The rapid growth of e-commerce over the past two years has revolutionized the way people buy things. The ease of purchase and ever-increasing product range has led to rising levels of consumer engagement, product sales….and online retailers. The equine / saddlery sector is no different. With so many options in terms of goods and retail outlets, how can you ensure you are choosing a store with the right expertise and quality product range to meet you and your horse’s needs. Here are some of the things we look for – and that we recommend you do too. 

The Australian online saddlery industry has undergone immense change with the advent of the internet and e-commerce. More and more saddlery businesses are transitioning over to online retailing because that’s where the customer base is. For riders, the convenience of purchasing tack online has come at the expense of what used to be a fundamental riding relationship; getting to know your saddler, their staff, and the products they sell. That relationship gave you confidence that what you were buying was exactly what you and your horse needed. 

Whilst the way we purchase equine goods and services has changed, 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. Online shopping is convenient, but how can you be sure who you are dealing with and what they are selling are legitimate? As long-term horseys……and online saddlery proprietors, we see the relationship between the confidence you have in our business and our reputation as knowledgeable and friendly purveyors of high-quality equine gear. So how can you spot a knowledgeable and approachable equine retailer from the rest, here are a few simple markers to keep a sharp eye out for.

Clearly documented contact details

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 or via their home menu. Check the contact page and ensure it includes their email, social networking links, address or even a phone number. The more of these they have the more confident you can be that someone on the other end will answer. Don’t be content with just a web contact form. Yes, your message will be submitted, but to where, you will not know. 

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.  

Review customer feedback and social media posts

Some retailers will have reviews you can view when you search them online, others will have product reviews on their websites. 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. 

Tip – Type in the business name into your preferred search engine and run a search. If others have had bad experiences, you’ll see entries detailing their experiences. 

Website encryption measures

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 browser.

The padlock icon signifies that the site you are visiting uses encrypted communications to secure any data you submit. The “s” in “HTTPS” also clarify that communications between your device and the website are secure and encrypted. 

Tip – Only purchase items from sites with “HTTPS” in the address bar of their check-out page.

Google Safe Browsing

At times, even sites that put a premium on web security can be compromised. Whilst the likelihood of that happening to you and your chosen equine establishment is low, it never hurts to check. Use the link below and enter the website you’re visiting to check for any alerts.

Tip – check the safe browsing status of the site you are visiting at Google Safe Browsing

Look and Feel

Lastly, and probably the most obvious, look through the site and think about how professional the site actually looks. Does the layout look quality? Are the product images used to promote their rugs, saddle pads, bridles, 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?

Tip – the more detailed the content, the better chance you are dealing with a reputable business. Writing meaningful content is time-consuming and not the kind of thin scammers will invest time in.

Giddy Up

These tips are general and by no means exhaustive but we feel they strike the right balance in simplicity and efficacy. Take the time to do your checks and you can search and shop with confidence that where you are visiting is safe and genuine. We encourage you to run a check of our store as an example of 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