How To Analyse Your Own Performance: Understand The Variables That Are Vital To Growing Your Business

As an entrepreneur and an online seller, you are constantly looking out for ways to boost your business’s growth, but that’s not going to happen until you analyse your previous performance. Also, many don’t know how to take their small company to a higher level and keep growing it horizontally by selling more products and not tapping into sales exponentially.

Multiple variables help you understand your current business status and what’s need to be done to grow. Analysing your performance is an essential part of core business activities. As an Amazon seller, the best way to analyse your performance is by calculating the number of sales, reviews of customers, and your ranking on the search list.

The Top Variables to Help You Know How to Improve Your Business

However, there are many more variables that play a vital role. Let’s take a look at them:

1. Staff productivity

Happy staff means instant business growth. Ask your staff if they are happy with the work you’ve given them. Be open to new ideas from them. Productivity is a standard measure to compare industry statistics. In fact, sales productivity is calculated by dividing actual revenue by a number of people from the sales department.

Similarly, check for marketing productivity, manufacturing productivity, and support productivity. If any of these values get lower, look to tinker with the employee working pattern. You need to look at everything from employee behavior to employee access to different tools. Look to streamline the work flow to help you get the benefits.

2. Gross margin

Calculate Gross Margin by deducting the cost of goods sold from total sales revenue minus divided by total sales revenue. Check this for each of your products sold, so that you get an idea about the department or type of products where you need to bring an improvement. Higher the percentage better is the performance of your business.

If you are getting consistently low percentages, lower the cost of your products by choosing an alternative equally good but cheaper material or increase the cost. On Amazon, you need to stay a step ahead of your competitors, so instead of decreasing the cost, you can increase the cost slightly, give them a little more quantity because it is cheaper to add a little than deduct some.

3. Monthly net profit or loss

When you calculate the monthly profit or loss, don’t only consider the product cost and the price you charged for it. The amount will be inaccurate because you didn’t count in fixed and variable costs of operation including insurance, lease amount or mortgage payments, taxes, and salary of your employees. Subtract all these measures from the total revenue you make.

The selling price should be 60 per cent higher than the cost price for you to be able to break even. Anything below that and you’ll have a tough time making ends meet.

4. Money spent on customer acquisition

Finding new customers is always more expensive than convincing an existing one to buy your product. On Amazon, it is a lot more than that. Your rank on the search list definitely depends on good customer reviews but also on the keywords you use.

Having a good social media and marketing team will cost you but also bring in leads that turn into loyal customers. Investing in advertising is another aspect that’ll talk about your business growth. Lower the money you spend on customer acquisition, the better is your business’s performance.

5. Size of your inventory

Inventory turnover is a great variable to analyze your company’s performance. If you constantly replace your products in the inventory and the frequency has increased over the past six months or so, your business performance is optimum.

Make sure that you avoid certain challenges including purchasing products in cost-effective lot sizes, forecasting inventory requirements, and express delivery patterns. When your company shows rapid growth, invest in a bigger inventory so that the place isn’t too cramped and products aren’t lost or damaged in the jumble.

6. Total number of labour hours

If you are someone who says we’ve always worked this way, then you are using your labour hours to its full capacity. Labor is the most expensive, so collect its performance on a monthly basis. If there’s a decrease in output, investigate why it is happening.

Increase incentives and bonuses, so that your laborers are encouraged to perform better. However, you should remember that changing things too often can lead to resistance from your employees. If you want to try a new way of working, experiment it with a small group of laborers who are open to it and when successful, spread the change to others.

Whenever a product is bought on Amazon, email the customer personally and ask for their review on the e-commerce site. Schedule a business performance analysis and hire an analyser if you want. It might cost a little but would prove to be cost effective in the longer run.

Cross Docking in Spain: Postal Mail and Courier Services

Cross Docking

What is Cross Docking?

Cross Docking is a logistics procedure where products from a seller are distributed directly to their customer with no handling or storage costs. It means that the seller can consolidate all the orders from a determined country in one parcel and send it to a cross docking center located in this country. When the shipment arrives, the orders will be distributed to the respective customers immediately, and the seller hasn’t storage or handling costs and a significant reduction in delivery time.

