There’s a saying at Tractor Supply Company, explains President and COO Steve Barbarick, who joined the company as a buyer in 1998: “We cater to customers who live what we call ‘life out here.’” He goes on to say, “They typically tend to have animals, drive pick-up trucks and are self-reliant. From quality products to seasoned advice, Tractor Supply is their hub for living life on their own terms.”
According to Barbarick, the company’s purpose is to cater to that lifestyle and support the customer “anytime, anywhere, anyway.” Sales nearly tripled between 2006 and 2017, and while the vast majority of Tractor Supply’s business is done in-store, he says, shoppers are digitally savvy. Barbarick and his team have led Tractor Supply’s digital transformation and omni-channel strategy and were also responsible for successfully integrating Internet sales with in-store pickup — allowing online shoppers to engage with team members. “There is a good blend of digital and four-wall experience that seamlessly takes place with the customer, and that’s what’s unique about the communities that we serve,” Barbarick says.
Barbarick, who has a degree in psychology and has held numerous positions at Tractor Supply, says as he’s advanced in his career, he’s recognized that every functional department and store has a separate set of needs. “Our philosophy is that we’re not a chain of 1,700 stores; rather, it is our belief that we have one store in 1,700 small communities. It’s that mindset — that every store and every customer matters — that really differentiates us.”