Upstream Ag Insights - February 26th 2023
Essential news and analysis for agribusiness leaders
Welcome to the 157th Edition of Upstream Ag Insights!
Index for the week:
Q4 and FY 2022 Agribusiness Results Summary
Let's Get Phygital
Private Label Rationale
UPL, AgBiTech Expand Biosolutions Partnership in North America
GrainFox Launches AI-based Smart Advisor Platform
Scope 3: In the Spotlight of Climate Action
Global Crop Input Landscape Report
Croptastic InnerPlant Podcast: Shane Thomas and Matt Coutts
The New Gatekeepers
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1. Q4 and FY 2022 Agribusiness Results Summary - Upstream Ag Insights
This week I highlighted some key agribusinesses Q4 and FY 2022 financial results. This is primarily highlights, I will dive deeper into many of the major players financial results as their annual report gets released.
This week highlights the following organizations:
2. Let's Get Phygital - To Graze
If there’s one overarching trend of commerce in the 21st century, it’s the fusion of offline retail and online retail. The holy grail for a brand is to merge atoms and bits, building the customer relationship through both physical and digital mediums to establish a best in class customer experience. Ag retail is not an exception to this rule.
I would argue that offering a compelling integrated physical and digital experience used to be the bleeding edge of ag retail, but it is fast becoming table stakes.
Niall Haughey nicely emphasizes the concept around the financial dynamics of an ag retail. The reality is this form of thinking needs to be applied to all segments of the customer experience in ag retail.
Customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand and your businesses as a whole throughout all aspects of the purchasing and transacting process. It results in their view of your brand/business and impacts customer loyalty, revenue, margins, and a host of other key performance indicators.
Customer experience is not often emphasized, but it needs to be. We often think new products or services and overlook the more benign intricacies of creating a frictionless experience to something like pay a bill or access crop scouting reports. Just this week Canadian farmer Ron Krahn highlighted some of his views regarding ag retail in a thread on Twitter:
I have traditionally over indexed on a transaction journey for the customer:
The reality is that with any ag retail and the farmer, the customer experience is made up of somewhere around 7 major transactions (seed, fertilizer, seed treatment/inoculant, herbicides (x2…pre-burn + in-crop), fungicide, insecticide) plus well over a half dozen service touch points, such as soil testing, tissue testing, harvest timing, custom applications and scouting all on an annual basis (and often more). Each transaction and interaction can be a plus or a minus to the aggregate customer experience and ultimately, the relationship between the farmer and that retailer/retailer contact. Plus, there are the “in-between” moments of the transactions and interactions - such as ensuring the farmer has access to their invoices or visual into their credit availability without the need for a physical visit. These need to be accounted for too.
Uber and Customer Experience
When I think about experience, I often reference the Uber experience. It’s very easy to breakdown what Uber did to challenge the taxi industry: they reduced friction.
Friction occurs whenever a customer encounters resistance in the pursuit of their goals, wherever that may be (paying a bill, getting technical advice etc). And almost every retail has it at numerous points in their customer experience, whether in accessing credit, or trying to learn when their product will arrive or when their fields custom application has been completed. Any place that the level of friction makes an interaction feel difficult for a customer is a detriment to the overall customer experience. This contributes to lower customer loyalty, tighter margins and more stressed agronomists and sales team members.
Uber made it convenient to summon a ride and pay for it, they decreased uncertainty by using GPS visuals to show where your ride was with an ETA, they introduced a two way rating system to incentivize positive behaviour between both parties and increased supply of ride options over and above traditional taxi cabs. Previous to Uber, most of us tolerated these inconveniences.
Y Combinator founder Paul Graham talks about a concept he calls Schlep Blindness.