LocalMart
LocalMart User's Manual   

Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Structure of LocalMart
3. The LocalMart-YourTown Social Networking Site
4. The LocalMart Store
  4A. Login
  4B. Store Structure
  4C. Your Customer Profile Information
  4D. Test transaction
  4E. Setting up as a Provider
  4F. Adding Products to the Store
  4G. Modifying or Deleting Products in Your Store
5. Appendix
5A. Adding Photos or Images to the LocalMart Store

1. Introduction
Welcome to LocalMart where members of the your community can provide and purchase locally produced sustainable goods and services.  We aim to not only increase the sustainability and self sufficiency of our local communities but also serve as an example to others of how local commitment to the cause of sustainability can improve quality of life today while leaving behind a better world for those who follow tomorrow.

This manual is written for all LocalMart affiliates, and so LocalMart-YourTown will refer to the local affiliate where you are a member (e.g. LocalMart-Berkeley, LocalMart-Venice).  LocalMart-YourTown consists of two online elements.  The first is a social networking site where members can learn of LocalMart-YourTown news and events, set up their own page with photo and personal information (viewable only by other members), easily communicate with other members, start or join groups (e.g. Sustainable Food Group, Sustainable Clothing Group), start or participate in blogs, and otherwise achieve a greater sense of community while participating in local sustainable commerce.

The other element is the LocalMart-YourTown online store.  It is on this site where member/providers (providers) can list and display their products and services and where member/customers (customers) can make purchases and otherwise interact with the providers. 

We believe that the features of LocalMart make it a unique means of enabling the transition toward local sustainability and self sufficiency, and that these features go way beyond the goals and capabilities of "shop local" campaigns, barter clubs, local currencies or other singular efforts to promote local commerce.  Some of these features are:

  • Members only site with simple application process
  • Sustainability criteria for products and services offered
  • Uses a social networking platform (like Facebook, MySpace) to personalize and facilitate member communication and build a sense of community
  • No sign up fees
  • No transaction fees for purchases - does not use credit or debit cards or PayPal for purchase transactions.  Members who are providers and whose revenues balance purchases, can transact business indefinitely without transaction fees.  
  • Uses its own MartMoney currency, convertible back into the local currency (e.g. dollars), enabling the elimination of transaction fees.
  • Encourages members to be providers of sustainable goods and services and not just consumers.  (Even seemingly insignificant products or services which members can provide with a part time commitment all contribute toward our goals and help to "close the loop".)
  • Assists members in identifying or developing a product or service to provide.
  • Operates and supports Better World Workshop, an incubator with the mission of conceiving of, developing and disseminating ideas for sustainable products and services that can be produced on a local level with the objective of furthering local sustainability and self sufficiency. 
  • Operates and supports Micro Lending Network
    (www.microlendingnetwork.org) - an organization with the mission of making alternative currency microloans to eligible individuals or businesses that are developing or producing sustainable products or services that can be offered on a local level through LocalMart affiliates. 
      
  • Operates LocalMart e-commerce store for online transactions, giving Member/Providers a web presence for their products and services with easy set-up process, and assistance, and with no need for credit/debit card merchant accounts.
  • Capability of in-person purchases, or MartMoney transfers, payments, loans or advances using mobile phones.

2. Structure of LocalMart
LocalMart (localmart.net) is an umbrella organization that is setting up a network of local affiliates - e.g.
                       LocalMart-YourTown.com
                       LocalMart-NearbyTown.com
                       LocalMart-FarAwayTownInYourCountry.com
                       LocalMart-FarAwayTownInAnotherCountry.com
(Note that localmart has a .net suffix and that the local affiliates have a .com suffix.)
Each local affiliate is run by a local administrator who operates the local site, reviews applications for memberships and assists members to become providers by identifying or developing suitable sustainable products or services to offer.  The local administrator also assists providers in setting up their sites in the LocalMart store, and sells advertising to providers.  The local administrator receives compensation from this advertising revenue.

