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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2007
    Location
    Behind the Orange Curtain
    Posts
    9,694

    Default Spinoff- What do you want to tell the major online tack retailers?

    There is a major opportunity out there for an online tack retailer to fill a niche. What is the niche? It is the "major warehouse/large volume tack retailer that is actually run well."

    How can we tell that those out there now (Dover, SLT, Horseloverz to name a few) are not run well? Because they are constantly losing customers over minor things that shouldn't be happening, and yet they never take steps to change the recurring issues.

    So, here's my advice.

    Dover: Two words- free shipping. You lose more customers when that shipping gets added in than you can imagine. If you even did what SmartPak does and offer rotating coupons, you'd increase your sales by quite a margin. If you did flat rate shipping, free over _x_ amount you'd be AMAZED by the increase. Seriously.

    I would bet that there are hundreds of unfinished shopping trips a day that stall out on that shipping cost. Buy a book on e-commerce, and read it. Finding out where your sales are stalling out and fixing it is rule number one. You have the quickest and easiest path to filling this niche.

    Horseloverz: Maria, you know I love you, but your boss is missing the boat big time. The website misses the design mark on so many levels, and I'm sure you guys dump a lot of customers just based on frustration. He also understaffs, resulting in long shipping times and difficulty in reaching customer service. Your boss is missing the mark in his business plan, not realizing that there is a customer base out there that he could tap into if he bumped up the level of service just a tiny bit, from abysmal to serviceable.

    Stateline Tack/Horse.com: The websites are atrocious, but the prices are good- but what the heck is up with making people CALL you about internet sales? If I wanted to call someone, I'd order over the phone. I want it all to be done without dealing with any rude customer sales people, with computerized clarity and on my own schedule. Follow your sales from start to finish, figure out where they are going wrong, and fix it- losing customers AFTER A SALE HAS BEEN MADE is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Cancelling someone's order and not offering another product is like flushing money down the toilet. Are you privately owned or are there stockholders? because if I was your owner/stockholder I'd send whoever set up your system down to the sewer to look for my money.

    Ah, that was cathartic. I hope I'm not the only one feeling a bit grumbly today, otherwise this is going to be a lonely thread!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2001
    Location
    nj
    Posts
    8,814

    Default wonder if anyone's listening...

    i don't shop at dover for the exact reasons you stated. shipping charges are ridiculous. and the more i spend the more i pay regardless of the size/weight of the item. wtf is that about????

    i've heard too many complaints to bother with either horseloverz or stateline.
    http://www.eponashoe.com/
    TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2002
    Location
    Cambray, ON
    Posts
    1,110

    Default

    SmatPak - PLEASE ship to Canada!!!

    Dover- Your shipping cost to Canada are crazy!!! $75 is shipping for a cooler?!? I had to cancel my order!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2006
    Location
    Warren, NJ
    Posts
    3,750

    Exclamation PAYPAL pleeeezzee - to prevent credit card fraud

    DOVER & all other retailers please offer PAYPAL payments.

    This is a scream for paypal, as this is the 3rd time my credit card details get copied/stolen via online horsie shopping.
    My husband is VERY very upset with me at present , and said once more and NO more online shopping, meaning I would then be limited to getting stuff from Dover shop & Horseman's Outlet.

    Hubby still giving me benefit of doubt, by buying me a new computer this weekend to make sure that there's no more spyware left anywhere. Nevertheless I'm now totally freaked out by this and don't dare entering my credit card details online anymore .



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2006
    Location
    South of the Mason-Dixon Line
    Posts
    2,321

    Default

    Dover...ditto what Ambrey said about free shipping/reduced price shipping. For Pete's sake, it's cheaper to shop at Beval than you guys a lot of the time!

    SLT....until you start employing people who know what a horse is, and have a modicum of pleasantness, I won't be back. You can offer free shipping and 50% off and it won't make up for your terrible customer servce.

    Smartpak.....I love you, keep up the good work!

    Horse.com....you need more suggestions than this site has bandwidth.

    Equiteric/Horseloverz..... Can you please update your system to one that actually reflects what is/is not in stock when I order. I am tired of getting notices days (or even weeks recently) that that item is no longer in stock. Another helpful point....I might have come back to shop more if it didn't take WEEKS to get my last refund on an out of stock item.
    Ridge Farm Inc.-full care retirement
    http://www.horseretirementfarm.com



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2006
    Posts
    3,381

    Default

    Attention everyone who is not Smartpak : Take notes from Smartpak on the way they do business.

