5 key CRM features in eCommerce

These are exciting times for the eCommerce channel; There’s no doubt. Every time the penetration% of people connected to the internet increases, the channels in which we can offer our products are numerous and the confidence regarding online purchases is increasing in recent years.

The negative part of the whole equation is that a sector as juicy as eCommerce also has an indecent amount of competition. And at this point, we can only ask ourselves, what can we do to make a difference and get loyal customers who will stay with us in the long term?

Well, let us warn you that although price is a very relevant factor in user loyalty, customer service is, if possible, much more decisive when it comes to retaining these buyers. And in this arduous task ,  the characteristics of  a CRM can be of great help .

What is a CRM and why is it so important in eCommerce?

A CRM is a software that is dedicated to analyzing and managing all your customer data so that you, as the business owner, can offer a much more personalized shopping experience.

The acronym CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager in English , which in Spanish means, Customer Relationship Manager In other words, what this tool will achieve is that you can manage the Customer  Journey of your customers in the most efficient and intelligent way possible .

The ultimate objective of the integration of this type of software is to increase customer satisfaction and get these users to buy again in our eCommerce. Something really important for the prosperity of our business if we consider that retaining a customer is much more profitable than getting a new one .

In fact, according to data from a study carried out by SalesForce , using a CRM can increase the retention rate by up to 30% , which will have a great impact on the ROI of our business.

The most useful features of a CRM:

But, speaking in a really practical way, what characteristics should our CRM have to manage our eCommerce business? Well, the truth is that the possibilities are almost endless, although we bring you the five most important:

1. Unify all the communication channels of your business:

This is something we’ve been talking about for a long time; It is no longer enough to have a simple website to sell our products, in the information age, you have to be present everywhere : WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and even TikTok, in addition to the traditional email and SMS

It is likely that if you use the social networks of your business on a regular basis, you have noticed that your buyers or potential clients try to contact you through social platforms , beyond traditional methods such as email.

A good CRM that is adapted to current times should include among its functionalities the possibility of integrating all these communication channels in one place, being able to migrate any message or communication that we obtain to the same ecosystem.

2. Create customer profiles:

Among the main characteristics to look for in a CRM is capable of collecting a large amount of interesting data from the purchases made by your customers.

For example, demographics, favorite categories, type of preferred product (more premium or cheaper), if they are a repeat customer, how often they buy, if they open promotional emails, how often they enter your store to see if there are news, etc.

In this way, you can create a complete profile of their interests, as well as their behavior when making purchases in your online store.

This data will also help you create profiles of the Buyer Persona who usually buy products in your store, something very useful if you want to adapt and customize your strategy to the habits of your buyers.

3. Personalized e-Mail Marketing campaigns:

As you may already know, at FreshCommerce we are lovers of Automation Marketing . This type of marketing helps you to fully personalize communications with your customers, with a minimum investment of time, since the entire process is automated.

Thanks to the help of the CRM features , you will be able to analyze all the data you get from the buyers who come to your store, and fully customize the emails they receive.

For example, you can put the name of the buyer, make personalized recommendations taking into account their interests, as well as offer promotions specially selected for them.

In this way, you will get your buyers to be more interested in the emails you send them, since they know that they will find relevant information for them. A win-win manual!

4. Case management in Customer Service:

Customer Service is undoubtedly one of the most delicate and important parts when it comes to electronic commerce. Users need to be able to trust that our business will respond in case there is a problem during the purchase process. And for this, having a good manager to deal with these incidents is essential.

Most CRMs have tools to manage service tickets that are received through ZenDesk. In this way, you will be able to have integrated in one place, not only all the user’s data as a customer, but also all the communications they have had with your business and incidents that may have been notified in the past.

5. Analysis of your eCommerce data:

Last but not least, betting on the integration of a CRM tool will help us to have a 360-degree vision of our business . This will allow us to make more accurate strategic decisions in line with what is happening in our company.

As you may have already noticed, these types of managers are focused on customer satisfaction. Something that will undoubtedly allow us to increase the satisfaction and loyalty of our buyers and, in the long run, will increase our profitability. Something that is undoubtedly the holy grail of any eCommerce business worth its salt.

Selling on Marketplaces I: benefits and drawbacks

Let’s assume that you are a novice in the field and that you still have no idea what a marketplace is and what it means for an eCommerce to sell on these platforms.

Actually, the chances are that you have ever interacted and even bought in a marketplace, you just didn’t know what these types of portals were called.

A marketplace would be a digital version of a market or a shopping center . In other words, the same space where several merchants sell their own products. Basically, a multi-vendor eCommerce platform .

The best-known marketplace in the West is Amazon. Although Amazon itself also has its brand and sells its products, there are thousands of sellers and stores. Even big brands like Nike have their own showcase within the platform and sell their products through it.

E-commerce experts say that the marketplace is the future of online shopping . Does that mean that traditional eCommerce has no future? No way! And in fact, maintaining your own eCommerce store and selling on a marketplace can be an explosive combination to boost sales.

In this first part of this series, we are going to tell you about the benefits and drawbacks of selling on marketplaces, and why the combination of eCommerce + marketplace can be a winning option. So let’s get to it!

The benefits of selling on marketplaces:

It is likely that at first glance the clearest benefit that comes to mind is the most obvious: selling on a marketplace gives you visibility and, therefore, can increase the sales of your business.

But beyond this very obvious principle, we are going to explain in a little more detail what it can really mean for our online store to sell in a marketplace:

1. Increase confidence:

Amazon itself is already a well-known brand in the world that has been in the sector for more than 20 years. Obviously, the trust it generates in Internet users is quite solid and may be greater than what you have obtained (or can obtain) on your own.

Regular buyers of this type of marketplaces trust that any seller who sells on the platform will meet minimum quality requirements. This extra security that the marketplace gives us by acting as an intermediary, helps conversions to be higher if we play our cards well.

This point is especially interesting when we talk about new online stores, without much previous clientele, which need to make a name and reputation. Starting by doing a good job within a marketplace appropriate to our type of product can be of great help.

2. It saves time and money for the business:

The time and money invested in starting a store directly in a marketplace is much less than for a traditional online store.

If we want to start selling our products, but we don’t have money to invest in a website and all the necessary digital sales logistics, a showcase like AliExpress or Amazon will allow us to start as soon as possible, with a minimum investment of time.

