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December 2, 2021

Live images make KOA complete

Twelve-year-old Petra van Ginkel already enjoyed going to the auction hall with her father. “An auction is like a pinball machine: you have to press at exactly the right time.” Since corona, Van Ginkel has been working less at Plantion and has definitively embraced the ‘Kopen Op Afstand’ (‘Buying from a distance’ or KOA) system. “It saves me three hours of driving every day.”

“I have always had a thing for computers. I built my own PC as a teenager. But I was not immediately excited about KOA. The system faltered or the images of the products wouldn’t load…” Those teething problems have long since been worked out. Now Petra van Ginkel sits at home, behind her computer, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5.15 am. Perfectly satisfied. The purchasing is done at 8.15 am and half an hour later she can be in the shop, as she calls her garden centre. “KOA is fantastic, it saves me three hours of driving every day.”

KOA is dear to me

Last summer, Plantion placed cameras at strategic places in the auction hall so that online clock buyers can follow the entire auction process from home. Plantion tested this addition to the system with a number of buyers. Van Ginkel was on the test panel: “If I saw that a lot was being auctioned on my screen, while the information from the previous lot was still on there, I would let them know. For example, I passed on many things to Carlo from Plantion’s ICT department. I just want it to work, because KOA is dear to me. André van Kruijssen (Plantion’s General Manager) also knows this. He just texted this morning: ‘Your baby is doing great’.”

More feeling

Buying on the clock is a top sport, according to Van Ginkel. “A good assortment is essential for your business. It is quite an art to buy the right products all the time. That is why the live stream is so important, the images complete the purchase for me. You have much more feeling with the products than with just a photo. The information provided by the suppliers themselves is also not always completely reliable. I have been given pink hydrangeas when I had bought blue ones. That can’t happen to me now.”

Dwarf parrots

Tuincentrum van Ginkel is not your average garden centre. In the one-hectare building, you walk past indoor plants and cut flowers as well as cosily decorated corners with furniture and cushions. And in the middle of the shop there is a large aviary with dwarf parrots. “We used to have an aviary when I was young. As a child I used to watch the birds for hours.” On occasion, Van Ginkel has been invited to join the GroenRijk formula. “But then I had to halve the supply of houseplants. But our wide range is precisely what gives us our appeal. I do everything by feeling. I often hear from customers that the atmosphere here is great and that we are not overly commercial. The other day, someone said: ‘This is the only shop I can get my husband to go to’.”

Plantion Delivery Service

In addition to employees that have been in the business for years, Van Ginkel senior also works here almost every day. “My father usually collects the flowers and plants I bought from Plantion. And if that becomes too much for him at some point, I will make use of the Plantion Delivery Service.”