This method has two important advantages:

  • Price: The seller saves money, because international postal services are more expensive than domestic postal services. If the seller sends a lot of orders per month, the saving is considerable.
  • Quality of the shipments: If the seller send orders by international postal service, the parcel could be lost or not be delivered on time. This problem is easily solvable by using the Cross Docking method.

When  sellers use Cross Docking, they have two options:

  • The seller has the option to label the shipments before consolidating them into the parcel that will be sent to the Cross Docking Center. Choosing this option, the seller can print his own labels. The seller can opt between two methods:
    • By integration with the Courier/Post: Seller using a EDI (Electronic data interchange) may upload CSV files with the orders and download a CSV file with tracking numbers and PDF files with the labels. Seller also can download the tracking information. There are two types of Courier applications: Correos Express have a program that runs in Windows only. ASM and Seur have a application on the cloud.
    • Load his orders and print his shipping labels by Web Service.
  • The seller can send the orders without label. In the Cross Docking Center, the orders will be labelled and shipped. Here is an example of a shipping label for one of our clients, Home Health Spain:

       Correos Express                                           ASM                                             SeurCorreos ExpressIMG_5868IMG_5879







As for shipping, the seller may choose between two methods: Postal service or Courier Service, each one with its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Postal Service is cheaper and slower than Courier Service. Tracking number will not be provided and the probability that your shipment might get lost is higher than sending the order via Courier Service. This option is recomended when the order has a low value and doesn’t matter if the transit time is a bit long. The transit time is between 3 to 5 working days. The percentage of delivery on time is 96,6%.
  • Courier Service is more expensive and faster than Postal Service. You can track your shipment and probability of loosing the parcel is minimum. This option is recommended when the order has a high value and/or a lower transit time is important. In Spain, we work with Correos Express, SEUR and ASM, with a percentage of delivery on time of 99%. The delivery time usually is 24-48 hours (working days).

Probably, you are thinking: Your information is useful, but…

Why not send the orders by Cross Border Shipping from my country?

If you send the orders by Cross Border Shipping from your country, probably you have three big disadvantages:

1. Cross Border prices are higher: Look at this comparison between prices of domestic postal service and intra-EU postal service (data from 2013). If you send a lot of orders per months, you would lose a lot of money.

Comparative of prices: Domestic services vs intra-EU service
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Domestic Postal Service (Per Unit) (EUR) <20 gr Intra-EU Postal Service (Per Unit) (EUR) <20 gr Increase % Shipping Cost to Spain by GLS (1000 orders, 20 gr/order, 20kg) Courier Service Total Cost (1000 orders) (Domestic) Total Cost (1000 orders Cross Docking + Spanish Domestic Postal Service) Total Cost (1000 orders Cross Docking + Domestic Courier Service) Unit Cost Cross Docking + Postal Service Unit Cost Cross Docking + Courier Service
EU (28 countries) 0,55 0,87 58,18%
Belgium 0,77 1,03 33,77% 40,52 2300 410,52 2340,52 0,41 2,34
Bulgaria 0,43 0,92 113,95% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37
Czech Republic 0,38 0,77 102,63% 40,52 2300 410,52 2340,52 0,41 2,34
Denmark 1,07 1,68 57,01% 40,52 2300 410,52 2340,52 0,41 2,34
Germany 0,58 0,75 29,31% 33,23 2300 403,23 2333,23 0,40 2,33
Estonia 0,45 1 122,22% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37
Ireland 0,6 0,9 50,00% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37
Greece 0,72 0,78 8,33% 227,52 2300 597,52 2527,52 0,60 2,53
Spain 0,37 0,75 102,70% 2300
France 0,63 0,8 26,98% 33,23 2300 403,23 2333,23 0,40 2,33
Croatia 0,41 1 143,90% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37
Italy 0,7 0,85 21,43% 40,52 2300 410,52 2340,52 0,41 2,34
Cyprus 0,34 0,51 50,00% 227,52 2300 597,52 2527,52 0,60 2,53
Latvia 0,5 0,78 56,00% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37
Lithuania 0,45 0,71 57,78% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37
Luxembourg 0,6 0,85 41,67% 40,52 2300 410,52 2340,52 0,41 2,34
Hungary 0,47 0,88 87,23% 43,04 2300 413,04 2343,04 0,41 2,34
Malta 0,26 227,52 2300
Netherlands 0,54 0,9 66,67% 40,52 2300 410,52 2340,52 0,41 2,34
Austria 0,62 0,7 12,90% 40,52 2300 410,52 2340,52 0,41 2,34
Poland 0,56 1,24 121,43% 43,04 2300 413,04 2343,04 0,41 2,34
Portugal 0,5 0,7 40,00% 25,68 2300 395,68 2325,68 0,40 2,33
Romania 0,36 0,48 33,33% 2300
Slovenia 0,29 0,6 106,90% 43,04 2300 413,04 2343,04 0,41 2,34
Slovakia 0,65 1 53,85% 43,04 2300 413,04 2343,04 0,41 2,34
Finland 0,85 0,85 0,00% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37
Sweden 0,55 1,11 101,82% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37
United Kingdom 0,73 1,04 42,47% 43,04 2300 413,04 2343,04 0,41 2,34
Iceland 0,74 1,08 45,95% 250,17 2300 620,17 2550,17 0,62 2,55
Switzerland 0,81 1,14 40,74% 43,04 2300 413,04 2343,04 0,41 2,34
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the 0,26 0,58 123,08% 250,17 2300 620,17 2550,17 0,62 2,55
Serbia 0,19 0,41 115,79% 69,96 2300 439,96 2369,96 0,44 2,37

