Updated: Aug 25, 2020
Ag retailers are uniquely positioned to add value for today’s grower. Each team member, from sales agronomists to office operations and beyond, plays an important role in the customer experience and the overall business.
As we think about how your team can continue to enhance the customer experience, that’s where digital comes into play. When you provide digital tools, your sales agronomists can provide higher-value touchpoints with their current acres and cover more acres. They’ll spend less time managing paperwork and more time doing the valuable jobs they were hired to do.
The value of “eCommerce-only” has a dim future in ag retail.
Why is this? Markets shift commodity prices, weather changes planting and harvest dates, and disease and pests impact yields. Input and crop maintenance decisions are fluid and ever-changing. All of these factors mean growers are always going to need their trusted advisors when making business decisions. Your team’s local expertise on field conditions, pest pressure, and more become your competitive advantage. These factors make your human assets, whether in-person or digital, suddenly irreplaceable.
Combining digital and human makes omnichannel strategies realized.
An omnichannel experience is realized when your customer receives a consistent level of service and value regardless of the channel they choose to do business; whether in person, over the phone, or digitally. In ag retail, enabling growers to access digital tools emphasizes the priority of meeting growers wherever and whenever they prefer to do business. When your customers have the service and relationships they value with the convenience of doing business the way they prefer, you have truly achieved an omnichannel experience.
Touchpoints can look different day to day, or depending on the time of year. Some days, a grower may want to request a quote in your mobile app or review his agronomic plans in the portal. Other days, the same grower might make a quick phone call to his agronomist or drop by the office to chat over coffee. The touchpoint - or better yet, the service point - will look unique because of the many factors impacting how growers do business today. Having options for your customers is what makes the difference. And whether the grower is in the field, the farm office, or on vacation, your high level of service should remain.
Benefit for retailers
By implementing a digital tool, ag retailers uncover efficiencies as well. It’s undoubtedly a challenge to keep your sales team current with the constant flux of information, like changing price lists that are often on paper. Your team likely spends a chunk of time playing phone tag with customers to confirm products, pricing, and more before a sale. By using a digital portal, you’re able to instantly update crucial information like pricing and stock numbers, through back-office integrations.
These updates keep your team and your customers all on the same page. For example, your sales agronomists can send digital offers directly to growers after an in-person meeting which reduces the number of phone calls back and forth and compliments your value-added service with a digital touchpoint.