Farm Progress

The traditional path from manufacturer to farmer is changing, thanks in part to tech and logistics.

December 22, 2022

3 Min Read
The bucket on this loader comes from Ignite Attachments
NEW BRAND: The bucket on this loader comes from Ignite Attachments, which was formed in November and sells only online. The web-based approach offers a new way for fledgling companies to reach buyers. Courtesy Ignite Attachments

There’s a trend unfolding in the ag industry, as innovative companies seek new ways to reach the customer. We’re seeing that in crop protection with companies like Meristem or FBN, who eschew old-line approaches in favor of reaching customers in new ways. And farmers are going to see more of this kind of marketing for equipment, too.

But what makes that possible?

The short answer: The internet. Yep, that online time-wasting tool is also a valuable platform for innovators to serve the customer. And while startups are taking advantage of the tech, we’ve seen examples of legacy companies leveraging their technology for better service.

I want to explore the case of a new company that popped into my inbox recently. Ignite Attachments in November began offering customers “budget friendly” attachments for loaders, compact tractors, excavators and other machines.

At igniteattachments.com, a customer simply uses Fit Finder to track down an attachment for a machine, places the order, and a few days later, receives the delivery via LTL carrier, a standard approach for heavier equipment.

This buy-direct approach may grow in interest. A recent McKinsey & Co. global farmer survey across nine countries showed 50% of farmers already do some digital buying. While it may be more popular in South America, it’s a growing trend with parts and equipment maintenance services, precision ag hardware, and farm management software. With new companies eyeing the virtual storefront, that number is likely to rise.

The founders of Ignite Attachments include folks with a background in the business. Trisha Pearson, business director, was involved in marketing intelligence for one equipment maker. Today, she’s using market intelligence to maximize sales for the new company.

“The team is made up of folks that have some industry experience,” she points out. “These are folks who know the industry, know manufacturing and know these products.”

The Moorhead, Minn., based firm already has a catalog of more than 56 products ready for sale with more on the way. Combined with its web-based Fit Finder, the approach makes finding and ordering attachments easier.

Looking back

Sometimes it’s fun to try to figure out if this approach would have worked 30 years ago. Short answer: No. Without Fit Finder, the ability to load in your equipment brand and model, and find the right attachment would have involved quality time (or not-so-quality time) on the phone working through a parts book with a representative on the other end of the line.

Then there’s the logistics of getting that order from warehouse to the farm. Frankly, speedy delivery has come a long way since the 1980s, helping ensure what you order arrives on time at the right place. While it isn’t perfect today, it’s a lot more efficient.

Powering a buying tool

Pearson is quick to point out that Fit Finder developed by Ignite is built on publicly available specs for the machines that their attachments work with. “We took the specs that were publicly available, and we’re constantly growing the list of make-and-model combinations that we have,” she says.

Pearson says that during her “voice of the customer” research in this industry, she found that often if customers want to buy online, they go to the website, determine the product they’re interested in and call the company to learn more. “And hopefully, they get in touch with someone right away. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t,” she says. “We took a great painstaking amount of detail to capture all of those publicly available specs to enhance the customer experience to those users.”

Ignite is basically building on the premise that farmers are ready to buy online. It’s a trend worth watching.

 

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like