Page 14 - Evolve Magazine Spring 2021
P. 14

Pick your own
voucher scheme
 With spring in the air and summer fruits fast arriving, it is time to think about how the fruit picking can be controlled and managed.
 The simple answer here is Merlin’s PYO Voucher System.
The system is very simple too in that you have complete control of the situation every step of the way.
Let’s look at a typical scenario:
Your fruit is ripening and it is time to open your doors to the public. However, there are still rules about visitor numbers and group sizes. You need to control the num- ber of visitors per time period, so that you have time to get them parked, check they have a valid booking, give them a punnet or punnets and let them go fruit picking.
So, how does Merlin help you in that scenario?
Here’s the actual process involved:
1. You visit Merlin’s online bookings platform and create your very own booking and ticketing website. You can use all your own branding, graphics and corporate identity so that it is YOUR farm you are promoting.
2. You then allocate the appropriate times when people can come and pick fruit. You also need to identify the number of people per session that can arrive.
3. This can be done automatically as, if you wanted 50 people every 15 minutes from 10.00 a.m. to
5.00 p.m. you could enter the session time, allocate the total time available and the Merlin system will automatically create all the individual booking
slots for you in a few clicks of your mouse.
4. You then have to decide when you are going to open and what days of the week you are open. This is also very useful as, if the weather is not very kind and fruit is not ripening as expected, then it is very
easy to remove days from the schedule until you have enough fruit again.
5. Once this is done you set the price for the various vouchers available. This can be by both fruit type and punnet size as required.
6. The next step is to set up a payment gateway so that payment is taken when the bookings are made. If you already have a service provider it is very easy
to link it into the system. If you haven’t got a service provider then you can create one as part of this process.
7. Finally you need to link this new platform on to your own website so that all bookings will come directly from you, thus maintaining that link from your farm to the public. It also gives you opportunities for other marketing activities
and offers while they are on your website
NOTE: The system is very, very simple and there are also video tutorials available which will take you through the process step by step.
Once all this is done you decide when it goes ‘live’ and start promoting your PYO Farm to the public using whatever means you have available. Usually this will mean social media, so when you create your postings you will only need to link customers to your web site and they will automatically be directed to the booking page.
How then does it now work in practice? Here are the simple steps which a customer is taken through:
1. They have seen your adverts and decide they want to come fruit picking.
2. They go to your website and choose an appropriate date and time from those available. (the system is being constantly updated by every booking so only those with vacancies will show)
3. Having chosen the session they want they will then choose the type or value of the voucher they want to buy. e.g. strawberries - £5 per Kg punnet.

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