Agri-retailers need to know the ins and outs of new products to be able to best serve their customers, but adopting and understanding innovative technology can also strengthen the relationship between business and customer.
If agri-retailers can stay in front and be users of new technology, to be able to say, ‘We’re seeing this capability working with this tool, but we’d recommend this other tool for these issues,’ that kind of help on the ground is useful,” says Lisa Prassack, president of Prassack Advisors. “A lot of agri-retailers are thinking internally to their operations in terms of services. It’s helpful if you make your customer smart too – thereby increasing trust,” she says.
“A lot of agri-retailers have provided agronomic services for quite some time, helping farmers with harvest data, helping them to plan for next season and figuring out zones for soil types, etcetera,” says Prassack. “There are a lot of smart agronomists that have used these tools for years.”
Beyond making sure the latest and greatest innovations are in stock, product innovation comes with other expectations for agri-retailers. According to Prassack, forward-thinking farmers across Canada have been early adopters of many new innovations, including variable rate and other precision agriculture technology.
But agri-retailers also need to be aware that many farmers have not yet adopted precision agriculture or other sophisticated tools, and there lies an opportunity to add value to the customer relationship.
“If farmers haven’t gotten on the ‘Path to Precision’ yet, it’s daunting. There are a small number of farms that have gone full-bore and adopted all of these technologies, but there are a lot of farmers who haven’t started on this yet,” she says. “For a lot of farmers, it’s just not their skill-set. So part of an agri-retailer’s job is to help the more pragmatic farmer by offering tools that have been well-vetted and easy to adopt that will help them be successful.
Wherever your customers fall on the “early adopters” to “traditional” spectrum, the best investment an agri-retailer can make is in comprehensive knowledge of the options available. When you can provide the products they need as well as the information required to be successful, you build the foundations for trust and customer loyalty.