3 Common Challenges of eCommerce in Horticulture and Agriculture and How to Solve Them
Learn why agriculture and horticulture businesses need eCommerce, their challenges, and viable solutions.
Every industry is undergoing rapid digital transformation, and the agricultural and horticultural sectors are no exception. Largely driven by changing consumer preferences andtech-savvy growers, the evolution prompts sellers and buyers to embrace eCommerce as a way to conduct business. While horticultural and agricultural eCommerce delivers notable benefits for all stakeholders, there are some challenges that companies need to address to ensure a smooth experience on both the back and front end. Let’s explore the benefits of eCommerce for growers, the challenges they may encounter, and the available solutions.
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Why eCommerce for agriculture and horticulture businesses?
While the sensitive timelines in the agriculture and horticulture business may dissuade some from exploring eCommerce, it's time to reconsider, as the right eCommerce solution is equipped to support the industry-specific complexities and activate numerous benefits. Let's take a closer look at the benefits eCommerce delivers to agriculture and horticulture businesses.
- Expand Market Reach: As for all industries, eCommerce allows agriculture and horticulture businesses to break geographical barriers and connect with a wider audience.
- Improve Customer Engagement: eCommerce enables 24/7/365 access to products and information, establishing a direct and personalized connection with potential customers.
- Streamline Operations: Through an eCommerce solution integrated with other systems, horticulture, and agriculture businesses can coordinate product information and customer data across sales channels, leading to smoother workflows, better customer experiences, and more efficient transactions.
- Increase Sales and Revenue: By adopting or refining eCommerce solutions, businesses can streamline the sales process, build promotions and cross-sell or upsell strategies into the experience, and reduce overhead costs through fewer manual customer service inquiries and order errors.
- Gather Data-Driven Insights: eCommerce allows horticulture and agriculture businesses to glean insights into valuable customer data and purchasing trends that can inform data-backed marketing and development decisions.
What challenges do horticultural/agricultural eCommerce businesses face?
Every industry has unique eCommerce requirements, but the distinct nature of horticulture and agriculture eCommerce businesses is on a level of its own. Here are some of the challenges these businesses face and corresponding strategies for transforming the challenges into opportunities.
1. Marketing and Promotion
Horticulture and agriculture businesses, particularly those that operate on a smaller scale, may struggle to compete with established corporations and online retailers. These smaller businesses, and even some larger ones, may face challenges targeting specific customer segments and may lack expertise and skills in eCommerce marketing.
To address these specific challenges, businesses must leverage SEO, conduct marketing through many channels such as social media and email, form strategic partnerships, and work with experts who can lead in these areas.
2. Logistics and Delivery
Agricultural and horticultural businesses encounter many challenges with logistics and delivery. They must maintain product freshness and quality through careful handling and keeping conditions specific. This can translate to high shipping costs, limited delivery options, and complicated or delicate packaging.
To overcome logistics and delivery hurdles, horticultural and agricultural businesses can invest in temperature-controlled packaging, partner with experienced logistics providers, explore local delivery partnerships, and offer flexible delivery choices to buyers. They can also leverage the capabilities of a robust eCommerce solution to communicate, coordinate, manage, and track logistics and deliveries.
Another challenge these businesses face relates to seasonality. As many agricultural products are only available during certain times of the year, there are likely to be large fluctuations in product availability and irregular income for sellers. On the buyer's side, they may struggle to find what they need in the off season or suffer high prices for purchases from limited stock.
To better navigate the seasonality inherent in the industry, businesses can implement predictive analytics and demand forecasting to anticipate market trends and plan ahead. They can also create diversity with complementary products to provide a more stable income throughout the year, carefully select warehousing partners, and develop production strategies to ensure the year-round availability of certain products.
DynamicWeb Horticultural and Agricultural eCommerce Solutions
DynamicWeb helps growers, producers, and distributors sell their products faster, maximize revenue per yield, and empower customers with better ordering capabilities. With a simple and effective solution, DynamicWeb integrates with existing business systems, offering flexible, seamless solutions that are user-friendly and help businesses keep up with ever-changing market demands.
Industry-specific features include specialty shopping and shipping options so that customers can browse for products by shipping date availability, seasonality, bloom time, USDA Hardiness Zones, and other key specifications. DynamicWeb also allows businesses to provide customers with multiple self-service shopping carts to purchase day-to-day assortments while building future orders for seasonal campaigns.
To learn more about DynamicWeb's horticultural and agricultural eCommerce solutions, contact us today.
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