The FreshPortal Platinum software package and a web shop provide user Piazza dei fiori with exactly the tools this dynamic Italian platform needs to deliver a wonderful range of flowers and cut foliage in Europe and around the world.
Commercial manager Kees Glorie: "Piazza dei fiori was set up about six years ago to supply customers directly from Italy through depots in Sanremo and Naples. I am based in Sanremo and Mick van Hoogdalem in Naples. Our trade concerns flowers and green materials delivered directly by growers, both from the north and the south of Italy. You can think of Anemone, Eucalyptus, Ranunculus, Antirrhinum and Matthiola, for example.
"The growers have their own FreshPortal system and these are linked to the Piazza dei fiori platform. For the growers who are too small for a FreshPortal system, we arrange something ourselves. But also our depots have separate software systems that are connected to the Piazza dei fiori platform. We wanted an affordable, scalable and flexible software package, and FreshPortal was able to provide it for us. The threshold was low to get in."
Affordable, scalable and flexible
Stephan van Maldegem, whose responsibilities include Piazza dei fiori's IT, had long been in contact with FreshPortal director Robin Jongkind. That's how he knew that the latter had already had ideas for the software model in use since 2011. "Only at that time I didn't have a company for it. In 2015 I started with it in Africa and in 2016 in Italy. That's a lot closer. The growers have their own FreshPortal system and those are linked with the Piazza dei fiori platform. For the growers who are too small for a FreshPortal system, we arrange something ourselves. But also our depots in Naples and Sanremo have separate software systems that are connected to the Piazza dei fiori platform. We wanted an affordable, scalable and flexible software package, and FreshPortal was able to provide it for us. The barrier to entry was low."
"The administration of the invoices and carts runs through a shared administration via Coloriginz in the Netherlands" adds Kees Glorie. "Obviously through the FreshPortal software. This is a relief, because previously I always arranged this administration in Excel files. Once at home I started working with these on Friday evening 18:00 and was happy if I was finished Saturday morning at 11:00. As of 2016, we have made a great deal of progress with the FreshPortal system in this regard, which has already saved a lot of time each year. At the base, the software works fast and we still experience its ease of use daily. The flexibility ensures that the FreshPortal software has adapted well to our business model."
"Although every system grows, the beauty of the FreshPortal software is that we have managed to make it our own," Stephan van Maldegem continues. "An advantage is also that the software is available in multiple languages. For example, for an Italian client we set the software to Italian and for English-speaking clients to English. But this can just as well be done in Polish, Spanish or Russian. The google translations have now made way for better translations. Because in this respect, too, the FreshPortal software has become more and more professional."
Offering a complete overview with a webshop
"There has always been a lot of interaction between FreshPortal and Piazza dei fiori," says Kees Glorie. "You help each other and that's how you keep taking new steps forward. The webshop also works very well. Telephone sales are nice, but you can only serve about twenty percent of your customers. With the webshop you can offer them a complete overview. It is a very solid and well-organized webshop that works smoothly. Via a VMP connection we also send our products to our customers, so that they can put them in their own webshops. This works well, as does the link with the cart and cask administration."
When asked if there are any more webshop wishes, Kees Glorie shouts "Yes, a function that the system calls the customers. Of course this is still a joke, but in the future I would not be surprised if there is some kind of data system that keeps track of customers who have not heard from you for a while and then generates this data." Stephan van Maldegem, on the other hand, says he rather expects developments that will allow specialties and offers to be highlighted even better in Piazza dei fiori's webshop.
We would prefer to keep FreshPortal for ourselves
A must is good service with every deposit or point for improvement, the men of Piazza dei fiori say unanimously, and there is also great satisfaction about that. Recommend the FreshPortal system to other entrepreneurs? "Well actually not, the FreshPortal software works so well that we prefer to keep it just for ourselves" they reply hilariously. "Soon all our competitors will have a FreshPortal software package with a web shop and run as well as Piazza dei fiori. But all joking aside, as far as we are concerned, the FreshPortal software works extremely well and the threshold for joining is low. At least we are very satisfied with it."