LocalMart.net sets up the local affiliates, assists the local administrators, develops ideas for sustainable products and services and promotes the LocalMart concept.  Importantly, LocalMart processes transactions and maintains MartMoney account balances for all members of all local affiliates.  LocalMart receives revenue from the franchising of local affiliates, from sharing of local affiliate advertising revenue, and from fees charged if and when members convert their MartMoney back to the local currency (e.g. dollars).

3. The LocalMart-YourTown Social Networking Site
When you signed up for LocalMart-YourTown, you provided an email address and password.  Go to LocalMart-YourTown.com (substitute your local affiliate name for "Your Town") and Sign In (box in upper right).  You will be directed to the main page.  Click on the "My Page" tab at the top.  Here you can add personal information such as your photo and take advantage of the many features on the page.  In the upper right of "My Page" you will see a "Settings" link.  Click on it and on the left side you will see a "Privacy" link.  You might wish to change some of your privacy settings.  (Note: Since this is a members only site, "Anyone" is the same as "Members".)  Also, on "My Page" you will see a Text Box.  Click on the "Edit" button and you will be prompted to add a title to a text box which you can use to add information about yourself.  Some members use the title "My Sustainability Footprint" and in the text portion of the box, detail various steps that they have taken toward sustainability.  For example, steps taken to grow your own food, reduce energy consumption, reduce automobile usage, recycle or compost are examples of such actions.  The text space can also be used to describe a product or service that you are offering on LocalMart. 

Now click on the "Main" tab and this will take you back to the main page where you can familiarize yourself with the other tabs at the top, and links throughout the body.

4. The LocalMart Store
4A. Login

In the left column near the top of the main page of localmart-YourTown.com, you will see a link - "Proceed to shop on LocalMart".  Click on the link and the LocalMart e-commerce store should appear.  (You may want to save its address as a Favorite or Bookmark.)
 
After receiving an email approving your membership, you should have received another email with your Member ID#, a 10 digit number (which you had the option of choosing yourself, such as a telephone number).  The email also contained your temporary PIN.  (You may wish to print a copy of that email and indicate the new PIN that you will choose, file the email copy in a secure place for future reference, and treat it with the same importance as bank account login information.)  On the right side of the screen in the "Authentication" box, enter your Member ID# and temporary PIN and click on "Login".  You should then be prompted to enter a new PIN.  Your new PIN must be all digits, and at least 4 digits is recommended for security purposes.  Upon successful Login, note that in the same "Authentication" box, your MartCard balance should appear. For the purposes of testing and evaluation, you should have been credited with M$100. (i.e. 100 MartDollars) which can be used to purchase test products and services.  (These MartDollars are not redeemable back into dollars, and any balance will be removed upon completion of the test phase.) 


4B. Store Structure
Note the "Categories" box in the upper left of the screen.  The first category should be LocalMart-YourTown which is the store where you can find products and services for your local affiliate.  LocalMart also allows every member to shop in the store of every affiliate in your country, and the second category - "All LocalMart Products and Services, Sorted by Proximity to You" is a listing where, for a given product or service, you can determine its origination point relative to you.  The third category, "All U.S. Affiliates" displays all LocalMart affiliates in a hierarchy, beginning with state or region, then sub region, sub-sub region and then local affiliate. 

4C. Your Customer Profile Information
Note the "Your Cart" box in the upper right of the screen.  Click on the "Modify Profile" link and a screen will then display with generic profile information which you should now update.  BE SURE TO NOW CLICK "SAVE" AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN.   

