IBM Gives Tractor Supply Company's Website, Cloud Operations Extra Horsepower

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer  |  August 07, 2015

For rural-dwellers out there, Tractor Supply Company (TSC) is not only an interesting place to stop and browse, but it also has a lot of what's needed to carry on with a normal day, whether the tractor in question is a major agricultural enterprise or just what keeps the lawn mowed and the snow plowed. But TSC knew that, even in the country, people turn to the Web for a lot more shopping these days, and so has tapped IBM (News - Alert) to put a little extra muscle in its cloud operations and completely redesign the company website.

The redesigned website, according to reports, has a particular focus on viewing across all devices, a good move being as Google (News - Alert) recently put a lot more weight on mobile capability in a move that some were referring to as “Mobilegeddon.” But it's not just about the platform; the new site has a larger focus on social media as well as an improved checkout system to help prevent abandoned carts.

That by itself was a great step forward, but it only got better; TSC also brought in IBM Cloud, which helped provide a greater agility to TSC's operations as well as a set of new management capabilities. According to TSC's president and chief information officer Rob Mills, this will allow TSC to better respond to the overall market as well as to individual customer needs, which will in turn mean a better customer experience all around.

This isn't TSC's first connection with IBM, meanwhile; the original website was reportedly built on IBM Commerce, and that in turn prompted a move from its earlier version—which was Software-as-a-Service (SaaS (News - Alert)) platform from two separate partners—to the current version on IBM Cloud. Now, it's built on an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform, and that improves its system performance to make it an all-around better operation. It's even got a new note of future-proofing built in, as it will now be an easier matter to bring in future changes to the site, so that when the needs of the customer change—as is so often the case—there will be improvements waiting.

While most of TSC's customer base likely won't care just what exactly is going on behind the scenes, said customers will want high-quality access to TSC's inventory and ordering options, from any platform said customers should choose. These are customer-facing measures that will likely prove well-received in the end; having had a look at TSC's new website, I have to confess to some surprise. I've never seen a farm supply website with quite so many Pinterest links, but the links do fit in nicely; ever wonder what you could do with a galvanized metal tub? There are plenty of ideas on Pinterest, apparently, and that's a surprise but one that works. TSC is essentially showing off new ideas, and providing the means for people to bring these ideas into play with improved site design and controls.

This is a move that should work well for TSC on several fronts. Not only is it improving the proposition for its current customer base, but it's also stepping up its contacts in new customer fronts that should result in expanded sales for the company. Throw in all the other benefits of the IBM revamping and TSC should be in a great position for some time to come.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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