Stacy Anthony, CEO Ag Revolution LLC (7 AGCO company-owned stores with locations in Kentucky and Indiana ):
We have online sales for wholegoods with a digital end-to-end experience that happens with our customers through an e-commerce website. We also do the same through parts. We don’t have a route truck; we just use either FedEx or UPS right now. We’re looking at some next-level technology type tools to get our parts closer to our customers. We’re not yet into beta tests, but we will be here over year to 24 months.
Our online wholegoods is less than 5% and we’re about 5% on our parts. It’s growing slowly and we will continue to push that. We’re reconstructing our website right now to make it easier to do business with us, because we consider it to be our digital storefront. And I think that’s how you’ve got to look at this business, it’s got to have its own budget and its own expectations, and we’ve got to look at it as a digital storefront.
Right now, our digital storefront needs a little reorganizing and a more ease of use, so it’s under construction right now. Once it gets back up, we have anticipatory goals that would drive our parts business to about 10%, and our wholegoods north of 5%. We’re looking for a 5-point increase in the next 24 months.
Bob Sinclair, CEO, Sinclair Tractor (John Deere dealership group with 16 locations in Iowa):
Online parts continue to be a bigger factor. Our farmers don’t like to come into the stores anymore. They're busy and they want the store to come to them. Basically, we have three platforms we use. There’s a Deere platform for all the Deere OEM parts. There’s a NAPA platform for our NAPA business and then we also have one that we’ve created ourselves for our supply business and those showroom products that are a little tougher to find on the Deere and NAPA sites. And then everything gets combined, and we can put it on their account or take credit cards through our system, or even the folks who still have accounts receivable.
The John Deere system knows what our inventory is, and our customers can see that inventory from their phone. And as they order it, they’ll pick whether to pick it up or via dropbox option.
The parts department where they purchase it from gets a notice on their computer. And so, we'll contact the customer and solidify any details needed.
And so, we do a lot of different things, some hub and spoke where you buy online, you can pick up at a store, we’ll ship it to you. And then we have route trucks and outside salespeople who go out and call on the customers and deliver the parts. Some folks get them daily or a couple times a day. And then some people are on a deal where their route truck might show up once a week or once every two weeks.
Our online portion of total sales is above 5% and we’re well on our way to 10%.
Jason Searles, Sales Manager, Coleman Tractor (Kubota dealer group with 4 locations in Tennessee):
We’re probably at less than 5% now. We have developed and launched, it was a soft launch, a true eCommerce website. Like Bob Sinclair is saying, there’s an online part sales through Kubota that links the customer to their local dealer or provides them with their three closest dealers so they can choose which dealer they want to buy from.
“Customers no longer want to come into the store. They love the idea of being able to shop online, look it up themselves, and have the part drop shipped to them or have one of our trucks, or outside salespeople deliver the part to them on the farm..."
We’ve developed eCommerce website ourselves with the idea of it being true eCommerce. It will be kind of its own separate business. So, it would pull from our in-store parts inventory. However, it’s not going to be linked as an over-the-counter sale.
It is the mindset that we are trying to generate and increase true parts sales. But I 100% agree with Bob, customers no longer want to come into the store. They love the idea of being able to shop online, look it up themselves and have the part drop shipped to them or have one of our trucks, or outside salespeople as well, deliver the part to them on the farm.
Frank Lulich, Titan Machinery (Case IH dealer with 74 ag stores in many states):
Case IH has a system but it’s very cumbersome and I get maybe 3-4 orders a month at max. And unfortunately, half of those are by a guy that picked the wrong parts. As much as it kills me to say, John Deere by far does it better than anybody else. Their system, at least when I worked for them about 10 years ago, was just getting off the ground, but they knew what they were doing and it was a lot easier than even our system is today. Most of the time, we just have people email me or the parts department asking for something — not a true eCommerce site. I know Titan is working on something to that effect across multiple brands, because we have so many shortlines. It's a little more difficult, but it hasn't really caught on in the Case world yet.