RD1.COM Expands Trial
The country’s new generation rural supplies and services business RD1.COM enters a new phase of its development with around 10,000 dairy farmers gaining access to its web site.
All New Zealand Dairy Group suppliers that are AnchorMart account holders will have access to the site from tonight as the company marks the end of its first pilot and moves up a gear into larger scale trialing and development.
Former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick is the guest speaker at a celebration dinner tonight in Hamilton for the 200 North Island dairy farmers that took part in the first trial of RD1.COM. (A ‘thank you’ event for Southland farmers in the trial will be held in Invercargill in a fortnight.)
Chief Executive Neal Murphy said the event was a celebration of the achievement of hitting this important development milestone ‘on time and on song’, and a ‘thank you’ to the farmers that had helped refine and improve the web site.
RD1.COM is integrating New Zealand Dairy’s AnchorMart chain of stores with e-commerce services delivered via the Internet and a national telephone call centre.
ASB Bank and New Zealand Post have joined cornerstone shareholder New Zealand Dairy Group in the venture that will offer advanced information, shopping and business-related services to all rural New Zealanders.
Mr Murphy described the milestone as the ‘end of the beginning’ for RD1.COM.
He said that results from the first pilot indicated a strong demand for rural e-commerce services.
“This site offers not only greater levels of service and convenience for farmers, but potentially whole new ways of doing business,” he said.
Results from the first trial show that 70% of the participants used the RD1.COM website and 70% were pretty happy with its service.
“That’s a good result for this early in our development,” said Mr Murphy, “but we intend to get a whole lot better yet.”
He said that he was heartened that farmers found value in the site at a time when it was still in its infancy.
For the next phasing of trialing, expected to involve around 3000 farmers, information and inventory would be much richer and more sophisticated, he said.
From tonight the web site will be accessible to all New Zealand Dairy Group suppliers who are AnchorMart account holders. This makes RD1.COM’s services available to around 10,000 dairy farmers in the Waikato and Southland, although only about a third of farmers have computer with an Internet connection – though RD1.COM intends to offer incentives for farmers to go online.
“The over-riding demand from farmers in the first trial was ‘more and better’,” said Mr Murphy. “Farmers know the value of the Internet. They want someone to help them better-harness its productivity and power.”
Mr Murphy said that the trial had also thrown up issues that the business needed to address.
“As well as bouquets, farmers weren’t shy in expressing when they thought things could be better. That’s what we want. We’re building a service that delivers exactly what they need.
“We’re grateful to those who took part for telling us exactly what they thought.”
RD1.COM expects to launch the new venture to all rural New Zealanders around May next year.
For further information: Neal Murphy
Tel: 07 8580606
Tel: 09 3766163