Column 1. Domestic Postal Service ( Per Unit) (EUR) <20 gr: Postal Service price for each country (Domestic).

Column 2. Intra-EU Postal Service (Per Unit) (EUR) <20 gr: Postal Service price for each country (Intra-EU).

Column 3. Increase %: Increase in the price if you use Domestic Postal Service or Intra-EU Postal Service.

Column 4. Shipping Cost to Spain by GLS (1000 orders, 20 gr/order, 20kg): Price for shipping from the countries listed in the left column to Spain using GLS, 1000 orders, 20 gr per order, 20 kg in total.

Column 5. Courier Service Total Cost (1000 orders) (Domestic)Sixth column: Total cost of ship inside of Spain to the customer 1000 orders (2,3 € per order * 1000 orders)

Column 6. Total Cost (1000 orders Cross Docking + Spanish Domestic Postal Service): Total cost if you send to Spanish Cross Docking Center from your country (left column) and from here, distribute to the customers by Domestic Postal Service. For example, the cost of shipping Belgium-Spain by GLS is 40,52 €. That is, 40,52 € + (1000 orders * 0,37 €) (the cost of Spanish Domestic Postal Service) = 410,52 €.

Column 7. Total Cost (1000 orders Cross Docking + Domestic Courier Service): Total cost if you send to Spanish Cross Docking Center from your country (left column) and from here, distribute to the customers by Domestic Courier Service. For example, the cost of shipping Belgium-Spain by GLS is 40,52 €. That is,  40,52 € + (1000 orders * 2,3 €) (the cost of Spanish Domestic Courier Service) = 2340,52 €.

Column 8. Unit Cost Cross Docking + Postal Service: Unitary price per order (Using Spanish Domestic Postal Service): Seventh column / 1000 orders. For example, Belgium-Spain is 0,41 €/per order (410,52 € / 1000 orders).

Column 9. Unit Cost Cross Docking + Courier Service: Unitary price per order (Using Spanish Domestic Courier Service): Eighth column / 1000 orders. For example, Belgium-Spain is 2,34 €/per order (2340,52 € / 1000 orders).

Sellers usually consolidate 2 times per week, 8 times per month. The total cost would be the price in the table multiplied by 8.

2. Slower delivery time for crossborder shipments: If you send your orders only by Postal Service, the transit time is higher than if you send the parcel by Courier to the country where Cross Docking Center is located and from here, you use Domestic Postal Service.

