AgVend is launching to provide retailers with two e-commerce solutions. The first is the public marketplace, where buyers can search and buy crop protection inputs. The second is a digital storefront that retailers can use on their own websites with their own branding.
The site launched in December 2017. Currently, the company has independent retailers participating in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. And the company says its plan is to be nationwide before harvest 2018.
“The industry is ready to experiment and figure out how to evolve. We designed AgVend to increase convenience for farmers and for retailers,” says co-founder Alexander Reichert. “We talk about the ag economy causing farmers to be more price sensitive—but it’s making them time sensitive as well.”
The site’s marketplace directs users to give a product and zip code to begin the search. The results include products, bundled services (ex: application), price and delivery options (pickup or delivery). The location is known at this point in the search; however the exact retailer is unknown. The retailer can select its delivery charges for the product, or offer free delivery.
The order can be paid online via credit card or direct bank deposit. Reichert says they use a processing partner that directly connects to bank account---without a delay.
After check out, the retailer partner is revealed for pickup and delivery contact information.
“Our research showed that farmers truly value the relationship with their retailers, but they wanted to be selective in how they purchase products and then how services are bundled with those products,” Reichert says. “In these economic times, farmers are willing to drive to pick up product or pay for delivery if they are able to confirm they are going to save money and time. However, they aren’t willing to drive 30 miles to a retailer just to begin the negotiation.”
AgVend aims to add crop nutrition products by second quarter 2018. And the company plans to be in the Midwest in the coming months.
Currently, the company is waiving its annual member fee for their early retail partners. Additionally, retailers can select to limit their products so that they are only searched within a certain mile radius of any zip code. For example, searches are within 50 miles from a location or distribution point.
To build its farmer audience, AgVend is using a proprietary online marketing approach. The company is targeting farmers by search and social media behavior.
“Whether we like it not, we as consumers are being trained to have a much more personalized buying experience. It’s starting to bleed over into ag retail. We see this as a great opportunity for our retail partners,” Reichert says.
Reichert says the company is pegging themselves as a partner to the retailer to facilitate them meeting the customer online.