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 [email protected].


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 Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Farmers on Tablet
Matt Hopkins6 Mobile App Trends Worth Watching In Agriculture
May 9, 2016
The agricultural industry is being transformed by the use of data. It is everywhere, and over the next several years, Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Farmer on social media
Matt Hopkins6 Compelling Reasons Why Social Media Is A Must For Ag Retailers
March 17, 2016
The evolution and growth of social media use among ag retailers since 2010 has been nothing less than astonishing. In Read More
Trending Articles
AGCO RG700 cab
OpinionRoadblocks To Precision Ag Innovation
October 5, 2016
On August 29, I got to preside over the PrecisionAg Innovation Series event, “Game-Changing Advances in Precision Farming Technology,” developed Read More
J.C. Ramsdell containment system
EquipmentClear Opportunity In The Tank Market
October 4, 2016
Crop prices may be down, but steel prices are too — and that’s good news for retailers looking to add some Read More
WinField booth Farm Progress
Special ReportsTalking Weed Management Strategies At Farm Progress 2016
October 2, 2016
The annual Farm Progress Show — this year staged in Boone, IA — is always a great place to catch Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Latest News
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Two Key Account Managers
October 13, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of two key account managers: Doug Hoberty and Rob Wier. Hoberty and Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Development Deal with Scherer Design
October 12, 2016
Deere & Co. announces a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering, Inc. to develop and commercialize kernel processing solutions Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Celebrates 10 Years Of Innovati…
October 12, 2016
Richard Rominger, former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and former agricultural secretary of California, emceed a 10th anniversary luncheon celebration on Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Industry NewsVive Crop Protection Closes Financing To Support Corpor…
October 11, 2016
Vive Crop Protection has announced the closing of growth financing to support 2017 commercial expansion. The financing was led by Read More
SoftwareHD Precision Analytics Launches New Mobile App For Agri…
October 11, 2016
AGSentry from HD Precision Analytics is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers simple data service and actionable analytics tool. It focuses Read More
HerbicidesWeed Control And Soil Health Go Hand-in-Hand
October 10, 2016
Although many landowners may not give much thought to weed control as a soil health measure, Gared Shaffer, South Dakota Read More
Students Soybean Field
Eric Sfiligoj2016 Young Leaders Speak
October 10, 2016
One of the consistent cries in agriculture today is the need to try and connect with the younger generations, attempting Read More