What is Wholeshare?
Wholeshare is a website that helps you get access to good quality, affordable local food by organizing group purchases. Consumers face two main problems when it comes to local and sustainable food. The first is that good quality food is often hard to find. Large areas of the country dont have good access to local foods. The second problem is that when you do find it, it's often at premium prices. That pricing discrepancy often encourages people to go with more conventional options.
Wholeshare solves both these problems by allowing people to order food online as part of a group. By shopping as a group, everyone increases their purchasing power. Your group places larger orders than you could on your own and as a result, it becomes worthwhile for farmers and other local food produces to come delivery directly to you and your group. Also, because you're able to go direct to the source you cut out costly portions of your supply chain, which means you save money without shortchanging the producers.
What kinds of products are available on Wholeshare?
There are thousands of products available on Wholeshare. Depending on where your group is located, we'll connect you with local and regional sellers in your area. Sellers on Wholeshare range from local farms to small fisheries to regional food distributors. You decide who you want to order from and what items you want to order. Not all the products available on Wholeshare are local and not all the products are organic but we do our best to give you as much information about the products as possible so you can decide what to buy based on what's important to you.
Where does the food get delivered?
If you're starting your own group, then you get to decide where the food is delivered. Groups usually get deliveries at a member's house, or a business, or a community center. If you're joining a group then your group probably already has a drop off point picked out (you should be able to find it on your group's page). All the food for the group's order is delivered to the one drop off point. Some groups do also offer home delivery as an additional service.
What is a Coordinator?
A coordinator is the person who starts a Wholeshare group. He or she organizes and runs the group as well as oversees group deliveries. By establishing a Wholeshare group, coordinators help bring better food to their communities and make it possible for people in their area to eat healthy food more affordably.
What commitment do I make by joining Wholeshare?
None! There are no subscription fees or commitments for joining Wholeshare. Signing up is free. You only order what you want, when you want it.
Are there any additional costs to using Wholeshare?
In addition to the price of the food you're buying, some sellers do charge a delivery fee. Delivery fees range from $5 to $20 for the whole group. The delivery fee is split evenly between all the group members who take part in a given order. Also, group coordinators can add a markup to your order. Coordinators do a lot of work in organizing and managing the group as well as overseeing the deliveries. Coordinators can set what markup (if any) they'd like to apply to compensate them for their time. You can always see exactly additional charges are being applied to your order by going to your cart page.
Are all the products on Wholeshare sold in large quantities?
Just because you're buying as part of a group does not mean that you have to buy bulk sized products. Many of the products offered on Wholeshare are sold in individual sized packages. The key to group ordering is that your group buys enough products to meet the order minimum for the seller (see order minimums). It's not necessarily about buying large quantities of any specific item. Of course, there are some products on Wholeshare that are offered in bulk sizes. For those items, we offer a unique feature called splits which allows you to share the item with other group members so no one person has to buy the entire thing.
Can I sell my own products on Wholeshare?
Yes. Many Wholeshare users sell products to their own group and even other nearby groups. If you're interested in selling on Wholeshare, please contact us..
Should I start my own group or join an existing group?
If you decide to start your own group, you get to organize and run the group however you'd like. You can choose where you'd like the food to be delivered and how frequently you'd like to get deliveries. You'll be helping your community get access to great food and at the same time you'll be getting a commission on all the food sold through your group. Many Wholeshare coordinators make a supplemental income from running their own group. Starting a group also means putting in work to build your group's membership and overseeing the deliveries.
You should join an already existing group if you're interested in getting access to good quality food at affordable prices and don't want want to spend time managing your own group. If you'd like to join a group, please contact us, and we'll let you know if there are any existing groups in your area.
How do I go about starting my own group?
How do I place an order?
Your group's coordinator will set an order deadline for every order. You simply add whatever items you want to your cart before the deadline and enter your credit card. That's it. When the order deadline is reached, if your group has met the order minimum, your order will be placed along with the rest of your group members' orders.
After the group order places, your food will be delivered to your group's drop off point (delivery times are usually scheduled for a few days after the order deadline). On the day of the delivery, you can go to your group's drop off point and pick up your individual order. Because all the payment has already been taken care of by Wholeshare, you just show up, say hi to the coordinator, and take your food. Some groups also offer home delivery on the delivery day as an additional service.
You can see a quick overview of how ordering works on Wholeshare by watching out introduction video.
How do I checkout once items are in my cart?
There is no "checkout" process on Wholeshare. You simply add the items you want to your cart and when your group's order deadline is reached, your order goes through. You'll get an email alert 24 hours before the order deadline reminding you to check your cart to make sure it's up to date.
What kinds of payment options are available on Wholeshare?
Currently, Wholeshare accepts Visa and Mastercard as payment options. In some cases we can also work with groups to accept electronic bank transfers and checks. We hope to be able to accept EBT in the future but unfortunately EBT is not currently allowed to be used for online purchases.
Are your payments secure?
Wholeshare keeps your credit card information safe by transmitting it over the web using SSL encryption, an industry standard in security. Additionally, Wholeshare never stores your credit card information on our own servers. We use a third-party credit card processor that specializes in security to ensure that your private information stays private and safe.
How frequently can I get deliveries?
That's entirely up to you and your group. Most producers and distributors that Wholeshare works with have their own delivery schedules. You group will have to work within those schedules but you can order as frequently or infrequently as you'd like.
Can I return items?
Yes. Items you are unhappy with can be returned to the seller. When the return is complete, you will be issued a refund on your credit card or a credit towards future orders. All returns must be processed within two weeks of the item's delivery.
What are order minimums?
Order minimums are a very important concept on Wholeshare. Order minimums are a dollar amount that some sellers require your group to meet in order to place an order. Having minimums is how sellers can make sure it's worth their while to come deliver to you and how you're able to get access to so many products that may not have been available to you as an individual. The only order minimums on Wholeshare are for the entire group, so there are no individual order minimums nor do you have to buy a certain amount of any specific product. Order minimums vary from seller to seller but they generally fall between $100 and $500.
What happens if our group does not meet our order minimum?
If your group does not meet the order minimum by the order deadline, the order will not be placed and your items will remain in your shopping cart. Your group coordinator will then set a new order deadline for your group to shoot for.
What is a split?
Splits are a unique way to shop which allows you to buy products together with other members of your group. Splitting bulk sized items or cases can be the most cost effective way to shop. When you start a split, you specify how much of the product you want. If for example, you're interested in buying 2 jars of peanut butter, but the peanut butter only comes in a case of 12 jars, you can start a split and order just 2 jars. Then, if other people in your group buy the rest of the product, it will be included in your next order. Wholeshare takes care of calculating how much to charge each person involved in the split.
Splits are a great way for you to get access to even more products and save more money through bulk buying.
What happens if my split is not completed by the order deadline?
If your split isn’t completed by the order deadline, nobody involved in the split will be charged and the item will not be ordered. You can choose to have incomplete splits remain in your cart for the following order, or you can have them automatically removed. You can set this preference on your account page.