It can be tricky to pinpoint when agriculture’s digital age began. Does it include, for example, growers texting in their order to a local co-op? Despite smartphones and the internet having existed for more than a generation, digital agriculture has remained an open frontier. Growers’ needs are ever-changing, and it is not certain what digital tools they will require of retailers in the next five to ten years. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced some clarity: the time is now for digital.
As a society, we have rapidly shifted into more remote and digital transactions. Take groceries for example. According to a Gordon Haskett Research Advisors survey, one-third of shoppers purchased groceries online in the first week of April, and 41% of those shoppers did so for the first time. This could be the sign of a permanent shift in more sectors, with people making more of their purchases online, even after this pandemic ends and local restrictions are lifted.
WinField United has long focused on building the tools to help growers do business digitally. Even before the pandemic, retailers and growers were increasingly recognizing the need to use digital insights. In 2019, using the R7® Tool, WinField United retailers accessed the latest data, insights and satellite imagery to make the most of millions of acres.
WinField United has also worked to help retail-owners add digital insights, marketing, supply chain and purchasing capabilities. By the end of 2019, about 80 retail-owners had partnered with WinField United to incorporate e-business tools, representing 71 live websites and 600 digital campaigns, through which owners can better connect growers to the right products for their fields without having to connect in person.
And as more growers transition to do more digital business, the best way to make sure they’re choosing our tools and retail network is to provide options. WinField United is now offering two options to help better connect growers to our retail network.
A customized retailer omnichannel platform – Advanced Acre Cx platform – that leverages digital fulfillment capabilities, online commerce and customized insights through ATLAS websites to help retailers deliver what farmers need, when they need it and how they want it.
A shopping experience on WinFieldUnited.com where growers visit to receive product information, select products for purchase and choose an aligned retail-owner to fulfill the order.
WinField United built these systems in preparation for a digital future and the current environment has only accelerated this need. We continuously improve digital capabilities in order to best equip our retail owners to meet growers not only where they want to meet, but where they need to meet.