Greetings from the SIMA show in Paris. One of the highlights of the event thus far has been an international dealer session, where retailers and distribution coordinators shared the state of their country’s equipment distribution model.

While there were distinct differences among the 8 global perspectives presented during the networking program, there were also shared struggles when it came to precision farming.

One example noted by several countries was the dearth of talented new hires. Finding, training and retaining precision employees is a universal challenge.

But presenters also spoke of the need to embrace alternative options for sales and service of hardware and equipment. Online interest in selling machinery and components is an emerging trend in a number of European countries, and many North American dealers leverage the Internet to buy, sell and trade precision hardware.

However, there was concern among panelists as to how much information should be available for public consumption when it comes to equipment. There were a few stories shared about bad experiences with selling equipment online and security concerns when posting too much information.

But there was also the thought that to keep up with consumer appetites, capitalizing on the benefits of established data-collecting models like Amazon and Google could be applicable to the ag technology market as well. Still, there is no substitute for local, practical knowledge.

Said one dealer, “We should know more about our customers than Amazon and Google know through an online click.”

Gathering data on consumer habits, tastes and purchasing priorities is gaining momentum, but there is little doubt that the value of a face-to-face conversation is still a decisive factor when it comes to choosing the right technology.