Gaining Retailer Confidence in Biostimulants
There is no doubt that biostimulants are here to stay. The category is dominating conversations and decisions across all sectors of the agriculture industry. One of the biggest barriers to continued growth is the gap between performance and expectations among growers. This has been the driving force behind a lot of the conversations - How do we convince growers these products work? However, there is another substantial challenge the industry faces - How do you get the channel onside?
The sheer number of available biostimulant brands alone poses a unique challenge for retailers, on top of trying to find a place for these products among traditional CP and fertilizer programs. N-Fixing biologicals in particular represent another barrier for retailers, as many of these products are being marketed as a partial replacement for conventional nitrogen fertilizer. It’s understandable that many retailers are hesitant to recommend a product that could negatively impact their established fertilizer sales.
At the end of the day, the channel needs to feel confident in biostimulants before they are willing to risk their reputation and potential customer base by recommending them. From other extensive research Stratus has done talking directly to retailers, we know that confidence in product performance is the number one factor that drives retailers to recommend a brand to their customers.
Impact of Brand Confidence on Willingness To Recommend Pre-Corn Herbicides
We have a good understanding of what drives retailers to recommend CP brands but there has been limited focus on how retailers decide whether to recommend biostimulants. What is the perceived risk? How do the margins compare to traditional CP? What are the main messages that manufacturers should be communicating to retailers about specific biostimulants? For example, not all N-fixing biological brands require growers to reduce their nitrogen fertilizer rates to achieve a yield benefit. For the more cautious grower who is hesitant to reduce N rates, there are certain N-fixing brands that will work better than others. The question is, are these nuances being communicated with the channel to help them effectively sell these products?
Stratus is launching a new Syndicated study in 2024 focused on analyzing different aspects of retailer confidence and determining what is required to instill retailer confidence in recommending the use of biostimulants in row crop production.
The study will help to determine the extent to which retailers see biologicals as partly replacing established products, the extent to which retailers are promoting biologicals and how their confidence in recommending biologicals compares to other categories.
The objectives of the Retailer Advocacy Biologicals study include:
- Identifying current retailer attitudes towards biologicals.
- Gauging retailer perceptions of existing use and interest in biologicals.
- Identifying which brands retailers are currently selling.
- Determining how margins on biologicals compare to other product categories (e.g. CP, fertilizer)
- Determining why some retailers don’t sell biologicals and what might change their minds.
- Identifying how knowledgeable retailers are about biological categories and companies.
- Determining how confident retailers are in the performance of the brands they sell.
- Determining how confident retailers perceive their customers are in biologicals.
- Measuring what retailers have done to engage with their customers in this segment.
- Determine steps manufacturers can take to strengthen retailer confidence in their products.
- Identifying what kind of interactions or support retailers currently have from manufacturers.
- Assessing retailer confidence in biological manufacturers (CP company vs. private label)
- Identifying importance of factors impacting retailers’ willingness to recommend biologicals.
The study will be launching in the US in early 2024.