    Smartpak : Please continue being undeniably awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by barka.lounger View Post
    u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

    we see u in gp ring in no time.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    12,714

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
    Attention everyone who is not Smartpak : Take notes from Smartpak on the way they do business.

    Smartpak : Please continue being undeniably awesome.

    Ditto. That's all I was thinking as I read through other posts.

    NOTE TO ALL: See Smartpak? Do THAT.

    Their CS is phenomenal. PHENOMENAL. Yeah, we're crazy horse peeps and we dig stuff like oh...A sympathy card after we call to say "Hey, cancel my shipment. The horse died." NOT: "Oh, I'm sorry, we're going to have to charge you anyway. It's on the way." (fail)


    They DO make mistakes sometimes...but usually, they know it before WE do...and they make it right regardless.


    Their website is nice. Their CS reps are educated on the products they sell. Generally speaking? If I could get everything I need/want through SP? I would. Totally.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2007
    Location
    Behind the Orange Curtain
    Posts
    9,694

    Default

    But SmartPak serves a different niche. They are more along the "boutique" line. A large warehouse type store wouldn't need phenominal CS like SmartPak has- just adequate customer service and a good internal system for making sure orders are processed smoothly.

    Amazon does not have superb customer service. In fact, their CS is often subpar. What they have is the system that makes sure that CS is not needed most of the time. It's all managed electronically (I'm sure there's a name for the system that companies use to process orders, etc.). You have to have either one or the other- if your fulfillment system or whatever it's called is constantly leaving customers in the lurch, you'd better have some way for them to get help!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    3,894

    Default

    Dover: SHIPPING CHARGES! Also, it really ticks me off when I select an item from your sales catalog, go online to order it the next day, only to find that your ONLINE price is HIGHER than the catalog price, just because I don't have the sale catalog at work with me. I need to pay more? However, for me, at least, customer service has always been awesome (except at your stores).

    Also, if I buy an item online and need to return it, I should be able to return it to the store!

    SLT: I gave up on you when you were bought out by Petsmart.

    HORSELOVERZ: Way to hard to find stuff on your website. I don't even bother.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2001
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,256

    Default

    There are several companies that I've bought from regularly that offer flat-rate or free shipping over a certain amount (VTO, Smartpak, EquusNow). Everyone who's not doing that should take note of it, because it's a big incentive. When I bought clippers the other year, I ended up going with a slightly higher sticker-price, because the site offered free shipping, making them less expensive than paying the sticker price plus shipping fees.

    If Dover has something I want, I try to go to their store, and avoid the shipping charge--I just have to watch the register prices, because things don't always ring up in line with what the sale flyer says. I wish Beval were closer, because their shipping charges are ridiculous, too--it cost $15 to ship me a fitted fleece saddle pad and a pair of stirrup leathers? Really?



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2004
    Location
    Ga
    Posts
    2,109

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
    Attention everyone who is not Smartpak : Take notes from Smartpak on the way they do business.

    Smartpak : Please continue being undeniably awesome.
    Ditto - my experience with Smartpak buying a new dressage girth was awesome, I have NEVER had such good customer service and free shipping to boot, land's sakes, all you other tack stores, take a page from Smartpak..great customer service, shipping that comes when they say it will, easy to pay for items that you purchase and lots of helpful advice from HORSE people.

    If your customer service folks have to ask the customer to explain horse terms to them..you got the wrong customer service folks..find some horsey ones..we are OUT HERE and most need a job to support their horsey habits..

    As an aside - Jeffers has also exceptional customer service, knows horses, but unfortunately offers less english tack..but great customer service as well. Their shipping can be a little expensive FOB, but pales in comparison to Dover.

    I used to shop Dover all the time, and finally had to put the catalog down..the shipping charges are horrendous. Why should I pay more for shipping something that weighs maybe 1 lb. because it costs more than something that weighs 4 lbs???? Gack..and why so hard to figure out whether I am getting a "deal" through the catalog, the coupon pages, or the internet? Jeez, make all the outlets you sell through have the same pricing!!!! I do give you credit though, if you have said item in stock, I usually receive it within ten days.

