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Energy & Commodities

Six E-commerce Misconceptions Limiting Agribusiness Success

Despite not being a new concept, e-commerce can be an intimidating change for agribusinesses that have built their reputations on personal relationships. The objections are plenty:

“Installing a screen between buyer and seller seems impersonal.”

“This business isn’t big enough to warrant an e-commerce platform.”

“Sales teams are better equipped to handle customer requests than a computer ever could be.”

When ag retailers buy into these misconceptions, it can prevent them from even considering digital solutions, which is a big mistake as there are significant benefits.

“The three biggest things you gain by having e-commerce are: one, a better relationship with your customer because you know more about them and they know more about you,” says Jon Panella, Group Vice President, Global Strategy and Consulting for Publicis Sapient, “two, the ability to offer more products than you normally would, and three, high-level data that gives detailed insights about the products you’re selling and those you’re not.”

Here, we work through and refute the six most common objections.

1.  E-commerce is impersonal

An experience-led platform is designed to seamlessly guide customers where they need to go, all while recreating the experience of talking to a knowledgeable sales rep. First, ag retailers must understand what their customers want offline, then deliver it online. The businesses that succeed in e-commerce are intentional about the interface, user experience and overall customer journey.

2.  E-commerce will kill your traditional sales channels

Agribusinesses often balk at implementing e-commerce platforms because they’ve long relied on sales teams to fulfill their customers’ needs. The reality is that these traditional sales channels are an essential part of supporting digital solutions. Today’s customers tend to rely on sales calls for some purchases and turn to online platforms for others.

3.  E-commerce only benefits the big players

While extensive platforms with an abundance of functions can work well for large companies with the staff and revenue to support them, e-commerce options come in all shapes and sizes. Smaller retailers have options, too. Once an agribusiness understands what its customers want and what it can successfully deliver, it can find an e-commerce partner/vendor to help create the right solution. 

Two Men Talking

4. E-commerce is all about maximizing revenue

Businesses that focus solely on the sales numbers miss a big part of what e-commerce is all about: improving the customer experience. Online solutions often have added value for the customer, empowering them thanks to the convenience, time saving and increased efficiency of e-commerce.

5.  E-commerce makes retail more complicated

Agribusinesses new to the e-commerce realm often try to do too much, resulting in low adoption rates. The best approach is to start small and scale up as needed. By using customer data and analytics to inform digital solutions, companies avoid taking on more than they can handle.

6.  E-commerce is a one-and-done endeavor

Ag retailers must continue to monitor, add to and improve their digital platforms over time. Like any technological solution, e-commerce platforms require consistent care to stay relevant. Customer feedback and expectations may also highlight opportunities to improve the e-commerce experience.


Get Started with E-commerce

By finding a way to integrate traditional sales channels with a user-friendly, well-considered e-commerce platform, you can move forward with the sales teams’ blessing and gain maximum results.

Michael Guzman
Michael Guzman
Group Vice President

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