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Eveon Containers is celebrating its birthday! To mark this beautiful occasion, CEO and founder Aad Storm talks about the first year in container trading, starting out in the pandemic and why Germans are less traditional than some believe.
Hi Aad, Eveon has been around for a year now. How does that feel?
It's incredible. Time has flown by. It seems like yesterday that we registered Eveon at the Chamber of Commerce a year ago. I feel like we were just getting started.
What would you say has mattered in Eveon Containers' first 12 months?
We owe most of our success to the great team. From Aliaksandra, who translates our online store demands to our developers. To Sven, who built an entire supply chain and made it possible for us to give our customers such an accurate delivery time in the first place. All the way to marketing, where Nicole and Paul continue to find the best strategies to meet our customers where they are and give them the best shopping experience. And of course our great development team that has coded so many great improvements for our customers!
In addition, I truly feel that we have found the best in the industry with all of our collaborative partners. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
The launch of Eveon was in October 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. How did you experience that time?
We didn't plan for a global pandemic in our business case, of course, and it was also a big challenge. The COVID-19 virus upset international supply chains, which led to a major container shortage in Europe that is still ongoing. So container supply was actually a limiting factor in our business. We actually could have sold way more containers if they would have been available.
But from a purely business point of view aside: It hurt my heart that I couldn't thank our first customer in person because of the contact limitations. When you start a purely digital business like Eveon, you wait in anticipation for the first purchase. When the time came, it was a huge relief. I would have been only too happy to get in the car and hand her some flowers, and make sure everything was going to her complete satisfaction. Flowers I sent her anyway. But in the end, maybe it wasn't the worst time for us to start in a container crisis, of all things.
After all, the container supply was not only limited for us, but also for the customers. I am sure that many customers became curious about our advertising, our site and our offering. However, some buyers might still have had reservations about spending the sums necessary to buy a container in a brand new online store.
Not long ago, a customer - a buyer for a large corporation - said we were his last hope to find a container. I think the crisis has also made people more open to alternative offers and everything digital. That has played into our hands.
Before you launched Eveon, did you have any doubts about whether the business model would work at all?
I was very confident. Not one hundred percent sure, but very confident. Some friends and business partners did say: "The Germans are very traditional, are you sure you want to start there?"
But the Germans aren't that traditional, are they?
After all, my wife is German, and generally speaking, I know the Germans well. Well, sure, they can be traditional. Just think of the Sunday rolls or the hundreds of types of bread. But they are also innovative and open to new things, just look at all the digital startups in Berlin for instance. The traditional and the openness to break new ground are not mutually exclusive in Germany.
Most importantly, German customers expect high quality and this was the most important reason to start in the German market. We received so much feedback that helped us to implement improvements at a high pace. This was exactly what we were hoping for.
Eveon has been active not only in Germany but also in Austria since February. Is this just the first step towards an international roll out for Eveon?
As a team, we are incredibly proud to have made it this far and have big plans. Our goal is for people all over the world to be able to buy their containers with Eveon, and for container fleet owners anywhere to be able to sell their containers through Eveon. We are already looking forward to demonstrating that we are able to bring our business model to the whole world - no matter in which time zone or in which language. Eveon is built to scale.
The last 12 months have been very exciting. What do you expect from the next 12 months?
We will continue to grow, of course. But of course we also want to grow in the DACH market and improve our service even more, especially for the many returning customers we already have. And more European countries will be added. I'm sure that by the end of this year, at least one more country will be able to use Eveon Containers.
But of course we have other goals than just growth. Our business model has already brought a great deal of transparency to an opaque market - and our customers are already benefiting from this. We also want to achieve much more in terms of sustainability. Far too many containers are still being transported empty over land and across the oceans. We have brought on board a Sustainable Development Manager to further explore how we can make the container industry greener. We are already giving containers a second life by reusing them at their destination and offsetting the CO2 generated by our transport operations. But we want to grow beyond that and also work with partners and universities to promote green logistics.
Thank you, Aad, for the interview!