In addition, there is the enormous savings in human resources, and that is that many of the functions that our staff would develop in our eCommerce, can be managed through the marketplace.

Of course, we must bear in mind that not all marketplace platforms offer the same resources to businesses. This is the case, for example, of package logistics or Customer Service, which is not always provided by the marketplace.

3. Facilitates internationalization:

Another strong point of marketplaces is that the vast majority have a huge presence in various countries around the world . In addition, some offer shipping services with very attractive costs for businesses that, if they had to do them on their own, would be much more expensive.

On the other hand, it is the fact that these platforms are usually multi-language, and have Help Centers with agents prepared to answer questions in any of the countries in which they are present.

Something that would be very expensive to achieve on our own if we wanted to prepare our eCommerce for this type of international sales.

4. Offers a huge and varied showcase:

During 2020, Amazon generated sales of 386.06 million dollars , with more than 100 million subscribers to its Amazon Prime subscription. Etsy , a marketplace specialized in crafts, already has more than 40 million active users.

Aliexpress for its part, has found in Spain one of the most lucrative markets in the world, unleashing sales especially in recent months.

With all this data on the table, it is clear that marketplaces are a really interesting commercial epicenter for e-commerce companies looking to expand their business and reach new audiences.

It is also worth bearing in mind that there are specialized marketplaces in very specific sectors. This means that a good positioning on these niche platforms will ensure a well-segmented clientele.

The disadvantages of selling on marketplaces:

But make no mistake, not everything is positive in the world of the marketplace. The truth is that if we are thinking of starting to sell on these platforms, there are several negative points that we must take into account:

1. Competition:

Without a doubt, competition is the biggest drawback of selling on marketplaces. After all, in these types of platforms, comparisons with other sellers that offer the same type of products are really simple, so you have to strive to present the best possible value proposition .

In this environment, the price of the product is usually the most decisive factor for the sale to occur. Of course, buyers will always be willing to pay a little more if the quality is higher, so the value for money must be attractive to the user. Otherwise, it will be practically impossible for you to compete with other sellers in the same sector.

Another point that is very relevant within the marketplaces to be able to position yourself with respect to the rest of the sellers is social proof . And with that we mean all the opinions that customers will leave about your products in the profile of each product and that are undoubtedly an indicator of the quality of your product.

Studies that have been done on this phenomenon, maintain that 84% of buyers trust online evaluations as if it were a personal recommendation from an acquaintance.

After all, if two sellers sell the same product, the factor that will help in the purchase decision is precisely the buyers’ valuations .

2. Lack of control and freedom:

While on your own website you are free to choose the way your products will be displayed, when you sell on a marketplace, you must abide by the rules of the platform.

Typically, stores of this type require prior approval of any product that is going to be sold in their storefront. In addition, with regard to logistics and shipments, a minimum of quality is requested, which if not met, would lead to expulsion from the marketplace.

For example, Etsy rewards sellers who offer free shipping by providing extra visibility on their platform.

3. Commissions:

Obviously, selling on these sites is not free. Marketplaces take a commission for each of your sales. A point that is undoubtedly worth bearing in mind. For example:

  • Amazon.com: to sell in the Spanish version of the e-commerce giant you will have to pay a fixed subscription of 44 euros per month, in addition to a commission for each sale, which will depend on the type of product.
  • Etsy: this marketplace specialized in crafts has a commission of 5% for each transaction made within its platform.
  • Ebay: Products you sell through Ebay have a 10% commission, excluding shipping and handling.
  • Aliexpress: the commissions of the Chinese marketplace par excellence are between 5% and 8%.

Why is it important to have an eCommerce

Although simply selling on marketplaces may seem like a very attractive option, especially for new internet businesses, in the long run, if we want to have a solid presence on the internet, the combination of both is the key to success.

It is extremely difficult to build a brand image and a solid business in the long term, depending only on the windows of   the marketplaces.

Having  our own eCommerce allows us to transmit exactly those brand values ​​and philosophy with which we really feel identified.

Marketplaces, on the other hand, can be of great help to expand our business, and make us known in new markets. However, in the long run, it will be necessary to create a more stable brand image for our business to be consistent.

Read part II of how to sell on marketplaces.

Product Market Fit: what it is and how it can help you scale
  • Attentive to this concept: the Product Market Fit. It is not one of the best known, but it is nevertheless critical when scaling a commercial project.
  • As usually happens with those terms that we can find in an eCommerce Dictionary , most of the time it is only to put a name to measures that we take intuitively to limit them in some way and turn them into factors on which we can work in a strategic way .The PMF or Product Market Fit fits the millimeter with what we are discussing. You will see it as we develop it in this post illustrated with some examples of how you should analyze it.
  • What is the Product Market Fit?
  • We could complicate the definition as much as we want, but in reality it is something (in theory) as simple as finding the product that meets the main needs of a specific and specific market niche .This actually means that we have hit the mark and therefore the product we are selling is providing an optimal shopping and usage experience for our customers.As a consequence of this, we have a loyal, recurring audience with a very long CLV ( Customer Lifetime Value ), which leaves us with a higher profitability per customer throughout their entire life cycle.
  • Why you should think twice about the PMF
  • The first thing I’m going to recommend is that you be objective . We all believe that we have the perfect product for our target , but intuition or a biased analysis is not enough. It is necessary to be able to validate hypotheses with data and not based on intuitions or presuppositions.There is a certain risk when we take that sweet spot for granted . The investment can literally get out of hand because, instead of reaching the maturity of the product in its market, we will be focusing our efforts on attracting an article that simply does not work or, at least, does not work for that public at the that we are heading.Thousands of impacts, visits and euros thrown down the drain for not carrying out a simple analysis that validates our product in the same way that we validate our business model to be clear about its viability before investing.It is not that it is not possible to scale a product that has not found the Product Market Fit . But even if the results are increased, the profitability will always be much lower if it is not at this point.
  • How do I know that I have actually reached the PMF?
  • In reality there is no specific metric , you will have to start from an analysis as deep as possible of different aspects.We have already pointed out the first: the period or life cycle of the client . If your customers repeatedly buy that product, as well as updated versions ( upselling ) or complementary products ( cross selling ), and they do so in a sustained way over time , you are facing a very good indication regarding the Product Market Fit. One of the key indicators is that customer retention capacity .The level of peer recommendation and social proof would be another aspect to assess. In fact, by monitoring and improving the reviews published on different portals, it also transmits us first-hand a satisfaction indicator that we are contributing to the specific needs of the market.
  • You can also use other qualitative techniques such as surveys, tests user groups focus .. . These have the great advantage of focusing on discovering the “what” over the “how much.” They are a great source of insights that will help you draw an accurate vision of how you are in the market and what is the positioning of your product.This is not to say that you forget about qualitative identifiers and techniques . These data give you volume and are also highly relevant. Look at KPIs such as the growth rate , the market share with respect to your competition, the churn rate or withdrawal rate or the rate of returns that your eCommerce suffers.With all these variables correctly analyzed , you will be in a position to consider scaling your business with many more guarantees . You will know that every euro you invest in making it grow will be backed by a product that meets customer expectations and, therefore, you will achieve more conversions in a consistent way over time. 
Google MUM: the SEO to come

