Marketing cattle online is becoming the next big thing in our industry, but with so many gadgets, services and technology available today it can be overwhelming where to even begin. So we talked to David Moss, co-founder of Agriclear, to help us hack into what buyers are actually looking for when purchasing your cattle online, and how to get yourself ready for successfully selling online. Agriclear is a new platform for producers to securely purchase and sell cattle online, and we think it’s pretty cool because it’s one of the first platforms that has truly simplified the process and made it safe and secure for both buyer and seller, by adding a payment assurance backstop to every transaction. Agriclear is backed by the TMX Group (owners of the TSX among other companies), and this gives producers across North America that sense of security and peace of mind when marketing online. Here are David’s top 5 tips that every cattle producer needs to know to help increase sales online.
1. High Quality Media Sells – take several high definition (HD) pictures from several angles and ensure the photos are representative of the entire lot being sold. Take several short (10-30 second) HD videos of your cattle, and ensure the environment they are in (i.e. on grass or in a feedlot) is clearly shown in the media materials. Click here to learn how to take better photos with your iPhone.
2. Describe Your Cattle Accurately – ensure you accurately describe your cattle, including animal type and kind, condition (green, medium, fleshy), vaccination program, implant program, and current feeding program. You want to ensure your description matches what buyers are seeing in the pictures and videos you have provided. If you are describing your cattle as green, and yet the videos clearly show fleshy cattle, buyers will have concerns. You want the reputation of always being fair and accurate in your description. This includes fully disclosing any poor doers, late calvers, or “neighbours bull” events!
3. Know Your Weights!! – this is absolutely critical! Take representative test weights often. Do not rely on last year’s results to predict this year’s weights. Cattle that do not hit the sale weight is a big issue for buyers. A missed in-weight will often result in their inability to hit specific finished target markets, and will “weigh heavily” on your online reputation.
4. Package and Prepare Your Sale Lot – where possible, package your selling lot(s) into uniform groups of cattle, including colour (breed), weights, sex, animal type, and program. Sort off any sick or compromised cattle. Take the perspective of a buyer. Build sale lots that you would want to buy, avoid trying to “hide” off-type cattle in your sale lots. Check out this great video with Brenda Schoepp on how to consolidate your cattle.
5. Be Flexible – listing and selling online is a relatively new phenomenon. You will need to be flexible and fair with your counterparty to the transaction. Shipping dates may need to adjust, cattle may get sick prior to the agreed to delivery date, your buyer may need a couple more days to clear pen space for your cattle, or weather may play a role in when both parties can complete the transaction. Communicate openly and often with your buyer, build that trust, and demonstrate your integrity. Creating an online market place takes patience and commitment from all parties. Doing your part in making the online experience a positive one. Selling online is truly a win-win opportunity for both the seller and the buyer, be a positive participant of this transformation in cattle marketing.