A revolution is engaging consumers across the country and its about to hook up farm businesses across the countryside, too.

Last year a staggering 47% of all retail purchases were made online using the internet, suggest web watchdogs.

Consumers have embraced e-shopping – as online sales are known – that champions convenience offering choice, service and flexibility from the comfort of the web surfer’s computer seat.

And now farming along with many other business sectors is following consumers’ lead.

Searching the web for deals on farm inputs and capital purchases such as machinery can fit comfortably with the hectic schedule many of today’s farm businesses face.

Convenience is the driving factor.

Whatever the hour of day or night, internet access is 24/7 allowing online shoppers unlimited access to hunt around for deals as and when time allows.

No restriction on where you can browse, no closed hours of business, but direct access to millions of products from thousands of suppliers without clocking up hundreds of miles in the search for what you need.

But where to get started?

Click onto FWi’s home page (www.fwi.co.uk) and double click “Classified” from the main menu.

Just as you can browse the array of adverts in Farmers Weekly’s hard copy of Marketplace bringing you the latest offers each Friday, you can also do so online.

With over 100 tractors listed there’s everything from a restorable Ferguson TED20 at £595 to a top-of-the-range Cat Challenger 85E at £65,000 for sale.

And that’s not all as everything from harvesters to haulage, cultivators to cattle (yes, it covers livestock as well), and sprayers to spares can be found in Marketplace online.

For those looking to sell placing a classified ad online is a useful addition to magazine advertising.

At just £10/month it’s a small price to pay for access to a potentially large audience.

And just as they say in media circles a picture’s worth a thousand words, web-browsers are 22 times more likely to look at online ads featuring an image of the item offered than plain text inserts, a leading e-trading website reveals.

Not sold on buying online?

Don’t worry if e-shopping doesn’t appeal straight away.

Use it to compare deals between dealers’ forecourts, magazine ads and online to see who’s offering value.

As for consumers, shopping is now no more than a click away.