  • Something very big is brewing in Mountain View. His name is Google MUM and you should get to know him now. We tell you what we know.
  • The world of SEO never ceases to amaze us with algorithmic changes and new rules of the game.When you think that you are catching the rhythm, they give it a 180 degree turn and what worked stops working , or even becomes counterproductive for the positioning of your eCommerce.Not all the changes that are announced – or that are applied treacherously – are equally important, but MUM threatens to redefine absolutely everything related to searches.
  • BERT was the first step
  • Before explaining what MUM is and how it works , we must analyze how we got here .If you know a little about how Google works , you know that big changes are preceded by a sequence of previous ones that often seem minor or disjointed. Still, everything is related and marks a direction .In the case of MUM there is a predecessor that also has a short name: BERT .
  • In 2019 , an update of the core of the algorithm was announced with great excitement that was going to make the search engine more efficient through the advanced use of Artificial Intelligence .The work that Google had been doing for years with so-called open source neural networks was put on the table .To sum up a lot: thanks to its technology, now the search engine can interpret the language in a natural way and offer more relevant results thanks to the “ understanding” of the context and not only of the semantic framework.This is a tricky thing to synthesize like this, but now we’ll dig a little deeper into it when talking about MUM.
  • What is MUM?
  • Again, a friendly acronym for a complex concept . These are the initials of Multitask Unified Model or, in Spanish, Unified Multitask Model .As the name does not clarify much by itself , we will go into the matter with the explanation.It is a system that allows the search engine to answer questions using more resources , being more precise and conversational.To give that answer, MUM will be able to use text, images and even videos . It will analyze all the content that it has in its database, the context of the search, and it will not be limited even by the language , since it is capable of doing it in 74 different languages .
  • Read like this, it may seem like an evolved version of BERT, and some of this is there. But there is an important difference : although it partially shares its philosophy and its framework , its multitasking capacity makes it 1,000 times more efficient .If BERT understands the language of humans, MUM is able to encode it and create a complex and natural interaction : it speaks to us using our way of doing it and with the authority of an expert .By the way: speaking of authority : it is worth taking into account another of the historical workhorses that have starred in some of the latest updates . We are talking about EAT , an acronym for Experience, Authority and Trust and the driving force behind much of what has happened since August 2018. Everything is spun on Google .
  • How does Google MUM work?
  • Usually the best way to explain these questions is an example . In fact, we will use the same as those responsible for the search engine during its presentation last May.Imagine that you have a great love for climbing . You have recently climbed Mount Adams and are planning to climb Mount Fuji in the next few months.You have previous experience but, logically, they are two different environments, different latitudes and even the documentation that you can find will be in several languages .Today, you will have to organize everything you want to know and perform multiple searches that will take you to different pages and resources.MUM aims to synthesize all this in a single source , the one with the highest authority and the one that solves the most related questions . That is, we can say to the seeker: ” I have climbed Mount Adams and now I want to climb Fuji next fall .”With this information, the search engine will be able to tell us how we should prepare physically , what type of equipment we should carry, if we should ask for some kind of permission … and all this without being limited by the language of the search .Another interesting example they offered is image search . You take a picture of your boots and ask, directly to the search engine , if they are suitable for the climb you are going to undertake.
  • Thanks to technology such as Google Lens , it is not only able to identify that the image corresponds to a boot, it can also infer what type of boot it is, characteristics, brand and model . Then it analyzes everything and gives you an informed answer (can you imagine the potential impact for eCommerce ?).Still it has not been deployed Google MUM , there is no definite date, but everything indicates that 2022 will be his year.
  • Do you think that MUM will affect the SEO of online stores or does it seem something more in the medium term? Share your opinion!
How to create a good structure on a web page

How to create a good structure on a web page

Amistake that many make when they start to create a web project is to think only about the aesthetic part. “Having a beautiful and attractive design for my clients will help me sell more” they think. But it is not as simple as it seems.

Design is very important, yes, but it is also important to have a properly organized web structure so that it is accessible to users and helps you improve the positioning of your page.

If you are in the process of creating a web page from scratch or are reforming it… Take note! In this article we tell you what the web structure is, the types that exist and how they can help you improve your positioning.

  • What is the web structure?
  • Parts of a web page
  • Content distribution of a website
  • › Home or home
  • › Products or services
  • › Contact
  • › Blog
  • › Landing page
  • › Web policies
  • Types of web structure
  • › Network structure
  • › Linear structure
  • › Hierarchical structure
  • › Linear structure with hierarchy
  • Importance of a good web structure for positioning
  • › Web positioning
  • › Web usability

What is the web structure?

Let’s start at the beginning. The web structure, also called web architecture, is the way in which the pages that make up a website are organized and distributed . It also refers to how those pages that we have on our website are related to each other.

The information on your page must be easily accessible , otherwise the user will not find what they are looking for, they will be frustrated and will leave your site. In addition, having a bad web architecture does not like a hair to search engines like Google, which penalizes for these aspects.

Do not forget that you should not only study your web architecture when you are starting with your page or making small changes. The web structure of your page must be dynamic and always updated, since businesses change and evolve over time.

