The rapid growth of e-commerce over recent years has changed consumer habits. Online storefronts are using software that makes it ever easier for consumers to find and purchase the things they are looking for. With so many product and online retail options to choose from, how can you ensure you are choosing a safe, secure and reputable online saddlery with the right expertise and quality product range to meet you and your horse’s needs? In this blog we’ll attempt to answer this question and give you some recommendations to follow.
An increasing number of saddlery businesses are incorporating and/or transitioning over to online retailing because this is where a growing number of customers are going to source the products they need. For riders, the convenience of purchasing their horse gear online has come at the expense of what used to be an important riding relationship; the one between with the local saddler. It was from that relationship that riders learned something about the needs of their horse and the tack they were buying.
Whilst the way we purchase horse riding equipment is changing, the importance of developing an informed relationship with your saddler, their saddlery business and the products they sell has not. If anything, that importance has increased. As long-term horseys……and online saddlery proprietors, we at Active Equine see the connection between the confidence you have in our business and our reputation as a knowledgeable and friendly purveyor of horse riding gear online. So how can you spot a knowledgeable and approachable equine retailer from the rest? Here are a few simple things to be mindful of:
A genuine Australian online saddlery retailer will go out of their way to assist in answering any questions you may have. So it stands to reason that their contact details should be clearly documented on their homepage. Check the contact page and ensure it includes their email, social networking links, address, and in some cases, even a phone number. The more of these they have the more confident you can be that someone on the other end will answer.
Online Tack Tip - If it’s your first time purchasing from a particular retailer, drop them a line with a question on the product you’re interested in.
Some retailers will have reviews you can view when you search them online, others will have product reviews on their website. Others again will encourage their customers to drop posts on their preferred social media pages. Take the time to review these when forming an opinion on whether to purchase from a retailer or not.
Whether you are searching or purchasing from a website, you and your details are far safer if the website is secure. Checking is as easy as looking at the address bar at the top of your brower:
The padlock icon signifies that the site you are visiting uses encrypted communications to secure any data you submit. The “s” in “https” also clarifies that communications between your device and the website are secure and encrypted.
Online Tack Tip - Only purchase items from sites with “https” in the address bar of their check-out page.
As recent data breach issues have demonstrated, even businesses and websites that put a premium on web security can be compromised. Whilst the likelihood of that happening to you and your chosen equine retailer is low, no business is immune to this risk. Use the link below and enter the website you’re visiting to check for any alerts:
Online Tack Tip - check the safe browsing status of the site you are visiting at Google Safe Browsing
Lastly, look through the site and think about how professional the site looks. Does it have a look of quality? Are the promotional product images they use for highly sought after goods like summer horse rugs, winter horse rugs, saddle pads, horse grooming products, horse toys, horse bridles, horse brushes and fly veils high-resolution? Does the content read well? Do they have shipping, refund and privacy policies documented? Do they have a FAQ page and what kind of answers do they provide?
Online Tack Tip - the better detailed the content, the better chance you are dealing with a reputable business.
When paying for a product, always use an established and trusted payment method that can proves that you sent payment, and which can give you legal recourse if the transaction does not conclude satisfactorily. Postal mail payment requests of any kind will leave you with no recourse if the seller claims your payment never arrived, the item is never shipped or if the item gets lost in the mail.
Online Tack Tip - only use established transfer services like Paypal, Visa or from your bank or credit union.
These tips are general and by no means exhaustive but we feel they strike the right balance in simplicity and effectiveness. Take the time to do your checks so that you can buy horse riding gear online from a retailer whose site is safe and genuine.
We encourage you to run a check of our store as an example of an Australian online saddlery that combines a safe and secure shopping experience with the knowledge, expertise and friendliness customers should always expect.
Online Saddlery Australia - horse gear for riders who demand more.