Despite the fact that horses are as connected to our past as possible, we still live in an age of advanced technology. It used to be that any time you wanted something for your horse you would have to head down to your local horse store and pick it out, which was a process that some still consider the norm. However, as we now have the Internet to make our lives more convenient in some aspects, it is possible to do our horse-related shopping online. Should you shop for supplies electronically? Here’s a pros and cons list to help you decide.
Pro: Cheaper Than Most Stores
The biggest draw of all online stores is the ability to find a cheaper price no matter what. If you go into a store and they don’t have an item at a price you like, you’re going to have to cruise to the next store and start checking prices there and so on and so on until you eventually find a price you can live with. Online you just search specifically for an item at a price you’re willing to pay for it. Much of the savings is a result of there being very little overhead, but that’s something we’ll get into in a second.
Pro: Wider Selection
Used to be that you walked into a store and could see everything it offered in a few seconds. Store have become larger and more inclusive of just about every need, but no matter how fully-stocked a horse store may be, it won’t have absolutely everything in the world. It just can’t. Internet-based stores actually can provide you with everything you could possibly need as the database is much larger and the selection is near infinite. Essentially, if you need a very specific item that’s usually on the rare or specialty side, going online is the best bet.
Pro: More Convenient
Along with price shopping and hunting down the correct product, the ability to sit in the comfort of your own home and pick and choose products at your leisure, then just wait for the package to be delivered is a luxury that generations before us couldn’t even dream of, at least not in terms of something that would become standard in life. Even if you come home from an actual store and then realize that you forgot something important that isn’t necessarily vital that very moment, you can have it rush delivered from the web. Simple, right?
Con: Less Personal
The biggest downside to the electronic storefront is the loss of a real person involved between you and the goods. If you have any questions, too bad, because there’s no one to recommend the best saddle or to tell you what works best for them on their ranch. You save money partly because the company doesn’t have to pay employees to be in-store, helping you with your purchase. It’s a huge trade-off and the biggest reasons that so many people prefer to head into town and shop face-to-face with someone.
Con: Harder to Handle Returns
Along with no employees helping you in the moment, if you end up getting your product later and it’s broken, doesn’t work right, or just simply isn’t any good to you anymore, the return process is a much bigger hassle than you’ll want to deal with. A lot of online stores know this and actually make it more complicated to return items and get refunds, but the majority of them will give you the option of returning your goods, though typically at a fee. Said fee sometimes gets applied to the shipping and handling, or as a “reshelving fee” or something similar, but just going through the process is enough to make a lot of people just eat their losses instead.
Con: No Way to Try Out the Products
The other huge problem of not having an expert right there helping out and offering advice is that you also have no way or testing the product out or seeing in person what it looks like. Many times you’ll purchase something, only to get it and see that it doesn’t look as good on your horse or fit them or feel comfortable or any number of reasonable and likely complaints when you can’t test something out beforehand. Some places offer a trial/return period, but again, the hassle of returns can turn a lot of people off.
It seems to be that the best solution is to seek out person-to-person stores that also have great electronic storefronts. The world is shifting in that direction anyway, so why get left behind? We really can have it all! No matter what you choose in the meantime, remember to look out for what’s best for your horse! Good luck!
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