Parts of a web page

Within a website, we have three essential elements s structure that all pages must have: header, body and footer. This image will help you to recognize the parts we are talking about.

parts of a web
  • Header : It is the upper part of a web page where the basic information of the company is found : the logo, the navigation menu, search box, shopping cart, etc. This element is usually the same in all sections of the web and helps to provide the site with the coherence and continuity necessary for the user. If we speak in HTML language, the content of the header appears between these <header> </header> tags. Hence, it is known as a header.
  • Body or body : It is the central part of the page, and is located between the header and the footer. That is why this part is where the main content of the web is found. This content varies depending on the page you are on, since the content of a contact page will not be the same as that of the home page. In HTML this content is easy to find because it is between the <body> </body> tags.
  • Footer or footer : It is the last element that we find on a web page. Like the header, this section is usually repeated on all the pages of a website and in it you will usually find the buttons of social networks, legal policies, company telephone number, conditions of use, etc. As you can imagine, its HTML tags are <footer> </footer>.

Content distribution of a website

Each website is different and there is a great variety of sections depending on the content that your website may have. Next, we tell you the sections that we consider to be the main ones and that you must include to offer users all the information in a simple way.

Home or home

The home page is the main page of the web and it is one of the most important since it is the place where most of the visits usually land. It is the first contact with users and it includes the most relevant information about your business to show what your sector is, what type of product or service you sell, in which area you sell it or special offers to highlight.

For this reason, you must have a home design that is clear in which you highlight your main points as a company: a small summary of what you do, your best products / news, promotions and offers, latest blog articles, reviews, etc.

Products or services

A web project is not complete if you do not include a section in which you show in detail the products you sell or the services you offer to users.

You can do it in different ways, depending on your goals. You can do it as an online store (which is the most common) so that users can buy at the moment or in the form of brochures / portfolio presenting your products or services by adding a contact form.

We recommend that you break down your products or services into categories so that potential customers can easily navigate to the section they are looking for.

Contact

It is one of the most basic sections because it is important that the user can contact us. The three basic elements that a contact page should have are: telephone or mail, hours and address . Also, it is highly recommended to include a contact form. This should be very simple and that they only have to fill in the necessary and essential fields.

If you include more fields than normal, you risk them preferring not to fill it in. It is also very useful to include a map indicating the location of your business.

Blog

Although some think it is optional, at Palbin we recommend that your online store include a blog. It is a very important part because in it you can upload articles about outstanding news in your sector and it can become a source of traffic since it attracts users who browse looking for information on those topics.

When creating a blog, we make some recommendations :

  • Put a search engine. If you talk about different topics, the search engine will help the user to find what they are looking for.
  • It is advisable to organize the content through categories, which can be sections of different themes to improve its usability.
  • Create links to the products and categories of your store so that the traffic that you have obtained with your content reaches your products or services.

Landing page

Also called landing pages, the landing page is a page that is designed to convince users to take a specific action, be it filling out a form, making a purchase or requesting information.

Its content is of high value, since it wants to capture the full attention of users. It focuses on explaining the product or service you want to sell clearly and simply, relying on images, graphics, testimonials, etc.

Web Policies

Last but not least are the policies of a website. They include some such as:

  • Privacy policies : It is one of the least viewed pages but it is necessary since it provides the basic requirements of informing its users of the data collection treatment of the website.
  • Cookies policies : Cookies are data files that a web page sends to your computer when you visit it and that have various functionalities: maintain access, remember your preferences and offer relevant content.

To comply with the regulations that regulate the data protection of citizens living in the European Union, you are obliged to put a notice on your website.

  • Purchase conditions : If you offer products or services, your customers should be able to easily access your return policy and purchase conditions. It should contain the rules by which the customer can make a purchase, what are the conditions for it and the return process in case they need it.
  • Legal notice : It is a document in which the data of the owner of the website is collected and states that their activities comply with current law.

Types of web structure

Now that we know the elements and content sections that cannot be missing from your web page, we are going to review the most common types of web structure. Choosing one or the other depends on the type of business , but you should think carefully about which is the best for you since it will influence such important aspects as the user experience and the positioning of your website.

Network structure

It is the most inadvisable type of structure to use because from the home page you can navigate to other pages without an established order . Pages point to other pages freely, which can cause the user to get lost and have a bad experience.

It can be useful in projects where it is necessary to expand the information from one page to another, and the user has full freedom of navigation without limits. But to use a network structure, you have to do a very careful study of the content relationship to avoid confusion.

network structure

Linear structure

It is the simplest of all. So that you can get an idea, it is as if it were the pages of a book . So from a specific page you can only go to the previous or the next one and they usually happen in chronological order.

It is useful for example for topics related to teaching since the user has a fixed route , but it is very likely that they will get bored if the content is long and not very interesting.

In addition, it is the higher levels that finally have more relevance and acquire more authority for search engines, since they are considered as the basis of those that follow.

linear structure

Hierarchical structure

Most websites use this type of layout which consists of a tree structure . There is a home page that is the main one from which other sections are accessed, usually through a menu. Through these sections you can access other subsections and so on.

The main advantage is that the user always knows where he is located through the famous breadcumbs or breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs indicate the route of a certain page with some links at the top, with them we can know in which category or subcategory of the web we are. But this type of structure is not entirely perfect, since not all the pages are connected, the user experience is not ideal and makes it difficult to crawl the pages by Google.

hierarchical web structure

Linear structure with hierarchy

It is a mix between the linear structure and the hierarchical structure and takes advantage of the advantages of each of them. For this reason, the sections and subsections are organized in a hierarchical way (tree structure) but it is also possible to navigate linearly through the sections of the same level.

It is the most optimal for most businesses since the pages are connected to each other, so the web usability (UX) improves and also improves the tracking capacity by Google.

linear structure with hierarchy

Importance of a good web structure for positioning

A good web organization begins with its structure, since if not, it would be a set of pages stored in a meaningless website. Structuring your online business well is key to both its usability and its search capacity. Both aspects are decisive for SEO .

Web positioning

If your online business has a good web architecture, you will give the Google robot clues where to find the most relevant content and this will help it find and index the content, giving the appropriate importance to each one .

On a website there may be several pages that talk about very similar topics. For this reason, it is important that Google knows which is the most relevant so that the contents do not compete with each other and can lead to cannibalisations .

