This guide features online retail and marketplace options for purchasing inputs. Farmers are increasingly either purchasing inputs online, or using online services to price check and negotiate better prices with dealers. In 2017 in the U.S., 23% of growers purchased at least some of their inputs online, versus 19% in 2015 (USDA).
The types of online options for inputs break into two primary types which function quite differently – 1) marketplaces (faciliting purchase requests from buyers and allowing existing retailers and dealers to competitively bid on those requests), and 2) direct input retailers online, typically (but not always) discounted from in-store prices.
Many of the solutions included here only serve certain regions or countries, so please visit the profiles and company websites for full detail on service areas.
Common Key Features in this Guide
An online marketplace is an intermediary connecting buyers and sellers. In the case of online input purchasing, it typically serves to connect input purchasers with offline input dealers. This has benefits of providing competitive pricing for the grower, and ability to access new customers for retailers. Typically bids are given blind to protect the sellers’ identity until a purchase is made.
Online retail providers sell inputs that can be purchased via an internet-based web store. Sometimes these retailers are able to sell overstock or generic inputs at a discount to typical retail prices. They may be fulfilled through the mail or existing retail/dealer outlets.