Digital Strategy Is More Than E-Commerce

Earlier this fall, the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) hosted a webinar on how ag retailers can find success with digital strategy. Here are four takeaways from the panelists, AgVend's Alexander Reichert, CommoditAg's John Demerly and EFC Systems’ Ernie Chappell. An on-demand recording is available to ARA members.  

1.Simply Put, It’s A Road Map.

Digital strategy starts with your customer. “It’s based on understanding who your customer is and paying attention how they want to do business with you. And then methodically activating processes. You think it’s a migration away from a phone call or paper, but it’s really about having a fundamental road map on reaching your customer,” Chappell says.  

Your business should have a firm grasp on your customers as a foundation for a digital strategy. 

“If you are a retailer and you don’t have a customer segmentation strategy or aren’t thinking about customer needs, you need to start there,” Demerly says. “Strategy is about where you dedicate time and resources, and it has to start with the customer first.”

2. It’s Not Just E-commerce.

“E-commerce is a hot topic, but it only focuses on the transactional aspects and experience. Point, click, buy. A digital strategy is much broader,” Reichert says. “It’s frustrating digital strategy gets conflated with e-commerce. Let’s change the narrative.”

3.You can’t buy your way in.

“You can’t outsource your digital strategy. It’s a culture that needs to be curated,” Chappell says.
Leadership will be key to success. 

“This isn’t build it and they will come,” Reichert says. “Digital strategy takes thoughtful leadership with a clear ‘why.’”

4. Early adopters will have fewer painful lessons.

The panelists say anywhere between 10% and 25% of ag retailers are winning with digital strategy today. Now is the time for ag retailers to take action. 

“If you wait, you’ll be in the late majority of adopters,” Demerly says.