Updated: Oct 26, 2020
We have a rule here at AgVend that if you are going to use a buzzword, then you better have a near-perfect understanding of its definition. Having spent a chunk of my career in Silicon Valley, I have heard my fair share of overused terms, like "synergies," "AI," and "machine learning," and more times than not, they are misused.
In the ag industry, our buzzword as of late is "omnichannel". Whether this word is being used in retail, automotive, banking, and now agriculture, it seems commonly misunderstood. It's often used interchangeably with "eCommerce" or "eBusiness." However, these are actually all unique strategies for incorporating digital tools into your business. Aside from differing definitions, each approach has distinct impacts on the customer experience you provide to your growers.
Before I go any further, I want to point out that there is no right or wrong approach here. This post aims to make you aware of the various practices and help you decide what best fits your business and your goals.
This term is probably the most misused one of the three. It also comes with the most emotional baggage. "eCommerce" refers to the buying and selling of goods through the internet, including the digital transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. At AgVend, we often qualify the word "eCommerce" with "transactional", as it very much focuses only on the sale of products.
eCommerce is for customers looking for an experience where they can "point, click, and buy." They search for a product, click the offer, and then buy entirely online without speaking to a sales rep or coming into a store. Due to COVID-19, eCommerce has exploded across most consumer industries. Digital Commerce 360 reports, "$200.72 billion was spent online with U.S. retailers in Q2, up 44.4% year over year. That means $1 in every $5 spent came from orders placed on the web during the April-June period."
From our experience with the AgVend Marketplace, we know the segment of growers looking for a purely eCommerce experience is not as big as some third-party disruptors may think. eCommerce appeals to growers that we call "Transactional Value Seekers", which is approximately 10% of the market today with a conservative growth rate.
eBusiness is any platform that utilizes digital tools in a business's operations to record, share, or access information. Today, most retailers are using eBusiness tools in some form, whether it's recording orders at the point of sale (POS) through an ERP system like Agvance, processing payments via John Deere Financial, or building an agronomic plan in AgWorld, for example. While eCom