As technology advances and becomes more and more integrated into our lives, new tools and innovations are introduced with the goal of simplifying our lives and businesses. Yasir Khan has developed one such tool for the produce business: EZCrops, which launched in September 2020, is a comprehensive digital solution for buying and selling wholesale produce over the web and through a mobile app, simplifying, and automating day to day activities.
Mimicking real-life operations
The platform underwent two years of research prior to the launch. Khan explains that it was his goal to ensure that the platform mimicked the day-to-day operations of produce businesses. “We researched all the different levels of business, from growers to retailers, and took a holistic approach to develop a platform which will cater the dynamic approach of how businesses buy and sell wholesale produce.” Khan explains. “The idea was not to change what the industry does, rather enhance how they do it,” he adds.
The platform, which is accessible through an app or through the website, works to make buying and selling wholesale produce much simpler, efficient, and effective. “The goal was to address current issues and gaps in the day-to-day operations of wholesale produce trading. We also wanted to ensure that the platform kept the organic manner of doing business that is prevalent in the produce industry – we didn’t want it to be the eBay of the produce industry. That is why people are able to build connections and relationships with each other through the platform before they engage in business with each other, just as it is in real life,” Khan shares.
Right: Yasir Khan.
He continues: “The big difference is that it is a much more controlled situation, and everyone is aware of everything that is on offer. You no longer need to make numerous phone calls to find the product you want around the price-point you want, it’s all right there and buyers are able to be much more proactive. We just released a software update this month that now also allows buyers to raise requests if they’re looking for a specific product, to make the process even more efficient. EZCrops tackles numerous pain points of which some include lengthy processes, lack of operational efficiencies, time wastage, shortage and overstock of commodities.”
Ensuring user security on the platform
The platform currently has 14 different buyers and sellers on it and is quickly expanding. To ensure the security of the app’s users, there are a few verifications processes the users have to go through. “People who sign up can input their membership information for their various professional memberships, such as Blue Book and PACA or DRC, depending on if they are in the US or Canada. We are working on rolling out a ‘verified user’ feature in the future too,” Khan says.
The platform has very quickly garnered international interest. “As we set out on this journey, the idea was to provide this platform to buyers and sellers in North America, but we have actually received global attention since its launch,” says Khan. “We have members who are in Qatar, South Africa, and Europe. We have seen a lot of interest from Egypt, too, as exporters there are wanting to enter the North American market with their oranges, strawberries and other commodities. The international growers can input their international memberships to verify themselves on the app,” he adds.
To help expand their user base, EZCrops is currently offering a pilot program in which the first fifty produce businesses consisting of buyers and sellers will use the platform free of charge for the first six months. If these businesses from the pilot program continue beyond the six months, they will receive preferential pricing which will be fixed for a lifetime.
The data element
Besides the obvious benefits of the app, there are also other aspects that will help users be more efficient in their operations. “The data element is very important,” says Khan, explaining: “Everything is tracked: who posted what and when, who did the shipping, who received and verified it, as well as all pricing information. This allows a great level of security as well as easy access to all of this information. Additionally, users have access to all of this information at any time. If you want to see market prices for a commodity, you can find it with the click of a button.”
When you sign up for the platform, you will receive access for the company, not just individual access. “This means that for managers it’s also a lot simpler to keep track of everything that is happening and to keep an eye on the daily operations,” says Khan.
Adding a logistics feature
EZCrops has many plans for expansion in the future, starting with adding logistics to the platform. “This will truly be a game changer. We already have 9 logistics companies who have agreed to hop on to the pilot version of this update when it’s in play. This will allow the buyers and sellers on the app to not only buy and sell but also plan out their logistics on the app. This feature will be launched in the near future, and everyone is really looking forward to it,” Khan concludes.
For more information:
Tel: +1 (416) 806-5987