This holiday season, why not forego the crowded malls and packed parking lots and shop when it s convenient for you with a simple click of your mouse. Online shopping has come a long way. There is more selection, more security and many other benefits:
SHOPPING ONLINE CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
In case you haven t noticed, horse tack, accessories and show clothing are expensive! Shopping online offers you the chance to compare prices on hundreds of new, brand name items. And sites such as eBay and TackTrader also sell second-hand or consignment items at even greater savings.
SHOPPING ONLINE OFFERS MANY ITEMS NOT AVAILABLE LOCALLY
Would you like to buy your daughter a royal blue showmanship jacket in extra-small? It s unlikely you ll find such a specific item at a nearby tack store. But online you ll find hundreds of new and used showmanship jackets in every size, colour and style imaginable. And if that isn t enough, many sites will link you to professional seamstresses who will gladly sew you a jacket to your exact specifications. Likewise, equine items such as show tack or training videos can be difficult to locate in Alberta; shopping online solves that problem.
THE WORLD WIDE WEB IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY
One of the biggest benefits of online shopping is the ability to browse when it s convenient for you. Many of us are afraid of online shopping, but when used properly the Internet is no more dangerous than shopping in a store or at the mall. Here are a few tips on how to avoid some common hazards:
” Carefully assess the item you re looking at. It can be difficult to evaluate items such as leather goods if you haven t seen them in person, so do your homework. If possible, purchase brand name items you re familiar with, and stay away from no-name leather tack, especially if the price seems too good to be true. A $40 show halter might seem like a good deal initially, but it s probably made of flimsy leather with brittle fittings. Ask for photographs of each item, and study them carefully. Also, it s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the online store s return policy, especially if you re purchasing a gift.
” Check the seller s reputation. Sites such as eBay allow you to check the seller s reputation. Try to opt for a seller that has sold at least 10 items, preferably ones similar to your interests, and ensure they have a high satisfaction rating. Take a few minutes to read the customer s feedback. And pay close attention to the seller s responses when you correspond with them. A seller that is slow to respond (within reason, they all have lives!), abrupt, vague or impolite is not likely to improve after you purchase an item from them.
” Be careful when sharing your credit card information. Many people are nervous of sharing their credit card information over the Internet, but credit cards actually have some advantages. Most credit cards can help with purchase disputes, and even potentially reverse them if necessary. When paying with your credit card, check for signs of site security such as a gold paddock logo, and the letter s after the http in the site s address. And don t give unnecessary private information such as your date of birth or social insurance number.
” Try PayPal if offered. PayPal is a financial middleman. You give PayPal your financial information, and then when you buy an item they pay the merchant without displaying your personal details. PayPal also has a dispute process in case you have problems with a seller.
” Insure expensive items. It will cost you only a few dollars to have an item insured before being shipped. This price could literally save you thousands if your expensive item disappears or is damaged in transit. Also, ask the seller to provide tracking abilities on any parcels being shipped to you.
” Lastly, know your obligations as a buyer. If you agree to buy an item on eBay, you have entered into a financial agreement with the seller and are legally bound to buy it, even if you change your mind later. Also, keep in mind all your other expenses that come with purchasing over the Internet such as shipping, duty and taxes. .
HERE ARE SOME POPULAR WEBSITES THAT OFFER A HOST OF HORSE-RELATED ITEMS.
eBay.com: eBay is an online auction site selling every imaginable item under the sun. You can find saddles, tack, training DVDs, books and show clothing.
Hobbyhorseinc.com: Hobby Horse Clothing Company sells a large number of off-the-shelf and limited-edition clothing items at mid-range prices. It has an annual Broke Hearts sale each fall, which is worth checking out.
Karenskustoms.com: This U.S. site sells top-end new and consignment items such as chaps and tack.
Kijijialberta.com: Kijiji Alberta is a local classified site that sells everything under the sun, including clothing and tack. Prices are often reasonable, but because this site is not specifically equestrian, you can expect to deal with non-horse people, who might not understand the difference between a barrel racing saddle and a show saddle.
Northernhorse.com: Northernhorse specializes in horses, but you can also find tack, trailers and other equine equipment, mostly located in western Canada.
Showmeagain.com: This Arizona based site carries a large number of good quality consignment items such as chaps and showmanship outfits.
Showtimeshowclothing.com: Showtime is a top-end show clothing manufacturer located in the U.S. Much of its site displays new clothing, but it also has a consignment area with good quality photos of top brand name items.
TackTrader:TackTrader offers a large selection of new and used equestrian items of every sort, including saddles, show clothing and headstalls. Most sellers are horse people, so they are knowledgeable and should be able to answer your questions.