3. The probability of loss increases with international shipping: It is more probable that your order will not arrive to the addresses if you send by Intra-EU Postal Service, because transit time is increased and the packet passes through more places.

Apart from what we have mentioned above, Cross Docking used with Courier Services also offers a wide range of advantages for the client.

– Delivery time is still smaller than in the case of using Postal Service, because the delivery time is 24-48 hours.
– The probability that a shipment may get lost is lower, as we will have a tracking number.
– Depending on the Courier we use, we can have additional advantages. Correos Express and Seur send an email to the client to coordinate delivery of the parcel. In the case of ASM, the Courier has its own app, so customers can track their order.

As you can see, the most economical shipping way is through the use of Cross Docking, with the additional advantages of considerably reducing the transit time  and also reduce the likelihood of loss.

In conclusion, Cross Docking may reduce your shipping cost and increase the satisfaction of your customers. The orders arrive sooner and the probability of loss decreases. In addition, you can choose print your own shipping labels or the Cross Docking Center may do it for you. You can also choose between a more economic option like Postal Service if the delivery time doesn’t matter and the value of the products is low, or you can choose Courier Service, more expensive but faster and safe.

Cross Docking is a really good solution for all types of sellers, but in particular for the online sellers, that sell in Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, etc.

Do you use Cross Docking or another alternative type of logistics? Tell us your experience!

Advantages of outsourcing order fulfillment in Europe

Order fulfillment Spain

Order fulfillment Spain

Do you sell goods to buyers over the Internet?

The process of storing the products in the warehouse for selection upon purchase by an end-buyer, packaging it for shipping, labeling it and finally shipping the product is called “order fulfillment“. This process becomes incredibly time consuming as your business grows you may find that is distracting when you want to focus on growing sales, prospecting customers or increase inventory. That is where outsourced order fulfillment services start to look compelling.

Outsourced order fulfillment is defined as storing your inventory in a third-party warehouse, where you route your orders for processing. This outsourced fulfillment provider will take your order and pick, pack and ship the order to your customers in a way that you want.

Other elements come into play when you want to make order fulfillment as cost-effective as possible. For example, geographically optimizing your inventory placement to lower shipping costs and fulfilling orders from Europe.

  • Customer Support, Customers expect  a very good CRM (Customer Relationship Management or Messaging) of order status, shipping status and tracking numbers in real time. Customers expect the right order shipped at the time that they expected. They want to be able to return items they find unsatisfactory. When it comes to supporting international customers all those rule apply and you need to understand the tax and customs consequences of how you ship. Outsourcing can give you all this without big investments.
  • Automation & Order Status Notifications, The key to scalability and error elimination is automation. This is hard for the actual packaging and shipping; however, this is eminently achievable when it comes to sending orders to the warehouse and getting ship confirmation and tracking numbers back. We will recommend best plugins to use with most popular ecommerce shopping like Magento, Prestashop or Woocommerce.
  • Scale your order fulfillment to match your growth.
  • Reduce shipping errors. As shipping volume goes up, error rates go up. Mistakes cost your business big: Angry customers, expensive returns shipping, restocking times, reshipping costs and general hassles
  • Lower cost shipping. Most fulfillment solutions have greater shipping volume and can negotiate better rates with the carriers.UPS DHL TNT FEDEX EMS postal express shipping carriers
  • Outsourced order fulfillment is  less expensive than doing-it-yourself or running your own warehouse.
  • Eliminate responsibilities and hassles with warehouse employees.
  • Automate your order handling between your shopping cart and your warehouse.
  • Get reporting and tracking of all shipments online
  • Automate claims handling. SpainBOX offers 1-click claims submission.
  • Better understanding of your shipping and fulfillment costs, you dont need to invest in warehouse leases, employees, vehicles, software, insurance, security, etc.
  • Eliminates the hassle of storage and shipping. You can be an expat at any country in the world and manage a big online shop relaxing at the beach.
  • You can focus on sales and marketing instead of doing everyday boring job of packing and shipping orders.
  • Automate returns handling and processing, domestic and Internationally.
  • Allows you to enter in the international markets with minimal investment.

