In conversation with Chris van Antwerpen
At GBG they find two things very important: moving along with customer wishes and being able to produce the assignments themselves. As a result, in 2020 they supply a lot of printed corrugated cardboard. A product that they cleverly use during the corona crisis as a cheaper alternative to partition walls. At the beginning of April 2020 , they successfully started selling their cardboard walls online. Director Chris van Antwerpen talks about the developments towards the online print shop.
GBG is a total supplier within the print market. “We have grown from a traditional printing company to a wider range of digital print, signage and cardboard,” Chris explains. “You can no longer exist from standard printed materials alone. Our growth lies in carton. Corrugated board productions such as displays have become our core business. We do over 90 percent of all this work ourselves. That makes us strong: we guarantee the quality and delivery times ourselves.”
Strong from the credit crisis
The corona crisis is not the first crisis Chris faced. “The credit crisis in 2008 was a turning point. A positive one, that is. We have grown from 12 people to 32 employees. That has everything to do with the fact that we were always putting new products into production. Did a customer want something we couldn’t make yet? Then we made sure we put it into production. The opposite was also true. When there was no longer any demand for a product, we divested production.”
This ensures that the company has a good buffer in the current crisis. “Of course we miss the peaks where we get the most profit from. Nevertheless, we were able to respond quickly to the new situation. A friend of mine has a hair salon and wanted to place partitions in it. However, plexiglass walls are far too expensive for such entrepreneurs. The question arose whether I could do something with corrugated board. That was on Sunday. Immediately on Monday I sat down with my designers to come up with fun and affordable corrugated cardboard walls. On Friday evening we were able to go live with the offer for this.”
Offer in a week online
For these quick actions, they worked with great effort on the products and on the webshop where the products had to be offered. “We already had a Prindustry webshop. Years ago we achieved a nice turnover with this shop. When the major internet printers emerged, however, we put our webshop on the back burner. Just before the crisis, the idea came up to tackle this again, but with a specific product instead of the entire range. And only with our own products. All this was accelerated by the plan of the corrugated board walls. Within a week we prepared this product range in the ‘old’ webshop, with a lot of help from the guys at Prindustry. Entrepreneurs can easily order the corrugated cardboard walls online and personalize this with their own logo or text.”
The unique and inexpensive product immediately caught on, partly due to targeted social media campaigns. “Within the first weekend, we immediately shot from 0 to 50 orders,” says Chris enthusiastically. “On social media you can advertise very specifically in certain branches or places. For example, one day we focused on a group of dentists and another day on Rotterdam. In the latter case, we do this to combine deliveries practically in one route. What also helped was my friend’s promotion on the Facebook page of his hairdressing industry association. Many of his colleagues also liked this product. It is convenient that the walls can still be used after the crisis. For example as a display at a trade show.”
Looking forward and moving along
It is uncertain whether such fairs will take place this year. “This applies to our customers, but also to ourselves,” Chris concludes. “We always participate in a major trade fair in November. We are already working on how we will deal with this if this is not taking place. It is now more important than ever that we look at opportunities and new markets.”
Webshop.gbg.nl is a WhiteLabelShop from Prindustry. In this online print shop you can add your own products as well as the products of other print suppliers. The webshop is white label, so you sell everything under your own name, with prices that you determine. It is a fully automated solution for print ordering, order forwarding and invoicing.