Web usability

The structure is necessary so that users can understand the web and navigate it without problems. This is what is meant by web usability (UX). If users are able to understand the objective of your business and find the information or products / services they are looking for, the chances that they will visit you again will increase.

In short, when creating your online project you should carefully study how the layout of your website will be. From Palbin we hope that all this information has helped you to improve the web architecture of your site and correct the possible errors that you may be committing.

If you need a little push to know if you are doing it well or have doubts when setting up your online store, we will help you. Our team of Marketing experts will guide you in everything you need!

What is Cross Docking and when should it be used?

What is Cross Docking and when should it be used?

Logistics costs occupy a very important place within any company, it is one of the most important factors to take into account in the production process and we must look at them with a magnifying glass if we want any company to come to fruition.

This importance has forced the development of new logistics techniques, with the aim of reducing costs, improving performance and optimizing merchandise management. Seeking to get the most out of the production process in the company, the logistics system baptized as Cross Docking was born by the experts who began to use it.

In this article we will explain how this distribution system can be used effectively, the most used types it presents and even the best cases in which it should be done.

  • What is Cross Docking?
  • How does cross docking work?
  • Types of Cross Docking
  • › Predistributed Cross Docking
  • › Consolidated Cross Docking
  • › Hybrid Cross Docking
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Differences with Dropshipping

What is Cross Docking?

Also known as cross-docking , it is a logistics technique that allows the distribution of merchandise without going through the traditional prior storage period.

In this method of distribution, companies receive merchandise from their suppliers in their own warehouses, treat it if necessary, and send it out to their customers in a period of time no longer than 24 hours. In these cases, the traditional picking process should not be carried out , in which the merchandise is placed on the shelves.

This system can be adapted without any problem to any type of merchandise: It does not matter that they are raw materials, components prepared to be transformed in factories or finished articles, ready to be used by the final consumer.

With this logistics technique, the merchandise only has to cross the warehouse docks, an action known in English as cross the docks , which is the English term that gives rise to the name.

How does cross docking work?

In any traditional supply chain, the warehouse plays a transcendental role, connecting suppliers (considered as ” supply ”) with customers (our ” demand ”). Since it is a discontinuous flow, supply and demand are not synchronized, and it is the figure of the warehouse that acts as a link, since it is in this place where the goods are kept until the moment of their departure.

However, in this system the function of the warehouse is completely different. Its importance is reduced to a place of management, where the goods are briefly treated and prepared for their departure.

Although there are several types of c ross docking , which we will talk about later, they are all characterized by following a common process:

  • First, the distribution of the suppliers must be scheduled . Thus allowing to control the time the merchandise will arrive, and prepare to work with it.
  • Subsequently, the merchandise will be received in the warehouse , being unloaded from the trucks of our suppliers.
  • The merchandise will be registered and reviewed thoroughly in the verification process . With the aim of finding any breakage or incidence.
  • If necessary, the merchandise will be modified (for reasons of packaging , breakage …)
  • And lastly, the merchandise will be distributed among the customers . Which can be other suppliers, or the final consumers themselves.

It is estimated that to be considered as an effective cross docking process, the time elapsed from when the merchandise is received until it is distributed, that is, the complete process, must be less than 24 hours .

merchandise management

Types of Cross Docking

Despite the fact that all the cross docking variants have common characteristics and similarities between them, we can find different types of techniques. Among which stand out the predistributed, consolidated and hybrid cross docking.

Predistributed Cross Docking

Also known as direct cross docking, in this shipping system the merchandise does not undergo any modification or transformation . Both the labeling and the organization of the products themselves are predefined from the place and time of origin.

In this type of cross docking, the merchandise is received and directly, without too much waiting, it is delivered from the corresponding means of transport.

It is the most basic model, and does not require intervention by the warehouse.

Predistributed Cross Docking

Consolidated Cross Docking

Also called indirect cross docking, in this model the merchandise is transferred to a packaging area where they are reviewed and adapted to the demand . Therefore, it is necessary for the goods to be handled and prepared with the requirements of the end customer, before being sent to the destination.

Consolidated Cross Docking

Hybrid Cross Docking

To conclude we find the hybrid cross docking, which is the most complicated system to carry out. This model consists of preparing orders with two goods: the one that was already in storage and the one received from the transport trucks .

Although it requires almost perfect coordination, it is undoubtedly the most flexible cross docking model , since it allows to face a greater variety of situations.

Advantages and disadvantages

Although the greatest advantage that we can take from this logistics system is the speed with which the receipt and shipment of merchandise is processed, it is not its only strong point. We found several reasons to develop a good cross docking system:

  • Dramatically improves efficiency and productivity within the supply chain.
  • It is considered one of the fastest and most profitable distribution models on the market.
  • It allows to evaluate the quality of the product in a simple way.
  • It involves a considerable cost reduction in several areas: warehousing, personnel, inventory and distribution.
  • It significantly shortens delivery times, and allows some agility to the supply chain . Saving therefore time in the dispatch of goods.

However, as in any other system we also find several disadvantages. Which should be valued when deciding to work according to this system or not. Some of the most important are:

  • Not all providers are able to deliver ready-made products for the customer to the terminal.
  • A high volume of merchandise is necessary for this logistics system to be profitable.
  • It does not allow too much margin for error if the amount is not correct, if you want to meet the deadlines with the client.
  • It requires spending a lot of time planning and coordination . It is not recommended to implement it in templates with few workers or with limited resources.

Differences with Dropshipping

If you have been a Palbin customer for a long time , or you are a true veteran of the distribution system, it is very likely that the term ” Dropshipping ” is also familiar to you, another well-known and particular logistics technique. Although similar, they are still two different techniques. Companies interested in reducing storage costs should only opt for one of them … But how do they differ? Is there one better than another?

The main difference between the two is that dropshipping does not require intermediate intervention . It does not even need a warehouse so that the products remain a few hours and are modified before the final shipment. Your provider sends them directly to the customer, you could even save the total cost of storage.

So … which of the two should you choose? Which one is the best? There is no definitive answer. If the objective is to get the merchandise to the customer quickly and directly , a dropshipper supplier should be chosen. If, on the other hand, the merchandise needs to be previously reviewed or treated for packaging reasons , without a doubt, cross docking is the best option.

In short, in each case it would be necessary to adapt to the needs of the company, and of course, the merchandise with which it works.

