with new buyers on your end. The email notification is going to come to you in the form of a request, with the option to “Accept” or “Decline” the order.
It is very important that you select one of the options provided. If you select “Accept” the order status will change from “requested” to “open” and you will automatically be switched to a connected supplier relationship! If you select “Decline” the buyer will be notified and you will remain in a marketplace supplier relationship. If you do nothing, you will remain a marketplace supplier, and the buyer will not be able to request a future order until you select one of the two options. Also, if you end up delivering the product the buyer will not be able to mark the order as delivered or pay the electronic invoice over the platform until you select “Accept.”