b'Changing BehaviourJustin Funk, managing partner at Agri Studies in Guelph, Ont. says a platform like Agro.Club is just the latest in a shift to online sales which will likely become more pronounced as time goes on. A major area of interest for Funk is looking at future marketing trends in agri-retail.The industry has been talking about online buying and direct selling for years, Funk notes. He says theres often a slow adoption of new ideas in the retail world and among farmers. The speed at which an idea is adopted can be affected by that ideas compatibility with current thinking, complexity of the idea, skepticism revolving around that idea and how quickly early adopters are able to observe results.From recent research Agri Studies has carried out in partnership with Purdue University on the purchasing habits of multi-generation farms, one thing is clearbuying online is becoming more popular.Every bit of evidence we have suggests a segment of the market wants to buy online. Contrary to popular belief, its not always the younger farmer than wants to do that, Funk says.However, unlike other industries where physical retailers have been virtually replaced by online retailers, Funk says agriculture is still very much people-oriented and will remain so.As long as we have people in the field and there are bricksNeil Arbuckle has a long history in the ag industry, currently serving as managing and mortar retailers, I think online ordering is going to bedirector for Agro.Club Canada.around but not heavily adopted to the point where it eliminates physical retail outlets. The human interaction part is going to be crucial next year and 10 years from now.But he emphasizes that being tech-savvy goes beyond just basic computer literacy and offering online shopping. Retailers perceived as truly tech-savvy use all aspects of technology to make decisions when it comes to farmingfrom equipment technology, precision agriculture techniques, soil sampling and biotechology.Im a fan of letting people do things theyre really good at doing. If your expertise is not in designing e-commerce systems, maybe its not something you should be doing. If your strength is providing agronomic recommendations, you should focus on that. If you can farm out the online platform piece to someone really good at that, then thats going to enhance the customer experience, he says.However, he cautions its crucial online platforms like Agro.Club dont become price-shopping tools.We cant let online buying get in the way of relationships. Retailers cant become complacent thinking this replaces their roleit doesnt. Its another tool in the toolbox to offer a better customer experience, Funk adds.For Baldwin, online buying platforms like Agro.Club will help businesses like Canterra Seeds, rather than hinder them.There is going to be a huge amount of change in the next five years and to have a partner to help us grow in this space is great. Its complementary to our current business modelitJustin Funk studies current and future marketing trends in agri-retail.doesnt alter it.Marc Zienkiewicz46seed.ab.ca'