Hybrid PCG User Meeting 2022

As already announced, the PCG User Meeting 2022 will take place in the charming town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber as a hybrid meeting. Please reserve Wednesday, 2nd to Friday, 4th February 2022 and register by mail by 16th January.

At the moment, the 2G rule and FFP2 mask obligation apply for participating in the house and we will inform you quickly if something changes.

However, online participation is of course also possible. Please note this on the registration form.

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We are hosted in Rothenburg im Wildbad, which is the former spa house in the immediate vicinity of the Tauber river, in the Tauber valley. Nevertheless, the town centre and the railway station are within walking distance, although there are a few metres of altitude to climb. Parking spaces are available, of course.

See you soon in person or on the screen! We look forward to a great start of the new year with you!

First image: (c) Wildbad Rothenburg

Meet the team: Malte

And today, Malte presents himself 🙂 :

I have been fascinated by natural sciences since I was a schoolboy, so I started studying chemical engineering after my A-levels, followed by an apprenticeship as a CTA (chemical-technical assistant) in materials science. However, I realised after a while that university wasn’t necessarily for me and I decided to enter the working world.

So I joined Charly’s company and I really liked it there. I spent more than 3 years working in many different areas and got to know a lot about the PCG. As I was already unofficially in the role of a mini-supporter at the Ökokiste for the daily small problems of my colleagues, I was pleased about the offer of a change to PCG support. That’s how I ended up joining the PCG team.

I grew up in a small, charming village in central Hesse. I have two older siblings and am the proud uncle of four little rascals. In my free time, I like to ride my bike or relax on the sofa with a good series or movie. When I have time, I like to try new, exotic dishes, with a preference for Asian cuisine.

Logistics

Most users of our system have their own logistics, which has proven particularly useful in these pandemic times: not only is the quality under their own control, but the lack of capacity is also easier to manage. In addition, in-house optimisations typically result in very efficient (and low CO2) delivery.

Bikes, drones

But service providers can of course help, especially when it comes to peak times, or specialists, e.g. bike messengers in city centres, (limited) electric vehicles or drone deliveries. Sometimes this becomes a permanent collaboration, beyond helping during rush hours.

Ok, we actually can’t report a cooperation with a drone delivery service yet, but we already have some experience with bicycle delivery services. It is possible to transfer the relevant data (addresses, weights, number of boxes, sizes) to the IT of the respective partners, usually once the packing process has been completed. Depending on how these partners have organised their drivers, the order of the boxes at the transfer point is also important, and this can deviate from the internal optimisation.

It could even go so far that the partners receive a preview of the upcoming deliveries before the actual order deadline or the end of packing – and then report their desired packing order back to the system.

In addition to the previous manual export of the tours from the goods management system, there are now several IT interfaces to logistics systems that are common in the logistics sector. Not only is data sent automatically, but also the feedback “delivered” or “in delivery” comes back to us in the system and can trigger the familiar customer feedback (email, SMS, push). Even the not-so-trivial refund management is getting better and better and is sometimes already fully automated.

Depots

Another commonly used optimisation idea are depots: besides the de-facto depots of the customers (customer A also receives the boxes from B and C), these can also be the market places or friendly farm shops.

A depot can be public in the system – i.e. selectable for every (new) customer – or private. A private depot is typically assigned in the ERP system, but can also be protected by a secret code, so it can be used by someone to have their order delivered there.

The secret code is sometimes also the key to a delivery system (e.g. Sesame Boxes), whose depots should of course only be opened by authorised customers. Such systems also require space management, as subscriptions and orders reserve this space in the future.

Of course, this capacity information can also be useful for any other depot. A depot that is “full” is then no longer available for further orders.

Tours

Capacity management is also helpful for tours in order to achieve the efficiency described above. Some values can be stored in the system for this purpose, e.g. number of orders or maximum customers who can be supplied.

Save the date: 2022 PCG User Meeting

In a way, we remain loyal to the conference centre in Schmerlenbach. Because our new planned location is also a Christian conference centre – in the historically beautiful Bavarian town of Rothenburg/o.d.T.: the Wildbad Rothenburg.

Please note the date Wed, 02 February (evening) to Fri, 04 February 2022 (noon) for the next PCG user meeting.
In addition to the organic certification for the used and processed food as well as regional products in the centre, the house offers conference spaces and rooms in a historical ambience. Furthermore, the town of Rothenburg and the railway station are both within walking distance (25 min). A bus also runs to the house. The ICE stations are Nuremberg and Würzburg and regional trains run from there.

As usual, we want to have a look at the latest developments and take you with us into the new developments of the PCG universe. In addition, we want to meet during the breaks and on the two evenings to catch up on what we were not allowed to do this year: the face-to-face conversation in small and large groups. The PCG team is especially looking forward to this!

Picture credits: Wildbad Rothenburg

Incidences

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Orders in March 2020. Peaks are on Sundays

For all of us, March is the anniversary of a sudden increase in sales.

What next? Perhaps the “incidences” tell us something. First of all, we appreciate that the first wave brought us the highest number of visitors; unfortunately, the October wave did not have the same effect.

The annual cycle has little changed: March has always been the strongest month. In 2020, however, it has risen considerably while drops at Easter and the summer holiday period have remained similar. Only the peak before Christmas shows that there was less mobility after all.

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Transaction statistics for the last few years

The growth of the last few years also seems to continue despite the Covid.

The permanent arrival of new customers appears to be higher than in previous years. The proportion of non-subscribing customers has also increased somewhat, but this varies greatly from one company to another. Long-term companies generally have better results than the rest of the market.

