Technology in service of people (not the other way around)
Setting up the Click and Collect store involved more than just technology. It was a completely new approach for virtually everyone in the organization. Farmlands had to get its people and processes up to speed, all while under lockdown.
“We had to train store employees on how to take orders, pull products from the shelves, and assemble them at the front of the store for drive-through pickups—and make sure all the data was reflected in the systems,” says Reidie.
Farmlands faces the added challenge of working with employees and shareholders who have a wide range of technology skills. Some employees still tracked inventory on paper, while others were fully versed in digital systems. It’s the same for shareholders.
“Some farmers still use a pencil and paper to record daily temperatures and rainfall, or to keep track of their sheep counts,” Reidie says. “COVID-19 has pushed more people to go digital, but it’s an ongoing process.”
For Farmlands, that’s a good reminder to find a good balance between technology and its traditional strength, providing personal guidance to the farmers and ranchers it serves.
“In a Farmlands store, the average shareholder interaction lasts 20 to 30 minutes,” says Reidie. “People come in with a problem, and they’re looking for someone to help them find a solution. They come to us for advice.”
As the e-commerce site evolves, it needs to mimic that in-person exchange as much as possible. The goal is to provide a lot of product information and comparisons, helping people understand their options and making it easy to find what they need. Today, Farmlands and Datacom continue to iterate on the Click and Collect solution, adding richer educational content and marketing capabilities. The site is a launching point for the co-op as it works toward a full e-commerce platform, eventually using Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target to create rich, personalized experiences for its shareholders.
The digital journey continues at Farmlands
Reidie knew his organization’s transformation would be a journey, but he couldn’t have anticipated all the bends in the road—or how far Farmlands would go. With an integrated technology stack, the Click and Collect solution has given Farmlands a strong foundation for its e-commerce initiative, through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. That will be essential as the co-op continues to orient itself toward what farmers and ranchers will need in the future, not just today.
“While circumstances are outside of our control, we made the most out it and are excited about the future of Farmlands e-commerce,” said Reidie. “We have a system that works while under COVID-19 restrictions and can support us easily in the future. We’re excited about how the Adobe, Microsoft, and Datacom partnerships enable us to best serve our shareholders.”