Why We Know a Little About Tractor Related Merchandise
Way back in 2002, I had just completed a 30-something page paper on "The History of the Internet". Now, at the time, it didn't have quite the history it does now. I was offered a job at a small town dealership after graduating- running a website and selling parts. These were things I knew nothing about- but you don't turn down that type of offer, do you? Especially in a small town. That website, struggling but still the largest in the country, was still an infant. I had to teach myself from the ground up- about merchandising, about the brand, about parts. I sold green tractor parts and sold green tractor toys. Back then, we'd get Precision toys in by the pallet load. People would order online, something still new, and something people did on websites.
The next year, I packaged myself with the website and was sold to another dealer(ok, I wasn't sold, but I did move). All of the trinkets and John Deere merchandise went with me. We started over, me alone in a storage room with a monitor and a keyboard. I hand wrote customs slips. I had two or three good competitors(they're still out there), and I loved it. As we grew, I had a staff, and we shipped all over the world. I still woke up in awe. Not many people did what I did for a profession, and I was unique.
In about 2010, things started to change. Customers were using marketplaces- and services like Prime- and just simply beating us. We joined them, but we had a hard time beating them. The writing was on the wall- and a radical departure was needed. Seeing that, I launched Tractorup.com in 2011. Again, I found myself in an old, cavernous warehouse alone. Now we sell different brands, own several websites, and sell lots of different things. But my heart remains with the tractor brands, even as those precious items have become a commodity, with the lowest price and fastest delivery getting the sale. I live and breathe these products, I know where and when they are selling, and there are less and less of you on the farm- but we're selling Americana- the idea of selling parts over the counter in a small town. I may not farm, but I have roots in the tractor brands. I married a farm girl. I remember John Deere ceiling fans, bar fridges, and really bad foam trucker hats. I've seen suppliers come and go, competitors and pretenders take a shot at it and then leave, and counterfeits shut down. We even have companies that won't bother selling to us because they want to sell to those big channels.
We'll compete on price. We have a real person answering the phone. We're not going anywhere, and we'll just be us, and do what we do, confidently. These aren't widgets to us, and I still get giddy when I see the latest Farmall or John Deere hat come out. Whatever the future brings, we're still a hometown company. Order with ease- we've got this.