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HitchPin offers Storefronts for users

The free tool allows farmers to showcase products, services and branding in one place for customers.

Jennifer M. Latzke

October 19, 2022

4 Min Read
Farmer holding smartphone
NEW TOOL: The HitchPin app has rolled out Storefronts, a new free tool for users. The tool allows users to create their own URL that consolidates their HitchPin listings on one page to connect to a broader customer base. 12521104 /Getty images

The world runs on smartphones and computer tablets. With a swipe of a thumb on a touch screen, we can order rides, order food deliveries, and reserve vacation homes and flights.

Four years ago, the debut of the app HitchPin brought that convenience of the “gig economy” to farmers and ranchers. Simply put, by using HitchPin’s free listings, farmers can find custom service providers to help them during planting and harvest seasons. Rather than using classified ads and word of mouth, a service provider —  like a custom harvester, for example — can list their service, the radius they’re willing to travel, their prices and more. Customers can then hire and pay them through the app’s escrow service, just as you would if you were hiring an Uber or reserving an Air BnB listing.

By farmers, for farmers

Since its debut in 2018, founder Trevor McKeeman says thousands of farmers have built or expanded their farming enterprises through farm gigs on HitchPin.

McKeeman grew up on a farm near Enterprise, Kan., and HitchPin came from a desire to help farmers like his family and neighbors back home. Farm gigs and direct sales are some of the most popular ways farmers have to bring in cash flow and provide opportunity to expand their operations. He saw the rise of app-based gig services that use excess capacity and figured out how those functions might be adapted for a farmer clientele.

Today, HitchPin is headquartered in Manhattan, Kan., to be close to the farmers and ranchers it serves.

Storefronts

The next step for HitchPin was to create Storefronts, a new free tool for HitchPin users.

Farmers have always had side enterprises bringing cash flow to their farms, McKeeman explains. Whether that’s direct sales of produce or meat to consumers through farmers markets; or selling seed, hay or other crop inputs to other farmers, many farms have several enterprises.

But farmers rarely have the time or money to make a webpage or fully use the power of digital communications to broaden their customer base. Instead, they use word of mouth or classified ads to make those sales.

Storefronts on HitchPin gives users that URL footprint online. It’s a website personalized to the user’s business, wrangling all of their sales listings in one online location to share with potential customers.

Users reserve a custom URL for their storefront online, and it takes less than five minutes to set up, according to the company.  

“We took this ability to list any kind of product or service, and with Storefronts, we packaged it up into something that now aggregates all of your individual listings,” McKeeman says. “So, unlike other marketplaces, where you might have a listing here or there, Storefronts pulls it all together, and you have your own URL.”

Your website

It’s not Craigslist, or Facebook’s Marketplace with passive listings, he adds. Storefronts provides the infrastructure for farmers to not only list their products and services on a page or in a Facebook group, but on a website that has their custom URL address. Storefronts also process payments safely and securely online through HitchPin’s escrow function, and capitalizes on HitchPin’s search engine optimization capabilities to reach more customers.

As McKeeman explains it, Storefronts lets farmers get on with the business of farming, and gives them their own place on the Internet.

Even more exciting is how HitchPin’s Storefronts allows farmers to provide details and documentation regarding their products for sale. For example, a company may be seeking age- and source-verified cattle. Farmer Johnson has listed on Johnson Farms’ Storefronts page a pen of age- and source-verified cattle, and provides the third-party documentation supporting those claims. With a few clicks, that buyer can now see those cattle and that documentation, and buy them.

A more pressing example, McKeeman says, is farmers that are dealing with drought have spent days trying to find forage for their cattle — but their familiar, nearby sources are tapped out. By using Storefronts listings, a buyer can expand that circle and connect with a broader base of suppliers that they wouldn’t normally have open to them before.

Buyers can also find Storefronts of farms they regularly do business with and follow them on the app as well.

For more information about HitchPin’s new Storefronts capability, visit hitchpin.com.

 

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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