Peter Gunning, CEO at Grafenia : "Printers need to sell more than print to prevent their customers go elsewhere for eCommerce and booking apps"

Following my previous interviews of online printing leaders in Europe, I’ve discussed this week with Peter Gunning, CEO at Grafenia, about how his company went through the Covid Crisis. Peter gently accepted to answer my questions about it, and also about this new business model Nettl is rising amongst local printing companies.
Ludovic : Hi Peter, thanks for accepting this invite. How did the lockdown impacted Grafenia in the past months ?
Peter Gunning : Hi Ludovic. At Grafenia, we started to see events and exhibitions getting cancelled late January. In February, we were thinking this was going to have a big impact, so we sent our Nettl store teams home and they all worked remotely. We kept our production facilities open and we pivoted to making masks and sneeze guards. Litho printing slowed down considerably,but we’ve been doing lots of covid-secure stuff, and clients were still asking us to work on websites and ecommerce web shops. I guess a lot of businesses were using the time to think about what their ‘digital future’ looked like – upgrading to take online orders and click and collect.
The fast digitization that Covid generate validate in some ways the Nettl model, right ?
Print will recover, as usual. But to survive, printers need to be able to help their clients with ecommerce and booking apps. Otherwise, they go elsewhere for that, and then may not return for print. The Nettl system helps printers and designers to do the things that clients want, online and off. It might start with covid-secure floor stickers. Or the need to add curbside collection options to their website. It leads to whatever clients need to promote themselves.
So I understand that the pandemic period has been very dynamic in terms of partner acquisition ?
Yes, definitely. We’ve grown the Nettl partner network during the pandemic. We’ve added new Nettl partners in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands and the US, and we’ve now more than 230 Nettl locations operating in 10 countries. In terms of acquisitions, we’ve had conversations with lots of businesses already. The UK Government has been very supportive so far and the ‘furlough’ scheme has saved many jobs. Also, businesses were able to apply for ‘no questions asked’ loans of £50,000. That has definitely helped many businesses to keep going. The crunch time is going to come when the government assistance stops. If volumes aren’t back to normal, things could get ‘spicy’. We can help otherwise good businesses to trade through and come out the other side.

Are you still open to acquire new partners ?

Yes, printers can take contact us to start the conversation about potential acquisition via this URL :

Thanks Peter !