Hearing the recent news that former retail giant Radio Shack may be on the cusp of filing for bankruptcy got me thinking about the last time I’d actually set foot in one of their stores.
It’s certainly been years, but I can recall a time when I made regular stops to the location near where I grew up. Back then, it was convenient to trek a few minutes to find an electronic component or gadget, whereas now, I can do that at any number of retail outlets or online.
Perhaps the potential demise of Radio Shack is an inevitable casualty of ever-changing consumer appetites for how and where we prefer to make purchases. Nowadays, it’s not enough to specialize on one area or product, and hope customers find you. Some precision farming dealers understand this, and one of the keys to staying competitive and relevant in an increasingly crowded market, is variety.
“Our overall ag customer base is shrinking and one of the things we’ve been emphasizing is luring in people in with some non-traditional products,” says one precision ag manager at a Mississippi dealership.
In addition to farm equipment and precision technology, the dealership also sells hunting clothing, coolers and other outdoor gear. The company is also a retailer for GoPro cameras, which have proven to be especially useful products to stock as the dealership recently began selling unmanned aerial vehicles.
They sell the GoPro units for $300 apiece and the precision ag manager says, they’ve had success selling the cameras as accessories with UAVs. During one week this past summer, the dealership sold a dozen UAVs, which also led to thousands of dollars in GoPro sales.
“Three years ago, when we began carrying the cameras, we had no idea we’d be selling ag drones today,” the precision ag manager says, “But having the ability to sell the cameras as an add-on, rather than sending business somewhere else, is convenient for customers and profitable for us.”
While several dealers in the area sell precision farming technology, there’s minimal competition for some of the non-ag products the dealership sells — one of the reasons the precision ag manager says they decided to break into the market.
“We’re not trying to be a Cabela’s or Best Buy, but our customers don’t have a lot of options to get some of the other items we provide,” he says. “Most of our customers are farmers, but if we can provide something else that catches their eye, or we can save them a trip somewhere else, we see that as a valuable service.”
The show floors of modern dealerships today often resemble retail outlets, with a variety of manufacturer-branded apparel, toys and accessories. But dealers are also making room on their shelves for consumer technologies that are useful companions to precision farming products.