In a two-part series of episodes from the AgPro podcast, join three industry leaders as they share the key drivers for change in ag retail. These podcasts feature audio from a panel moderated by AgPro's Margy Eckelkamp at the 2019 ARA Conference and Expo. On the panel were: Alexander Reichert, Co-Founder and CEO, AgVend; Dave Thomas, Executive Vice President, Helena Agri-Enterprises LLC; John Demerly, CEO, CommoditAg.
The discussion includes how they see farmers embrace technology, who is engaging in e-commerce with ag inputs, and what the relationship with farmers looks like in the future.
Reichert shared, “I would caution, and we talk to our partners about this a lot, to not think and segment your customers into either offline or online. Everyone throws around the word omnichannel, but the real definition of omnichannel is this idea where you are enabling a customer to move through the different ways of engaging with your brand in a seamless experience. This is something buyers expect in consumer purchasing. That’s the challenge for ag retail to rise to and create a seamless experience that is truly omnichannel.”
Thomas said, “As a retailer, we have to be a solution provider and help growers get an incremental yield to get a return on investment. Farmers are fighting multiple factors to be competitive. So in a marketplace where they can’t control their market price and they can’t control trade, a farmer has to yield. The farmer has to get yield for every dollar they spend. And we have to be accountable to help the farmer figure out where to spend these dollars economically.”
Demerly said, “Keep in mind that technology is the enabler and not the motivator. So if the technology is the motivator, you oftentimes have a tendency to forget the customer. But if you start with the customer and understand their needs, then technology can be the enabler. I believe in the future there’s going to be a place for a wide variety of retail models. There’s going to be a strong need for a digital solution—whatever that might look like—to buy and sell products online and understand and manage logistics.”
Listen to the full panel discussion here: