How we built a marketplace that enables farmers to list and rent idle farm equipment across the United States.
Innovating in Agriculture: A Job for the Experts
Farmlink, a data science and technology company focused on making modern agriculture more successful, approached Crema to help bring the sharing economy to the farm. Known within the agri-business community for innovating within the industry for over 16 years, leaders at Farmlink identified trends in the way farm equipment prices consistently grow annually and strain farmers while farm equipment utilization remains relatively low at each farm. Leaders at Farmlink decided to prototype initial versions of a sharing economy concept and found interest among ag- retailers, COOPS, and individual farmers.
Equipment is an expensive tool required for successful farming. The cost of equipment can often exceed the price of the land for many small farms. What’s worse, is that farmers only make $.34 cents back on every dollar they invest into land or equipment. In 2015 the prices of commodities dropped drastically, slimming farmers’ profits even further.
Rather than being a strain on farmer’s balance sheets, Machinerylink Sharing allows farmers to put their otherwise idle equipment to work by renting their equipment to farmers near them. They can even make money as an operator of their machine working for another farm that might need extra capacity. This helps farmers make money they wouldn’t otherwise have from an idle asset. While on the renter’s side it allows small farms to rent the latest equipment while avoiding all of the cost associated with owning heavy machinery.
Getting the Word Out
Video has an incredible ROI for companies launching innovative new concepts. We created an explainer video and a commercial with Summer House Films to spark early traction of the platform.
Farmlink utilized a dedicated Crema team as an extension of their own internal product owners to aggressively bring Machinerylink Sharing to life in just 4 months. Crema sought to take a fresh approach building on the core prototype concepts developed by Farmlink.
The collaborative build resulted in a two-sided marketplace.
The platform supports ag equipment owners managing equipment listings, prices, and availability. A search and filtering made it possible to find the right equipment in the right location. Finally, requests, messaging, shipping estimates and online payments provide a complete transaction for Farmers and equipment owners to share the equipment and services.
While working with FarmLink’s product and marketing teams, Crema handled all aspects of design, user experience and development. Throughout the process potential customers and users were consulted on the experience of the app and its value to their farming operations.
Crema collaborated with the team testing positioning and messaging while measuring how users interacted with the platform. Throughout the process, we leaned on FarmLink’s expertise in the marketplace and the data gathered from client interaction to make pivots and changes in the product to continue to refine the value position for its users.
Multiple releases of the platform rolled out over the course of development. A splash page to prep the marketplace and grow interest in the forthcoming product was released early in the project. Then, a private Beta was sent to early adopters to start building inventory on the site and to start testing the equipment on-boarding process. Finally, the app was launched to allow searching and booking of all available equipment.
First of its kind, MachineryLink is positioned to change the face of agriculture equipment and services.
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