24 June 2021
It was actually by accident that Ernst van der Linde ended up in the world of POS systems in 1992. More than thirty years later, NedFox has grown into a successful company with about nineteen employees. “We started in the digital Stone Age with my father-in-law. First, we worked with DOS, later it became Windows and now, of course, everything is online in the Cloud”, says Ernst. This interview is part of our whitepaper. You can read more inspiring interviews about online growth in challenging times in our whitepaper.
NedFox's origins lie in the garden industry and it still accounts for about 60% of its customer base. “Originally, I was an IT specialist and photo dealer. At the time I was automating the photo business. An acquaintance of mine asked if I could write a cash register software package for the Dutch garden centre group GroenRijk. We were the first in the Netherlands to make a garden centre fully scannable. Then the ball really started rolling.” That is how Ernst ended up in the garden industry.
The NedFox system is called RetailVista. “You can call it a POS system, but it is actually much more than that. It is a toolbox with all kinds of different tools, such as loyalty cards, cash register systems, gift cards and statistics. Everyone can use the toolbox and it can be linked to everything. You can link it to a financial package, a distribution centre or, for example, to the Garden Connect Platform. The customer can choose how to use this toolbox and how to benefit from it.
The online garden industry has received a huge boost last year and this will only increase in the coming years. Companies in this industry have learned to shift their focus to their online business. “Garden centres with a webshop experienced an extra boost in their turnover. Although I don't think it will be more than 10 percent. It is simply not that easy to sell plants online, but, of course, it is much easier for products such as barbecues, canopies and garden furniture. It is our task to process those web orders as effectively as possible."
Ernst says that some garden centres now receive up to 10,000 orders per day. "We have to make sure that you can easily order from the webshop with a mobile device, for instance.” Some of these orders come from the distribution centre, but often around 2,000 are coming from the store itself. This means it is important that this is done as efficiently as possible. “We are working on developing ‘guided picking’ to make it even better. That is very important these days.”
NedFox not only has customers in the Netherlands, before Covid-19 they were also regularly flying to customers in Great Britain. “We had just gained a new customer so now we had to explain the system to them, doing it remotely for the first time. This took some getting used to, but it can be done. We used to fly to new customers, but that is no longer possible. The fact that we are all travelling far fewer kilometres is a positive effect of the corona crisis.”
Together, Garden Connect and NedFox have supplied around 160 integrated systems. “We have been doing business with each other for over ten years and it is a real partnership. We help each other, we brainstorm and develop new ideas together. We just get on very well together.”