Taking Stock: Will Online Shoppers Return to the Ring? | Earth
THE COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do a variety of things in our daily lives.
Whether it’s having a doctor’s appointment over the phone, arranging for your weekly store delivery to your doorstep, or enjoying your local pub’s famous Among from the comfort of your own home, the pandemic forced us to adapt.
However, one current trend that was alive and well before the pandemic was buying livestock online.
For years, producers across the country have purchased their sheep, cattle and goats “off the shelf” with great success.
But the pandemic has accelerated the conversion of these reluctant online shoppers.
As COVID numbers soared during last winter’s northern stud sales season, the number of buyers buying bulls without seeing them on the internet has also increased.
Part of this trend was necessitated by the travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19, which prohibited many buyers from interstate and, during certain periods, from different regions, from attending sales in nobody.
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The fact that most stud farms were willing to insure their animals helped to increase the number of online buyers, which helped ease buyer anxieties.
Their confidence was also boosted by easy access to Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for each animal that went under the hammer, along with videos and photos to back up the information.
It’s fair to say that EBVs have played a crucial role in the sale of many animals, as evidenced by the number of buyers who have referred to a bull’s “numbers” in interviews with Earth on their purchases.
However, as the world continues to push towards a return to normalcy, one can’t help but wonder, will all of those online shoppers return to the sales ring when sales season resumes?
Although I’ve seen the successes of buy-at-sight first-hand over the past year, I’m personally inclined to believe that most buyers will continue to see a sale first, rather than stick to online platforms.
There are a variety of reasons for this thought, but the most common one I come back to is that so many producers have told me that they “always like to have their eyes on a bull” in order to get a first hand understanding. of his temperament, style and general appearance.
Based on my recent experiences during the northern ram sale season, the trend of buyers wanting to attend the sale in person was alive and well, with most sellers making the most of the ability to handle the fleece of a ram and to see its general qualities.
In addition to getting to know an animal, many producers will continue to see a sale as an educational experience for their operation as a whole, even if they come home empty-handed.
They will always see the potential hours they spent driving to the sale as a worthwhile cause.
There is also the social aspect of attending a sale. People have been deprived of social outings during the COVID-enforced shutdowns and the sales have provided a great platform for friends to hang out over a steak sandwich or a cold beer.
Who knows, buying breeders without seeing them might one day be as common as having a doctor’s appointment over the phone, arranging your weekly store to be delivered to your doorstep, or taking advantage of the famous among your local pub from the comfort of your own home, but for now it looks like I’ll see you for sale.
- Taking Stock is a weekly opinion piece written by The Land reporters. The thoughts expressed are their own.
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