Farm Tender

Ag Tech Sunday - Adding too Digital Tools Only Complicates

By Agvend

Your stack of digital tools is actually making things more difficult for your customers.

Today, there seems to be an app for just about anything. Need to grab some milk? Order it from the grocer’s app for curbside pickup. Have a check to deposit? Open your bank’s app and snap a photo. While these tools are exceptionally helpful in our consumer lives, most businesses only have one app that they use as a single experience for the customer. As more and more ag retailers add digital tools to their operations, it will become increasingly important to follow a similar strategy as their consumer-focused peers.

Over the past decade, ag retailers have trialed multiple ag technology solutions to provide more information and value for their customers. The problem is that most of these software programs operate in a closed environment. This means they do not work in conjunction with other systems to maximize value or efficiencies for growers or the retailer. Together, multiple products create a patchwork of applications that at times actually make it harder to do business with the ag retailer.

On average, a grower uses five different digital tools regularly to help manage their operation. Often these are a mix of apps and mobile web pages that were originally designed for use on a desktop device. To further complicate the situation, each system requires its own set of login credentials. Additionally, different digital interfaces means that one must learn how to navigate each tool separately. And this doesn’t just impact growers, ag retailers face similar problems.

Due to the lack of integration among these solutions, the retailer often needs to do extra back-end work to make use of the data, which creates redundancies. For example, sales agronomists may have to enter a grower’s plans twice, once in an agronomic tool and once in the ERP system when the products are ordered. Quoting is another area of inefficiency. Ag retailers often share that their current process is spread between text messages, emails, and printed spreadsheets. Inconsistencies in this area not only draw out the time between the first quote and the close of a booking or sale, but also make it difficult to keep track of all the details. These challenges are all too common for today’s grower and their ag retailer.

Bottom line: Digital tools operating in a closed environment don’t improve anyone’s workflow.

 So what’s the solution? Instead of adding one more app to their offerings and building on to the patchwork, ag retailers should aim to streamline their entire user experience in order to maximize the value they bring to growers.

When the user experience is simplified, everyone saves time.

Growers won’t have to remember multiple passwords or dig through five different apps and websites to retrieve the key information they need to run their operation. With a single mobile experience, a grower can check their available credit while confirming a recent purchase, or review their agronomic plans and then confirm the order of those products. All of these tasks can be done in seconds from the farm, the cab, or the office, which makes it easier for customers to do business where it is most convenient for them.

Sales agronomists, on the other hand, can get back an average of ten minutes per grower per week by having data readily available in a centralized platform. Multiply those ten minutes by 45 growers, and we get an average of 390 hours saved each year just by implementing a streamlined digital solution. By having all information from multiple systems in one mobile app, sales teams no longer need to be tied to their desks, giving them more time for high-value interactions with their customers.

“When using digital quoting through the Grower Portal, it saves time and automatically creates the booking. It saves me at least five minutes per booking, plus it eliminates the 2-3 phone calls I would have to make each time following up with the office and the grower.” Dylan Davidson, Agronomy Account Manager, River Valley Cooperative

Before adding another app to your business’s offering this year, look for solutions designed to connect your array of existing digital tools.The AgVend Grower Portal and our Ecosystem of ERP, precision, and basic manufacturer partners does just that. We provide a single location for sales teams and growers to communicate and access essential information. An offering like this can break down silos between technology interfaces to better link teams with their customers, and give growers greater access to their trusted retailer.

In 2021, ag retailers should incorporate technology that saves time while making it easy for the grower to do business with them wherever, whenever, and however they choose. Sewing together that patchwork of digital tools into one cohesive user experience creates efficiencies for both the retailer and the grower. That’s pretty different than “just another app”.

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