According to the USDA, 23 percent of U.S. farmers purchased some kind of crop inputs online in 2017. That number is up from 19 percent in 2015 and 16 percent in 2013. It’s no wonder several new websites have sprung up in just the past couple of years to offer online purchase of fertilizer and crop control chemicals. However, one new e-commerce upstart has combined the best of both worlds — online shopping and local service from a brick and mortar retailer.
Unlike e-commerce retailers that charge a membership fee or act as a broker, AgVend has partnered with trusted ag retailers who are committed to offering their products and services online to meet the needs of the American farmer. As a result, producers can shop 24/7 through AgVend.com and select the offer that best fits their needs, based on price, delivery options, services, etc. The names of the retailers are hidden until the order is completed to allow them to offer online-only deals. Once the order has been finalized, the appropriate retail partner will reach out to the customer to finalize delivery or pickup.
“We understand that every farm operation is different and, therefore, has different needs, whether it’s price, services or special delivery requests,” says AgVend cofounder and CEO Alexander Reichert. “Because of AgVend’s unique structure, customers can still take advantage of manufacturer rebates, warranties and returns for certain offers,” he adds. “One might value the manufacturer’s warranty so he can sleep better at night, while the other may appreciate next-day delivery of the product so he can get it applied before a predicted change in the weather.”
With the AgVend model, customers can selectively choose the products and services they need, saving them time and money. Lance Petersen, who produces corn and soybeans near Rush City, Minnesota, says one of the things he appreciates most about AgVend is the ability to shop on his own time and compare prices from several different sources.
“I like the fact that the participating retailers are willing to share their prices online, instead of each farm or farmer having their own special price,” Petersen says. “So far, the pricing seems to be inline with wholesale, which surprised me coming from retail businesses. Yet, it allows for the person who is looking for a higher level of service to add on the desired extras through AgVend.”
Petersen notes, for example, that AgVend and a participating dealer in his area are able to custom fill a bulk container of herbicide.
“I only needed 120 gallons of this particular product,” he explains. “So it was very refreshing to find a good price on a chemical from a dealer that was willing to fill a bulk container with the amount I needed. The alternative, which is often the case with a wholesaler, would be to require the purchase of a full 250-gallon tote,” he adds, noting that he has no desire to go back to individual jugs, either.
As Reichert explains, AgVend currently operates in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest with plans to be nationwide by harvest ‘18. Meanwhile, the company accepts ACH or credit cards for purchases, but will be adding financing partners in the near future. Best of all, AgVend stands behind every purchase and works with the customer and retailer to ensure the highest level of satisfaction.
“We’ve done everything possible to eliminate the negative aspects found in current online shopping programs,” he adds. With some e-commerce vendors, those “negatives” include allowing a week for delivery and finding the time to apply the product yourself … which also means you have to own a sprayer or contract the job. By working through AgVend and their partners, the customer can pick up the product, have it delivered by the dealer, or even have the dealer apply it on specific fields — all without paying a membership fee or missing out on any applicable rebates.
“The products listed on AgVend’s marketplace come directly from the inventory of our Partner Retailers, which means these are the same inputs you have been buying for years … now just online,” Reichert concludes.
Shop AgVend today!