The Risks to ship products internationallyShipping risk management

When you start to ship product internationally, it is important to be aware of the some of common difficulties:

  • International shipping rates that can exceed the order value
  • Higher incidence of lost shipments
  • Slow delivery times
  • Buyers that reject shipments due to taxes, customs and duties
  • Orders declined by customs, often due to incorrect paperwork
  • Extra carrier brokerage fees
  • Higher incidence of fraud in countries with lax regulatory environments
  • Expensive and untimely returns

I dont want to scare you, but to makes sure you are aware of the challenges inherent in shipping overseas. SpainBOX sophisticated integration with carrier and couriers partners delivers the most accurate shipment cost and delivery time estimates possible. However this cost estimation does not include taxes, customs or duties that may be imposed on your shipments, and delivery time estimation could be increased by unexpected delays imposed in customs processing. In addition, there are cases where customs may reject to process orders, impose unanticipated customs or duties on International shipments at their discretion, or even in rare cases, lose product. Even correctly documented shipments can be returned to the warehouse, without a stated reason. For all of these reasons, SpainBOX can only offer cross-border shipping on a best effort basis, and we can minimize the risks of:

  • Protect your shipments against loss or damage with an optional Shipping Insurance.
  • Ensure all of your shipments are tracked and insured.
  • Ensure that all docs are filled properly and all your Customs documentation (by example Commercial Invoices) is accurate, and where possible, use HTS codes.
  • Contact to Spainbox Customer Care to learn which courier options seem to trigger fewer customs issues, and create a better buyer experience.

Selling internationally Its not as complicate as it sounds. Don’t be afraid to expand your online retail business overseas. In fact, in the global economy and international shopping, you are probably already seeing that international buyers are looking for to buy your products.

Order fulfillment services allow EU merchants selling outside of the Europe; it also means a foreign company selling in  Europe.

Is your Web site ready?shipping prices magento woocommerce prestashop shopping carts

  • Update shipping prices. You just need to add shipping prices to your shopping cart, there is alot of ecommerce shopping softwares, personally i use open source shopping carts magento, prestashop and woocommerce, but there is some others like X-cart, OScommerce, Cubecart, VirtueMart, VPAsp, Opencart, etc. another type of shopping carts that are being very popular recently are Cloud based e-commerce hosting apps like Bigcommerce, Shopify, 3d cart, volusion or semi-hosted cart66.
    The best way to configure accurate shipping prices will be to use a table rate for the shipping prices with weights and countries, so when user go checkout shopping cart will get the shipping rate according to the destination country and total products weight added to the shopping cart.
  • E-commerce platforms integrations with the 95% of shopping carts software like Magento, Shopify, prestashop, woocommerce, amazon, ebay, etc, international credit card payment gateway
  • Accept payment from international customers is not difficult. You must check that it accept mayor credit cards, and are multi-currency, and its important you compare setup fees, monthly fees, qualified rates % by transaction and chargeback fees. I recommend you some payment gateways with low fees and compatible with most popular shopping carts, interpay, 2checkout and skrill.  Another popular credit cart payment gateways platforms in europe are Paymill, Stripe, braintree,, if you are just getting started try Paypal.

If you have any experience with order fulfillment or want to share any ideas or experiences please comment this article.
[share-locker id=”33369d3a” theme=”blue” message=”Share to Download here 5 Ways Outsourcing Logistics Can Benefit Your Business in Europe!” main_url=”” facebook_share=”1″ facebook_share_title=”Advantages of outsourcing order fulfillment in Europe” facebook_share_url=”” facebook_share_message=”” facebook_like=”1″ facebook_like_url=”” facebook_colorscheme=”light” twitter=”1″ twitter_url=”” twitter_tweet=”Check out this post” google=”1″ google_url=”” vk_share=”1″ vk_share_url=””]

Download here 5 Ways Outsourcing Logistics Can Benefit Your Business in Europe

Mail forwarding from Spain
Free 15 days trial
Get your spanish address Now! >>