Internet has provided the opportunity to be able to sell to any point of the planet from the most remote place.

Internet has provided the opportunity to be able to sell to any point of the planet from the most remote place. Online commerce has had an exponential boom in recent years, causing it to be present in almost all purchasing processes , although the purchase is not finally made in an online store.

This has led to the need to establish regulations in the financial field, these regulations aim to control that companies pay adequate taxes in the country that corresponds to them. For this reason, the current European VAT will be updated according to the needs that have arisen over the years.

Due to the number of obstacles that exporters of products could encounter between European countries, it has been decided to centralize and facilitate the VAT taxation system. This change in VAT regulation was imminent because it is estimated that each year 50,000 million euros are lost due to fraud in the taxation of this tax.

In this way, long-term cost savings would also be sought for companies that carry out cross-border trade since it is estimated that companies make an effort of approximately 11% more, compared to those that only make sales domestically .

Today we present the latest developments in European and Spanish VAT regulations so that you can apply them to your online store.

  • Current VAT situation
  • Changes in VAT in Spain
  • › Reduce and unify thresholds in distance sales
  • › Appearance of the“ Single Window ”platform
  • › Marketplaces, responsible for collecting VAT
  • › End of VAT exemption on imports
  • Effects of the new VAT in the online world
  • Summary of VAT changes in Spain

Current VAT situation

More than 60% of the European population buys online, which has meant an effort for the European Commission to establish a VAT regime between European countries. Currently, exports between member countries of the European Community are exempt from VAT , when it comes to a transaction between two merchants or companies. For example, if a seller of sheets of Spanish origin buys fabric from a Polish manufacturer, the Spanish buyer will have to self-assess VAT in Spain, since the invoice will not include VAT.

On the other hand, if it is a sale to an individual, the VAT of the seller’s country of origin must be reflected , which will have to pass the VAT on to the buyer. For example, if a private user of Polish origin places an order for T-shirts today from an online store located in Spain, an invoice would have to be made that reflects the current 21% Spanish VAT.

What will be sought with the change is to facilitate the process in these cases to create fairer competition throughout the European territory and avoid tax fraud. This new measure has arisen with the ambition to get to perfect the VAT Action Plan , formulated in 2016 and which is being optimized to avoid distinctions in the financial and tax sphere throughout the Eurozone.

Changes in VAT in Spain

On July 1, 2021, a new regulation on online VAT will come into force due to the boom in distance selling caused by Covid-19. The objective of this reform will be to avoid loss of income from taxes and to try to significantly curb VAT fraud in Europe. In this way, companies belonging and not belonging to the member states of the European Community will compete on equal terms .

These changes established by the European Commission want to improve the functioning of taxation in the online environment. This could represent a challenge for some online stores, so we recommend hiring the services of a tax advisor to facilitate and streamline tasks.

The main changes surrounding this reform of the tax system on internet sales are the following:

Reduce and unify thresholds in distance sales

One of the most significant changes in this regulation is that; If sales to another member country of the European Community exceed 10,000 euros in annual turnover as far as exports are concerned, the tax of that country of destination must be settled with its VAT rate. Until now, Spain had a threshold of 35,000 euros per year while other countries such as Germany had it of 100,000 euros. As the figures indicate, it was much more striking for a German company to market in Europe than a Spanish company.

This new reform of the VAT system will avoid making distinctions in these thresholds between European VATs. In addition, this taxation of internet sales will be done through a single platform called “EU Single Window” to facilitate compliance with the legislation for ecommerce.

New European VAT legislation

Appearance of the “Single Window” platform

To prevent companies from not declaring VAT corresponding to their cross-border sales, the European Commission has created the “One-Stop Shop” platform through which not only will the European VAT be declared, but also the European VAT will be paid depending on the recipient country .

This means that as of July 1, companies that make sales over the internet to other member countries of the European community will not have to register for tax purposes in another member state . In this way, there will be greater compliance with VAT regulations since you will only need to register on this platform.

European VAT one-stop shop

The marketplaces, responsible for collecting VAT

Another of the changes that will affect the VAT tax between European countries is that the marketplaces will be responsible for collecting VAT from their sellers and later it will be the marketplace itself that has to declare it.

Until today, marketplaces were mere intermediaries who were not involved in VAT taxation. However, after this new reform of the system, they will be recognized as if they bought the product and sold it to the final consumer. Therefore, they must have a record of transactions for the last 10 years and pay taxes on the “Single Window” platform like any other company that is dedicated to selling online.

VAT in marketplace

End of VAT exemption on import

The last significant change is the end of the VAT exemption between European countries on imports . Until now, all imports of low value from countries of the European community were exempt from paying Spanish VAT, more specifically with a value of less than 22 euros.

This exemption has come to an end with the arrival of this change in the regulation, however, the exemption from paying customs tax for imports of less than 150 euros is maintained .

Effects of the new VAT in the online world

Europe seeks to promote competitiveness between countries and especially the unification as an Economic Community where more and more financial aspects are being regulated to achieve equity between states. In addition, with this change in the Action Plan, it is expected that the fraud that has been taking place in these years when taxing VAT between European countries will be reduced in a very significant way . This is because now, being so centralized from the same platform, greater control of transactions will be possible and bad practices will be reduced.

The management of each online store, whenever it addresses an intra-community audience, must study in depth how these changes in the VAT system can affect their business. As of July 1, a new line will be opened in the portfolios of the agencies that will propose to advise the internet sales sector and even carry out the pertinent steps in the “Single Window”.

From now on, electronic businesses must know what VAT tax rate must be paid in each European country to which they direct sales. This new intra-community VAT regulation aims to centralize procedures with its new platform, avoid fraud and optimize VAT taxation between European countries by eliminating excess bureaucracy.

Summary of VAT changes in Spain

The European Commission is looking for a definitive VAT system that works in favor of a single market for a long time to meet the need for a one-way VAT taxation across Europe. That is why the VAT Action Plan for 2016 has undergone some changes.

On July 1, 2021, a new regulation will come into force which seeks to centralize and facilitate VAT taxation with the following changes:

  • Reducing and unifying the VAT thresholds of all countries to 10,000 euros per year in intercommunity billing.
  • The “Single Window” as the only platform to carry out taxation.
  • The “Marketplaces” will also be responsible for collecting VAT from their sellers and taxing it.
  • End of VAT exemption on imports.

