by Warren E. Clark
AgChemical.com launched its Web site in 1998 to help provide ag chem dealers efficient inventory control and save buyers money, too. At the Web site (www.agchemical.com), dealers, distributors, manufacturers and farmers buy and sell products at "best prices" for both parties involved in the transaction.
"We saw a critical need for ‘best price’ chemicals," says Jim Bolding, chief operating officer of the company, which is headquartered in Cary, N.C., and has offices in the Southeast and Midwest. With low overhead and a more efficient way of delivering products, AgChemical.com provides an outlet for moving inventory, according to the company.
Tim Garman, vice president of marketing/business development, points out that typical AgChemical.com customers are price-sensitive buyers who know their climate, soil type, crop protection chemical requirements, rates of use and usually do their own application. "They’re looking for custom quantities at the lowest possible price and delivery when they need the product," he says.
At AgChemical.com, buyers complete an online request for bid and receive an immediate response with the current best prices.
Buyers know exactly what they will pay, including shipping. Sellers pay the fee to AgChemical.com. No sale is final until approved credit and verification of all pesticide licensing for those items that are listed as restricted-use pesticides. Then AgChemical.com arranges for the product to be picked up from the seller and shipped to the buyer. "This ensures the buyer and seller maintain their anonymity," Garman says.
AgChemical.com’s goal is to provide farmers and ag retailers with the products they need when they need them, Garman says. All products are priced to include delivery to the specified location in the original manufacturer’s packaging, all seals in place, and free from damage. If the product received is not to the individual’s satisfaction in terms of age, condition or damage as a result of transportation, AgChemical.com will replace the product.
AgChemical.com has contracts with all of the major common carriers in the country, Bolding says. Products are shipped on carriers at AgChemical’s discretion based on timing and location of product destination. All merchandise is insured until the items are unloaded at the buyer’s location. Any damages that result from shipping will be handled directly through AgChemical.com.
In addition, AgChemical.com is responsible for all freight claims and product replacement in the unfortunate and unlikely event of damage during shipping. The customer service department coordinates tracking of shipments, monitoring of unfavorable shipping climates, appointments, etc.
HELP FOR DEALERS
A real advantage, Garman notes, is that AgChemical.com can offer ag retailers the ability to expand their market from local to national. "AgChemical.com is licensed to sell restricted-use and general-use pesticides in all major agricultural states," he says. "This immediately opens these markets for dealers without the headaches of needing their own state licensing."
AgChemical.com can bring value to dealers without compromising their customer base, according to Bolding. "We can provide ag chem dealers a ‘last look’ at bid requests we receive from their trade area and let them know what price point they have to meet to win the business," he says. "We are interested in establishing strategic business relationships with dealers."
Garman adds that AgChemical.com can help dealers better manage their cash flow by providing them a channel to move products. "AgChemical.com can provide dealers with access to a broader spectrum of crop protection chemicals that include proprietary chemistry from any of the large manufacturers or generic compounds," he explains.
"This is free enterprise and the free-market system at work," Bolding concludes. "Electronic commerce is here to stay in all industries, including agriculture. We can’t turn back the clock." AM
Warren E. Clark is an e-business agri-marketing consultant based in Dundee, Ill. AgChemical.com is a client. He can be reached at Warren.Clark@AgPR.com.