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End of the Year Update
Hi ALFN Members!
We hope you are enjoying the holiday season! We have some exciting news to share with you as we prepare to move into a new year.
We propose to transform ALFN’s online market presence by purchasing a state-of-the- art market platform and we are seeking member support to help cover the cost of purchasing and launching the new software.
ALFN’s board of directors made this decision based in part on generous feedback from many of you, ALFN’s members, over the last several months. We’ve heard your thoughtful comments and believe that each was valuable in helping us decide our next steps.
We’ve also done a deep dive into other factors affecting the market and our key finding is that the market is in steady and steep decline.
We need to level with you; our market is in trouble. We’ve seen an increased decline in sales over the last year that is very concerning to us. It’s only a matter of time until we no longer have a viable market. The decline is due to many factors, but mainly because our customer base and sales continue to dwindle in spite of our efforts to grow. Competition from other markets and retailers has increased tremendously since ALFN’s founding. Your comments identified our dated online presence as undesirable and frustrating for users.
Our efforts to grow the market over the past year have included: increasing our online presence through social media, offering promotions to customers, addressing product quality, offering more products like dry bulk goods, distributing flyers, pamphlets, and posters, launching a new ALFN website, and changing our membership fee structure. The only thing we haven’t tackled is updating our online market software.
And that’s exactly what we, the board, are proposing to do – reinvigorate the market by moving to a new online solution.
In this era of rapid innovation, our online market is becoming a technological fossil, dated and clunky. An update is needed to improve our customer experience. An improved customer experience will help drive increased sales from existing and new customers. A new system will also provide the board and staff with key metrics that are vital to making informed decisions for the future of ALFN.
Here’s a few ways a new online solution will make it easier to shop with us:
- Mobile friendly ordering, accessible from your phone or iPad
- User ability to sort products by attributes like chemical-free, organic, or naturally grown, increasing ease of selection and product confidence.
- More flexible membership fee options, convenient and affordable for weekly, monthly, and seasonal shoppers.
- Secure online browsing and checkout
- Simple online account management.
Over the last three months, we have spent many hours researching online market options for ALFN. We believe that we have found a good option and want to move forward with the implementation. However, we need to raise the money to cover the startup costs.
In this week’s email from Claire, we’ll have a link to our Go Fund Me page. The goal is to cover the setup costs and at least one year of subscription fees. We hope to raise $5,000.
- Support our move to a new market platform by donating to ALFN.
- Invite your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, even strangers to join the fun at our fundraising event at Lost Forty on Thursday, January 18th. Also, please share our Facebook event page.
- Show your continued love for ALFN by shopping often with us.
- Consider serving as a board member. We have several open board positions and are specifically seeking people with financial or bookkeeping or IT experience. We need your leadership!
Even though we are concerned about the future of our online market, the board is excited about the opportunity to renew ALFN’s user experience and attract a new wave of customers who will become as passionate about ALFN as we all are.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. The best way is to email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful holiday! Here’s to a successful and happy new year!
Chair, ALFN Board