In this way, it will seek to avoid fraud in the taxation of the tax and increase competitiveness among member countries , since until now there could be some inequality in taxation due to the conditions of each country. In this way everything is centralized in Europe and you will no longer depend on belonging to one country or another to enjoy depending on what advantages.

Is Prestashop free? Prestashop vs Palbin 2021

In order to help you clarify the ideas, we are going to review with you the characteristics that your online store should have from its inception and we will see through an example the economic cost to achieve them. Today we compare the price of an online store in Prestashop and Palbin, do you sign up?

When setting up an online store it is important to calculate the prior investment that we need to make. The hidden costs of some services make this difficult, but remember that this initial analysis is part of every online project.

In any business, whether physical or virtual, profitability is the priority objective in the medium and long term. In the short term we need to make certain investments that must be translated into an economic return over time.

We then calculate the initial investment necessary to create an online store in Prestashop and Palbin.

Prestashop vs Palbin

What we want is to create an online store from scratch. Initially we see that the creation of an online store in Prestashop is free. Then it will be necessary to make some disbursement, but for now we register to start configuring our electronic commerce.

With Palbin you have 30 free days to start working and master the platform, then you must take advantage of one of the subscriptions.

On both platforms we can upload the product catalog ourselves, with all that this entails (titles, descriptions, prices, taxes, discounts …); we choose a template with the design that we like; we create various banners to give our store an attractive look; and we personalize it with our logo.

Once we have the graphic and content aspects, we must think about the functionalities we need to launch and promote our online business. As always, the configuration of all aspects related to SEO positioning is essential and a priority when it comes to achieving results in an e-commerce.

Recommended features and their cost

    Important: Keep in mind that if Prestashop updates and your plugins are left behind, you will have to pay again to buy updated plugins. However, we want our clients not to have to worry about extra expenses or new installations, that is why at Palbin all updates are free and we implement them automatically, both in applications and on the platform.

Other functionalities

There are other very interesting functionalities and services that these companies offer to their clients. Each online store has its peculiarities and needs, so not all of them need to hire them and for that reason we do without them in this price table of essential functionalities.

For example, if you do not have knowledge about the platform, or if you do not have time to create your online store, you may need to hire help to carry out this task. It is important to always have the support of professionals so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. In the case of Palbin, we have professionals in our staff who will help you in the start-up of your online store (import of products, personalized template, port a, configuration of payment methods, etc. for € 399 + VAT) or to make a personalized template design and its cover (€ 199 + VAT).

If you do not have a professional in social networks and web positioning, it is likely that you need external SEO Positioning services. It is always important that you work with experts to manage your organic web positioning since, as you already know, SEO makes our online store acquire better positions in search engines and, in this way, improve the conversion of our business.

Similarly, if you want to give a professional boost to the sales of your online store, you will need to hire external SEM Advertising services, it is important that if we do not have enough experience, we rely on professionals from the sector so that we can obtain the best results. .

In both platforms there is the possibility of contracting these services, but in Palbin we have the advantage of being able to do everything internally without having to refer to external professionals, since in our staff we have professionals, who perfectly know the platform to get the most out of it. maximum performance to your online store.

is prestashop free

Is Prestashop free?

As we have seen throughout the post, Prestashop has its advantages and disadvantages. The installation of the Prestashop software is free, however, this does not stop there. To ensure that your ecommerce has all the functionalities you need, you have to take care of installing a series of plugins (add-ons) that do carry a cost, but not only that, their maintenance and technical support also require extra expenses.

At Palbin we strive to bring all the functionalities closer to our customers with the lowest cost, always trying to make this cost € 0. We also carry out all legal updates as well as optimization of resources at no cost to our clients.

But above all, it should be noted that the beginnings are not easy, and always, throughout our trajectory, doubts may arise. That is why it is important to have a professional support team ready to help you without involving an extra cost that affects your income. Prestashop is free, but its support carries a cost of € 99 per ticket / query. And you, are you still thinking about which platform to create your online store?

Customer reviews

It is always important to contrast the information received with opinions of Prestashop and Palbin from customers. Below we show you different comments about what, for us, are key aspects for our clients: updates and technical support. Doubts may arise at any time and it is very important to have someone to help you at that time, as well as to have the peace of mind of not needing to be aware of updating your store and its applications, that is, focus solely on your business.

Google Reviews: Utility and Positioning

In the positioning of your online store, any small detail can make you gain a position that means a large amount of traffic for your websites, stealing customers from your direct competitors.

One of the aspects that can help you improve your SEO are Google reviews through its “Google My Business” rating tool. In addition, it increases your conversion rate, since if a product or an eCommerce has good reviews from other clients, it is easier to generate trust and attract the longed-for sales.

In this article we show you the usefulness of the review and the importance of getting it to boost your business.

How do Google reviews work?

Google has long been the # 1 search platform, and that’s why we visit it on a daily basis. We all search about places to eat or about products that we want to buy, and one of the greatest sources of reliability about a product or establishment is its reviews.

Today, it is more important than ever to have a good image on Google and good visibility. One method is getting ratings so that your business does not lose its rhythm and is always active in the search engine.

Almost 90% of Internet consumers read reviews from other users before deciding to make a purchase. Therefore, all reviews are important, since they can be the definitive impact for those who have doubts about whether to make the purchase.

How to see my reviews?

In order to see the comments that have been made about your business, you can access them by following a few simple steps:

    Access your Google My Business account panel

    In the sidebar you will find two options to view ratings:

        Latest comments: if you want to see a breakdown of the latest reviews

        Comments: if you want to access all comments

    In the event that you have several websites in Google My Business you must access “Manage locations” and then “Manage opinions”.

In addition to this option, when a user evaluates your site, an email will arrive at the email address associated with Google My Business and from there you can also directly access your ratings.

Who can write Google reviews?

google reviews

Anyone can write a review of a site or a product, whether they have purchased the product or not. To post an opinion about an establishment or make a comment about an eCommerce, you just have to carry out the following steps:

    Access your Google account: for this you must enter your email and password.

    Carry out a search for the web or the site you want to evaluate: you can do it from Google Search or from Google Maps.