4D. Test Transaction
You can now try a test transaction.  Click on the LocalMart-YourTown link in the Categories box in the upper left of the screen and then click on any of the categories that displays in the center column of the screen.  Keep clicking until a product or service displays.  Choose any item, choose a quantity and click "Buy Now", and your shopping cart will display.  At the top of the screen, click "Continue Shopping" and then repeat the same procedure as before except you can choose a different item and quantity.  (Be sure not to purchase items whose total will exceed your MartCard balance.)  When you are finished, click on the "Checkout" button at the bottom of the shopping cart screen, review your order, and note the order total.  Then click on the "Submit order" button at the bottom of the screen.  A message should appear that the transaction was successful and you should then receive an email with an invoice for the transaction.  Now click on the "Home" tab at the top of the screen and look at the Authentication box.  Your MartCard balance should reflect the amount deducted for the test transaction.  (Unlike credit card or other traditional payment methods, the provider received the full amount of the transaction amount without any deduction for transaction fees.)
4E. Setting up as a Provider
If you plan to be a provider of goods or services, you must set up your provider information.  (Even if you don't have immediate plans to offer any goods or services, you may still set up provider information in the event that you might someday become a provider.)  Click on this link: Provider Link (You should save this link in your Favorites or Bookmarks.)  After receiving an email approving your membership, you should have received another email with your LocalMart Member ID#, a 10 digit number (which you had the option of choosing yourself, such as a telephone number).  The email also contained your temporary PIN.  IMPORTANT: NOTE THAT YOUR MEMBER/PROVIDER ID# IS THE SAME AS YOUR MEMBER/CUSTOMER ID#, BUT WITH A "p" SUFFIX.  Enter your Member/Provider ID# and temporary PIN in the Authentication box.  You should then be prompted to enter a new PIN.  For convenience you can, and should, make your new Member/Provider PIN the same as your Member/Customer PIN.

On the Main page of the Provider area on the left side, in the "Your Profile" box , click on "Modify".   A screen will then display with generic profile information which you should now update.  BE SURE TO NOW CLICK "SAVE" AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN.   

4F. Adding Products to the Store
NOTE:  THE FOLLOWING SECTION IS FOR ADVANCED USERS ONLY.  AT THE OUTSET (AND THEREAFTER, IF NEEDED) WE (LOCALMART ADMIN) WILL HELP YOU TO SET UP AND MAINTAIN YOUR PRODUCT AND SERVICE OFFERINGS IN THE STORE.
One of the useful features of the LocalMart store is the capability to give LocalMart providers a built in web presence for their products and services with a very easy set up process and no need for a credit/debit card merchant account.  You simply log in to your Provider account and add information about your products or services.  Click on this link: Provider Link and log in and then in the "Products" box, click on "Add new product".  To add thumbnail photos and product images, see the section "Adding Photos or Images to the LocalMart Store" in the Appendix.

After adding images, you now must identify the classification categories for your product or service.  This should be done with the consultation of your LocalMart-YourTown administrator, and no products or services should be added without this consultation. 
Next, you should fill in the Product Name, and then in "Search Keywords", add individual words which describe it and which someone searching for your product might enter in order to find it. 
Short description should be filled in (up to 300 characters (not words) long).  Detailed description is the description which is viewable when the "Details" button below the thumbnail image is clicked, and this should be filled in.
Note:  It is recommended that you first write your short and detailed descriptions using word processing software (MS Word, Wordpad, GoogleDocs, etc.), Save, and then Copy and Paste them to the appropriate box in your store page.  The store software sometimes "times out" and when you click Save, the content is lost and must be re-entered.   
If you have a separate web site that describes your products or business and wish to provide a link to it, the Detailed description box is a good location for this.  (You might also want to put in a link to your email address here.)  This requires the placement of some HTML code in the box and this is easily done.  For your web site address, copy and paste the following code into the Detailed description box:
<a href="http://www.YourWebSiteAddress.com" target="_blank">-Visit Our Web Site</a>
and substitute your web site address for "http://www.YourWebSiteAddress.com".
For your email address, copy and paste the following code into the Detailed description box:
<a href="mailto:info@YourEmailAddress.com" target="_blank">-Email Us</a>
and substitute your email address for "info@YourEmailAddress.com".
If you choose to add a link to your web site or your email address, there is one other detail that you must be aware of.  When the program sees the HTML code for a web site or email link, it then assumes that the entire document is HTML coded.  If your description has paragraphs, add the following code (including brackets) to the end of each paragraph: <BR>  (Otherwise the program will not recognize your paragraphs and they will run together.)  

