Why Europe Must End Its 30-Year Digital Winter to Ensure Its Long-Run Future

Digital Transformations Help Small Farmers Find National Success

Niche markets need to scale their reach, too — and often, eCommerce is best way. 

And while the direct-to-consumer (D2C) landscape made waves with products like cheaper eyeglasses and other consumer goods that benefitted from cutting out middlemen at scale, the approach’s latest evolution is likely to come from more local markets. 

That’s why PYMNTS sat down with Cort Ouzts, president of POS Nation and Brooks Hitzfield, co-founder and managing director of farm-to-fork platform GrazeCart, to discuss POS Nation’s recent acquisition of GrazeCart and unpack how pairing GrazeCart’s software with POS Nation’s distribution capabilities and nationwide reach will provide significant growth opportunities for unique markets like local farmers.

Ouzts explained that POS Nation’s comprehensive approach includes providing a full turnkey solution for specialized retail at point of sale, including hardware, software, services and payments. This specialization allows them to tailor their solutions to the unique needs of each industry, creating a strategic advantage in the market.

“We’re looking for verticals that have moats that we can operate in,” he said, noting that the market for one-size-fits-all eCommerce solutions is already crowded, and that providing niche services to niche businesses can be a key growth differentiator. 

Built originally for his family’s business, Hitzfield explained that GrazeCart was designed to address the unique challenges faced by farmers wanting to sell directly to consumers. The platform gained momentum as it expanded to serve farmers, butcher shops and even fish mongers, providing a solution for selling local products online, especially in the niche of frozen meat products.

“There are a lot of consumers who are getting more aware about what they are eating and want to get closer to their food source,” he said. 

Digital transformation is increasingly the best way for that to happen. 

The Benefits of Transitioning to eCommerce

POS Nation’s acquisition of GrazeCart aligns with their focus on niche markets and adds a powerful eCommerce component to their portfolio. 

Ouzts highlighted that the acquisition checked several boxes, providing not only the necessary technology but also a specific software tailored to a unique group of users. The move reflects POS Nation’s acquisitive strategy, marking their fifth acquisition in the past two years.

From GrazeCart’s perspective, Hitzfield said that finding the right platform to support his farm-to-fork’s D2C efforts proved challenging. 

“We ran into a ton of headaches when it came to the technology that we’re trying to use, trying to use just these generalized services and platforms that were not built for our industry,” he said.  

“We had other farms who were watching what we’re doing and just were very, very curious to see what we were using for the technology. And that’s what kind of gave us this inspiration to take the platform, license it, and turn it into a multi-tenant SaaS, which we did in 2015,” added Hitzfield, noting that POS Nation’s expertise in onboarding, customer success and a larger tech support team will enhance the overall experience for farms. 

The goal of the acquisition, after all, is to streamline processes, facilitate easier adoption of technology, and provide better support to farmers navigating the challenges of online sales.

Looking Ahead to Future Innovations in Farm-to-Fork Commerce

Unique markets with their endemically unique challenges in turn bring unique — and attractive — opportunities. 

Ouzts emphasized the importance of providing an omnichannel solution, allowing seamless integration between online and in-person sales. The goal is to streamline operations, making it easier for farmers to manage inventory, payments and overall business processes. The omnichannel approach reflects the commitment to providing a comprehensive solution that adapts to the unique needs of each industry being served.

Looking ahead, Hitzfield highlighted the perhaps unglamorous — but increasingly necessary and pivotal — role of logistics, anticipating that improvements in delivery options and affordability will continue to play a crucial role in driving farm to fork and other niche marketplaces forward while ultimately passing on big benefits to customers. 

For his part, Ouzts cited the importance of embracing omnichannel solutions and streamlining operations to ensure a unified and efficient approach to point-of-sale and eCommerce for businesses in niche, but important, spaces.