Not surprisingly, tour planning has been needed and used much more often. More information in this image:

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Tour planning from March 2019 to February 2021.

The increase in the volume of emails is somewhat surprising. Obviously, the shop settings were also modified much more frequently to match the daily activity. Paypal also worked well with us:

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Top: Paypal transactions. Middle: Settings changes. Bottom: Mail volume.
From March 2019 to February 2021.

During this period we had to rebuild a large part of the infrastructure, so we can keep making progress.

You can find more statistics in the PCG or in the admin area of the shop.

Meet the team: Miriam

After growing up on a farm in the Lüneburg Heath, my eyes turned to the world abroad for a while after school and finally to Marburg to study.
As a geographer, you learn not to go into too much detail, but to keep your eye on the essentials.
That made many tasks easier in my later job in a small tourist agency. There I was already dealing with the design of websites with different systems.
In 2018, after my maternity leave with my two children, I joined the marketing team of Bosshammersch Hof. In the meantime, I started working at 360ff and mainly work on planning and support for our NEOS package.
I enjoy following the creative process and working in a cool sector to create something new.

PCG user meeting 2021

As in previous years, our PCG user meeting will take place at the beginning of the year. We expect even more registrations, because you can go online from your home or office to the topic of your choice. A certain number of users will be able to join us in the meeting centre (if all goes well).

As usual, you may register with Andrea! The topics and fees for the meeting, which will take place from 03-05 February 2021, will be published soon. According to tradition, on Wednesday evening there will be a preview of the software development in the future and we’ll introduce the planned activities.

Please make use of this future oriented way of exchange and training. This time there won’t be limits because hotel capacities. That’s one positive aspect of this special year 2020!

Meet the team: Erika

Today it’s Erika who introduces herself.

I was born in Neuwied am Rhein in Rhineland-Palatinate, where I also completed an artisan’s apprenticeship. However, I moved to Hessen after internships in Reutlingen during my textile technology studies, as well as to Bavaria and Thuringia. There I started a family with my husband and after my family time I arrived in Ökokiste Boßhammersch Hof.

Having taken a year’s break, I have been working there since 2010.
In the beginning, I was part of packaging and the farm’s shop, then customer service and purchasing.

Since 2015, I have been working in the marketing department, where I provide my knowledge as a PC Garden user mainly in the management of articles and mailings as well as in the support of serial mail via the Neos template.

News in Shop 12/20

In the shop, a help feature is now available – first of all there are six categories that show the most important differences from our application to “ordinary” shops. The texts are customizable, can be displayed automatically only for new visitors or can be integrated into the design by the web designer.

Search

Searches now also show customers about their own discounts and give information about filter options, if for example “vegan” is entered in the search field.

Tour limits

After a while it has been possible to block some tours for new customers. From now on, however, you can also enter capacity limits directly, so that you no longer have to constantly check it.

Minimum order amounts can also be set separately for individual tours and set delivery costs according to the delivery address.

Labels

With the cooperation of the website designer, labels can be defined more easily, for example to tag special products (“Delivered in a cooler” or “in a returnable jar”). As the available space is usually limited, this has to be done individually according to the layout.

The seasonal indicator, which indicates that the product may no longer be available in the future, especially for subscriptions, is a new and standard feature. If desired, it can also indicate price changes of products in the shopping cart.

A note will automatically appear in the shopping cart if the item has an earlier order deadline that differs from that of the order.

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Important changes have also been made to the display of EU origin indications. In the administration area you will find an overview of the articles concerned, and you can now search for terms directly in the EU database.

Geo

In the administration area, on the geographical section, there are new presentations of the tours, including a review of past tours. This makes it easier to plan, for example, adjustments. For this purpose, the data are now also kept longer.

News in the shop

In the last few weeks, many activities were under the Corona sign. Hanno’s article in the documentation system has summarized the tips on this topic (in German, registration via PCG!).

In this context, functions for a more efficient control of tours have been added, which seem useful even beyond the current crisis. For example, new potential customers might end up on a built-in waiting list (based on the newsletter registration, which has also been revised for this purpose).

Also, it is possible to declare specific tours as “full” – if a newsletter subscription is set up, the visitor will then be added to the waiting list. But also when planning the expansion into a new area, such a tour – initially blocked from the beginning – can help!

The order deadlines can be set separately per tour.

Inactive customers can be blocked in the shop, this was a request to limit the customer traffic.

In order to minimize payment defaults in these times of pandemic, Paypal can be mandatory for new customers.

Delivery points

A major conversion was necessary to allow the selection of delivery points in the shop. This logic, which was already present in the PCG, is now also available in the shop, e.g. in the display of (delivery) addresses.

Initially, the selection of an actual delivery point is only intended for new customers, but more flexibility for existing customers is in progress. The selection is made conveniently by clicking on a map.

The delivery conditions (e.g. prices or minimum order value) of the delivery points can also differ from the tour.

Miscellaneous…

We’ll mention here some minor changes and corrections:

  • The article attributes sometimes require longer training and updating times. Therefore this feature (for the shops>2016) can be hidden centrally from visitors’ eyes.
  • When a customer is doing a second order for the same day, there is a text asking if he really needs a new order or just modify the first one.
  • The concept of “hidden tour” and “blocked order” have been reviewed.
  • When alcohol is sold, a note regarding the protection of minors will be added to the order.
  • Tours’ settings have their own place in the Admin area of the shop.

Minor changes are constantly implemented and all those who use the Shop 2016 as standard or in an individually designed form can check the Trello board at any time to see the status of the DInge (info offered in German). Do you still need an invitation?