You can now add Price and other product information and your product is set up.  BE SURE TO NOW CLICK "SAVE" AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN.

4G. Modifying or Deleting Products from the Store
Modifying or deleting products is similar to adding products.  In your Provider account, in the "Products" box, click on "Modify product".  In the "Search for Products" box, click on search, and a listing of your products should display.  Click on the product which you wish to modify and a screen will display which is the same screen as when the product was added.  Make your changes and click "Save" at the bottom of the screen.  To delete a product, use the same search routine as for modifying products and check the box next to the product that you wish to delete.  Then click on "Delete selected".

5. Appendix
5A. Adding Photos or Images to the LocalMart Store
In the section "Adding Products to the Store", there is information about adding new products or modifying existing products.  Adding thumbnail photos and product images is an important part of this process.  First, locate the photos or images (we will just call them "images" that you would like to display.  In order to upload the images to your store site, they must first be properly sized (and you may wish to do other editing as well).  For this purpose you could use photo editing programs such as Microsoft Office Picture Manager, AdobePhotoShop, paint.net, picassa or others.  If you use such programs which reside on your hard drive, it might be useful to set up a folder such as "LocalMart Photos and Images" on your desktop or another convenient location.  Copy and Paste your images into this folder.  Another approach is to use an online photo editing program and this may be advantageous since you can then edit your photos from any internet connected computer (and also store and share other photos as well.).  For this purpose, we recommend flickr ( www.flickr.com
), and these instructions will assume that flickr is used, although the editing functions are similar for most of the photo editing programs.  In general, you should, if necessary, rotate your image, and then crop it so that unnecessary image area on the edges is eliminated.  You also might want to lighten or darken the image.  Finally, resizing can change the image size to the proper requirements for the store.  For the thumbnail image, the largest pixel dimension should be 150 or less.  The larger product image, viewable when the "Details" button below the thumbnail image is clicked, should be sized so that the largest pixel dimension is about 400. 

To use flickr, click on the link above and click on "Sign In" if you already have an account, or else on "Create Your Account".  Then sign in using a Yahoo account (or sign up for one).  You can skip the step "Personalize your profile" (although you may wish to go back and fill this in later), and click on "Upload your first photos".  Add all of the images that you will need, set your privacy settings, and then click "Upload Photos and Videos".  When the "Finished" message displays, go back to the Home page and you should see your images displayed.  First, click an image that you would like to display as the thumbnail for one of your products or services.  The photo should display and on the menu bar above it, click on "Edit".  If, necessary, rotate it or change the exposure.  Then crop it to remove unnecessary image area around the borders.  Then click "Resize" and using the "Use Percentages" option, change the size until the largest pixel dimension is 150 or less.  Click OK, then Save, Save.  When the image displays again, right click on it and then click on "Properties".  In the address field, you should see URL address that should resemble this: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3304/3487630866_fbacca11be_s.jpg.  Copy the address, as you will need to Paste it.
Now go to the Provider page in your store by clicking on this link: Provider Link  and log in to your Provider account and then in the "Products" box, click on "Add new product" (or "Modify Product" if you want to change the image).  Under the Thumbnail box, click on "Change Image" and then in the "File on the Internet (enter image URL)" box, Paste the URL address that you copied and click on "Apply". Wait for the image to upload and it should appear as the thumbnail image on your store page.  BE SURE TO NOW CLICK "SAVE" AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN.  (Note: If you use a photo editing program which is resident on your hard drive, then locate it by clicking on "Browse" under the caption "File on your local computer".) 
For the Product image, the procedure is the same except that the largest pixel dimension should be about 400.

Contact Us: info@localmart.net 

 

View a LocalMart Affiliate Site  
Members only site but many of the features and links are viewable for non members
 
View the LocalMart Store
Members only site but many of the features and links are viewable for non members
 
Better World Workshop
An incubator for conceiving of and developing ideas for sustainable products and services that individuals or small businesses can provide on a local level 
Micro Lending Network
Microloans for the establishment of sustainable products and services that can be offered on the local level