5 Mobile Use Trends Shaping Ag Retailers

There is no doubt mobile technology for ag retailers is no longer a trend, but a necessary way of doing business. The question of whether or not they will adopt this technology is becoming less relevant. The more important question is: “How are ag retailers capitalizing on the use of smartphones and tablets in their profession?” Mobile technology is changing the way ag retailers communicate and do business. Retailers’ smartphones and tablets are always with them — and always on, connecting them with co-workers, growers, suppliers and information, regardless of location or time of day. Getting at the heart of how retailers are using this technology was the goal of the CropLife Media Group’s recent Ag Retailer Mobile Usage survey. Not surprisingly, the adoption rate for mobile devices has climbed significantly from just a few years ago. In a 2010 survey, 47% of retailers said they use mobile technology for business purposes. That figure has reached the 75% mark in 2012. Here are five key trends that are shaping the industry:

  1. Mobile device of choice varies greatly. With so many smartphones and tablets on the market today, it’s difficult to choose between them all. This was not the case as recent as 2010, when BlackBerry was the clear-cut No. 1 choice among the mobile business crowd. More options in mobile may be why BlackBerry has lost its lead, and why ag retailers are now fairly evenly spread across the board in their selections. The top four most-used mobile devices among ag retailers are Droid (29%), iPhone (26%), BlackBerry (23%) and iPad (18%), according to our survey.
  2. Computers are still critical to business — for now. It would be hard to imagine a world completely devoid of PCs. But as smartphones and tablets continue to skyrocket in popularity, some people have already abandoned their computers in favor of their do-it-all handsets. Ag retailers, however, still heavily rely on their computers. Only 15% said they use their mobile device more than their desktop/laptop computer, while 65% said they use them less. Looking long-term, however, 29% of ag retailers could “absolutely” foresee a day when their mobile device replaces their desktop/laptop computer.
  3. Messaging taking on a greater communication role. While the phone call is, and will continue to be, an important communication tool for ag retailers, many are using other options with their mobile devices. When asked what has changed most about how they use their mobile device for business over the past five years, 51% said “checking e-mail,” while another 30% said they “text more often.” In addition, 55% of respondents said they make business phone calls “several times a day,” which is significantly less when compared to e-mail (74%) and text messaging (65%). Nearly 90% of respondents said they message co-workers for business purposes, followed by customers (84%) and suppliers (64%).
  4. Weather app use remains strong. One of the most viewed articles on CropLife.com is “20 Best Mobile Apps For Agriculture.” When I compiled this list through research, it was virtually impossible to be as inclusive as I wanted. The list could have easily been the Top 25, or 50, or more. But the type of application that retailers are using most is clear: weather. Having instant access to weather information while working in the field is a must for the mobile retailer. And the numbers back this up, with 80% of our respondents indicating they use a weather app. Other types of ag-related apps being used most by ag retailers are agronomic (55%), commodity pricing (53%) and precision agriculture (18%).
  5. More companies are accommodating needs of a mobile workforce. Many ag retail companies are ensuring their mobile workforce have the right tools to do their job efficiently and effectively. Mobile technology is certainly one of those tools. An incredible 71% of survey respondents said the mobile device they use most for business is company issued, as opposed to personally owned. And for many retailers, one device is not enough. Of those who said they use a mobile device for business, 26% had both a smartphone AND a tablet.

I want to know how you are using mobile technology in your profession. E-mail me at matt@croplife.com.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “5 Mobile Use Trends Shaping Ag Retailers

  1. Mobile connectivity is a cornerstone of the Crop Advisors success in this ever changing competitive market place. They need to have all of their resources at their fingertips, as their quick responsiveness to their customer’s needs are becoming expected as the grower community itself becomes more technologically savvy. Mobile devices are allowing Crop Advisors to possess all of the reams of information that for years filled filing cabinets, milk crates on their pickup seats , and more recently their laptop computers. Now all of this information fits in the palm of their hand, and in some cases two hands if they are using a tablet. These tools are still primarily used for much of a Crop Advisors daily communication needs: email, contact management, phone, text and now, Facebook and Twitter. The need for instant contact appears to be the standard in today’s work environment. Gone are the days when you could get back to your customer in a few days to a week, now if he can’t reach you in the next five minutes he is calling, texting, or tweeting someone else.The ability to make contact with your customers is obviously key, but to be able to answer any and all of his inquiries is also expected. The information that is available to a Crop Advisor through his mobile device is limitless. There is the direct link to the World-wide Web, and it vast information for example, University resources and data, extensive diagnostic photo libraries, and access to every agricultural inputs manufacturer’s product information. This is great and necessary information. Now with the advent of mobile application tools, that you can downloaded right on to your mobile device, the Crop Advisors have access to a new and expanding set of tools which will allow them to do their job more efficiently away from the office. Our Crop Advisors have been using these devices to assist them in writing their pesticide recommendations and product inquires, field mapping and scouting, and writing and communicating the delivery of customer orders. The amount of time that was wasted in the past, as Crop Advisors had to return to the office after a morning of field scouting to research product information, write up orders for delivery, price out invoices, all before needing to head back to the field for more scouting is staggering. Now, through the use of mobile devices we are able to keep our Crop Advisors out in the field, and in contact with our customers.

Matt Hopkins Stories

Matt Hopkins5 Misguided Reasons Why Ag Retailers Are Not Using Social Media
June 2, 2014
These most commonly cited reasons for not embracing social media need to be re-examined. Read More
Matt HopkinsHow iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences
March 12, 2014
Dow AgroSciences' Tiffany Galloway discusses how iPads and mobile apps have completely changed the way the company's sales force interacts with customers. Read More
Matt HopkinsPrecision Agriculture: 6 Mobile Use Trends To Watch
March 3, 2014
The convergence of precision agriculture and mobile technology is highlighted by several key trends. Read More

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara I…
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScien…
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechEPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide
October 15, 2014
The Enlist Weed Control System, breakthrough technology to fight resistant and tough weeds, has received the long-awaited green light from federal regulatory authorities. Read More
MicronutrientsGypsum On Farms Could Help Keep Water Clean, Not Green
October 14, 2014
Gypsum, which has roots in the past as a farm soil treatment, also may have a bright future, and not just as a booster of crops but also as a protector of water. Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsVerdesian Grows Sales Staff
October 14, 2014
The new account managers will drive sales growth and support relationships with key customers in the plant nutrition and seed treatment and inoculants product categories. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
October 14, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Purchases Six Grain Elevators, Four Agron…
October 14, 2014
The Andersons has acquired Auburn Bean and Grain of Auburn, MI, which will increase the storage capacity of its Grain Group by about 13%. Read More
StewardshipThree Ohio Ag Retailers Honored With 4R Certification
October 13, 2014
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced its first three agriculture nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More