    Access the reviews section: here it will ask you to indicate a star rating before you can write your message.

As you can see, it is a simple process that anyone with internet access is able to follow. This possibility invites us to think inevitably, if there is a solution to unfair reviews, or if a false review about your products can be eliminated.

How can I delete a review on Google?

The search engine does not offer an option to delete reviews in use, but there are two ways to delete a review on Google:

    Get the person who published it to agree to delete it of their own free will.

    Clicking on “Flag as inappropriate”.

In the case of marking a negative review on Google as inappropriate, what we will be telling the search engine is that this comment is false or that it does not comply with Google’s privacy policies. To mark an opinion as inappropriate you must perform the following process:

    Access Google Maps and locate your business.

    Locate the review you want to delete.

    Click on the 3 vertical dots on the right side of the comment and select “Flag as inappropriate.”

After this process, you must fill out a report on the incident and provide your email so that the case can be followed up. You should keep in mind that the review process is slow and that there is no guarantee that the review will eventually be removed, but it is necessary to try.

Are all the reviews the same?

review importance

The reality is that no, there are opinions that weigh more than others and here the concept of Local guides or local guides was born. When you are looking for information tion, you will always rely more on truthful sources or with enough experience to speak of the opinion of an expert.

In this case, Local Guides are people who know the product or establishment they are writing about theoretically and can provide an objective review. The more reviews they have made on Google, the more value the search engine gives to these opinions.

For Google, a user who writes reviews on a regular basis and has rated hundreds of sites is not the same as a person who rates your website for the first time, with a negative review, for example. Having high-level Local Guide reviews will give you better visibility in local searches compared to your direct competitors.

What does Google value about reviews?

my google reviews

Google takes into account 3 parameters when giving visibility to a business in its search engine, the quality, the quantity and the frequency with which they value you.

Quality: It is the most important factor, it shows users that they can trust your product. Also, if your business appears in the top positions of Google searches, you will attract much more traffic.

Quantity: The more reviews your business has, the easier it is for new customers to discover it. For this reason, large companies accumulate significant amounts of reviews on Google.

Frequency: The news always plays an important role in the search engine, therefore, the more recent these reviews are, the more important they will be for users. Old 5-star reviews may seem outdated to potential buyers.

How to get reviews on Google?

The first and fundamental thing is to create an account in Google My Business and make all the necessary settings so that your website or company is visible on Google and you can receive visits and ratings.

The free Google My Business tool allows businesses to configure how businesses appear in Google Maps searches. Once your account is created in this application, you are ready for customers to discover your store and get reviews in the following ways:

Ask for reviews on Google

Many clients and acquaintances finish their purchases in a satisfactory way in your store, finding exactly the product they were looking for, or with an excellent treatment during the sale and after sales.

It is important to ask this class of clients to leave a comment about you or their experience with your business in the search engine, in order to obtain quality reviews. In addition to asking people you trust for these reviews, you can also encourage satisfied customers with various strategies, such as a small discount on their next purchase.

Direct links to Google My Business

Sometimes asking clients to write you a review and giving directions on how they should do it can be awkward or complicated. For this reason, there are tools that allow you to generate links to Google reviews directly so that customers only have to fill in the box with their review without having to access the site.

The Google Review Direct Link Generator tool offers you two possibilities, the first is to take the user to the reviews box directly with the 5-star score pre-marked, and the second is to take the user to the list with all your reviews and that they can write their own opinion.

What are reviews for?

usefulness of the review

Having a good amount of favorable opinions can have a favorable impact on the positioning of the web associated with the Google My Business listing. They improve your search results, because having a significant number of quality evaluations attracts more traffic to your store, and produces a greater number of conversions, which increases the relevance of your business.

The algorithm understands that as more people enter your site, it is a site of greater interest, and therefore it is a reason to make it appear higher in searches.

For Google robots, user opinions are important to improve positioning, since when there is a large number of customers leaving their reviews, these robots understand that it is a relevant site and therefore liable to appear better positioned.

In addition to this, it also favors local SEO, since the first positions in the search ranking are occupied by businesses that have a large number of positive comments, and although the weight of the evaluations in this positioning is not known, it has been shown that it influences considerably . The possibility of appearing in the first 3 searches that My Business offers to users boosts the traffic on your website, and therefore improves its relevance, which makes Google position you better as well.

How to manage Google reviews?

It is important to be up to date whenever people talk about you, whether on social media, in an external blog or in reviews, so it is necessary to always be aware of the media and reviews.Responding to your customers’ reviews is essential, whether they are positive or negative comments, since it is a way of thanking the people who invest their time in evaluating our store or, on the contrary, to politely deny false or harmful information to the business.

To optimally manage negative comments, it must be borne in mind that you must always do it from education, in addition, you must also try to take into account the following premises:

    Speed ​​to avoid that other dissatisfied clients generate a snowball making difficult the resolution of the crisis.

    Empathy with the client.

    Manage the incident in the private sphere, if it is something specific, you can try to solve it by mail or by phone with the client.

    Indemnify or compensate the customer to correct the error, if it is a failure of the company and appease the disgruntled user.

    Acknowledge the error publicly, if necessary, to show that you are trying to improve your service and have learned.

Harness the power of Google reviews

google reviews

Now that you know the importance of your customers’ opinions for your company and you know how to start obtaining them, don’t miss the opportunity to request a review whenever possible. Both the trust of your clients and the positioning of your website will improve, without forgetting that it is a fundamental section to position yourself better than your competition when we are talking about local SEO.

As for evaluations, quantity, quality and frequency are as important as knowing how to treat them and offer a response, both to positive and negative comments, in order to manage any type of crisis that arises.

In addition, in Palbin you have the Google Customer Reviews tool to take advantage of the full potential of Google reviews in your store. Are you already taking advantage of the benefits of valuations in your online business?

Our Staff

Our international team of consultants brings unique insights from a wide variety of academic, business, and geographic backgrounds. Besides business and economic graduates with past careers in management consulting, we have astrophysicists, engineers, language and philosophy graduates with backgrounds in journalism, semiconductor design, scientific research, software development, investment banking, law, and many other careers. Despite this diversity, all of our staff is comfortable working in unstructured, less-defined environments and are skilled at applying a blend of creativity and pragmatism to defining and validating new business opportunities in uncharted waters.