We have been hot and heavy into fall selling time of show calves in the United States, and it seems as every Tom, Dick, and Harry is putting on an online sale. I must get 20 e-blasts per day about an "online sale" that ends this weekend. Most from farms I have never even heard of. Worse yet are the ones for lamb and pig sales, don't they know I could care less about a pig sale!
I have loved how technology has changed the way we can get in touch with our customers. And the evolution of the way sales take place has been very positive. Technology has given even the small breeder the opportunity to auction off their product without incurring the HUGE costs associated with an actual auction. First it started with pasture bid-off sales, sometimes called private treaty sales, now it has moved to a completely web based world of online sales with absolutely no human interaction required. Just a computer, a mouse, and a credit card. Don't get me wrong. I had dreamed about this day ever since the first time I used eBay, but now, enough is enough.
This is my personal opinion, but I truly believe people are going to get tired of having to bid on every animal they purchase. I really loved the days of just traveling to someones farm, spending a 1/2 a day looking at cattle and talking about everything under the sun. Then over lunch, haggling with the owner on a package price for a nice set of heifers. If I had my trailer with me, I could load them up right there, and if I didn't, I knew when I left that I either had the cattle bought, or I didn't. I didn't not have to wait 2 weeks to see if some "mystery person" bumped my bid, and now the 1 heifer I really wanted was priced too high, and the 4 that I was not really that excited about are now mine. Maybe I really didn't want the 4 if I did not get the one? Maybe the 1 at the price I bid made the whole 8 hr drive with the trailer worth it?
As much as people love technology, they are going to get tired of it. E-blasts that do not target specific clients will start hurting you, rather than helping. And "online sales" are going to become the new "old" old way of selling cattle. Technology is great when used wisely, but don't forget about a little face time, and every calf does not need to go to the "highest bidder."