    Stateline- sorry but you just plain stink at customer service and I quit using your site years ago..too "iffy" for me to bother with. I did buy when you were part of Petsmart and I could go and pick up the items I needed. Something happened along the way and let's put it this way: I'd rather go to an auction for a bucket than take a chance that you will have it in stock, that it will ship, that it will be the right size or that I can return it..sorry..get a better grip on things.

    BTW - I do like Country Vet Supply and have ordered from then on occasion and never had a problem.

    But Smartpak rules..sure their prices aren't the cheapest, but when I compare quality of service to "cheap" pricing and factor in "maybe I will get the item and maybe I won't" and the cost of shipping: Smartpak rules.

    These folks know how customer service should be done and a lot of non horse related businesses should study their business model and emulate them. No I don't work for them, but if they were in GA, I'd be banging on the door with my resume in hand..lol.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2008
    Posts
    1,068

    Default

    I love the prices at amira-equi though their sometimes difficult to get a response from CS. But when it's good it's great.

    Shipping costs to Canada from the US retailers can be annoyingly high but can be circumvented due to my proximity to the border - so please DO NOT BLOCK sales from out of country credit cards!!!!

    Also as a side note, I hate manufactures (cough *ariat*) that have ridiculous price mark ups for different countries. I can literally save hundreds of dollars by buying in the US.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    2,971

    Default

    Dover: Don't say you offer discounts- I know all you do is up the original price, and have the "sale" at the normal price. Ok, so that's a bit unfair, I mean you do drop the price about $.50 sometimes. But there is a very good side. I was at a local Dover recently, and overheard someone looking for a job there. The one employee asked if they had experience with horses and the person said no. The employee told her that they only hire people with horse experience. I thought that was really good on their part.

    Ditto what has been said about SmartPak.
    Horsey Stick Art clique
    Crayolaposse~ SparklyLime
    PPP Grand-Poobah



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2008
    Posts
    630

    Default

    I must be one of the few people who doesn't like shopping at Smartpak. I don't get flat rate due to my location. I have to pay regular shipping fees and don't even get the choice of combining my item orders with my regular shipments. They are far more expensive than just about any other option. However, they are the only place I can find with a decent selection of suppliments, which is the only reason I shop from them. I suppose if I lived in the continental US I would like them, but from Hawaii, it's all meh.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2007
    Posts
    2,324

    Default

    VTO rocks!!! They can't be beat in there customer service!!!! And cheap shipping with a flat rate, AND... it just about always arrives within 3 days!!

    I swear... the box will have a price for shipping on there... like $13, but I still only pay $5.95 or whatever it is.
    THEY ARE AWESOME!!!!

    There twice yearly 24% sales on everything.... And they will order something if they don't carry it And sometimes even let you buy it on the super sale!!!

    And they donate to the T3D prizes


    ROCK ON VTO!!!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2003
    Location
    WV
    Posts
    1,561

    Default

    My biggest complaint is most websites show light colored merchandise on a white background--how stupid is that? You can't even see the item! I stop shopping then.

    I think it is Valley Vet that often is out of the product the day they email you you that it is on sale. Usually when I am salivating over cheap ivermectin dewormer for my herd of 22.

    Yeah Dover shipping is high but sometimes they have just what I want and cheaper even considering shipping. Waiting for my 9 piece real sheepskin halter covers right now!
    http://TouchstoneAcres.com
    Touchstone Acres Lipizzans, Standing N. Samira VI (Gray), N. XXIX-18(Black), more in 2014



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Location
    Maryland USA
    Posts
    1,891

    Default

    Many good points, but I'd summarize it differently.

    All, see amazon.

    When I order stuff from amazon:
    * I know they are honest about whether they have stock
    * If they have stock I know I will have it in 2 days
    * I know what shipping will cost,
    * If I am a regular I can sign up for prime and have free shipping and a huge incentive to not even look elsewhere

    When I order stuff from a horse business, I have to look at the shipping charges because they vary all over the place, then I'll probably have to wait 7 days then if it does not come I'll ring them, then be told they did not have it in stock and the manufacturer is waiting on a shipment.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2001
    Location
    Alaska. Not in an Igloo.
    Posts
    8,995

    Default

    Dover: You could perhaps even just offer free shipping to people who have your credit card.

    That would be cool.

    Or like Gap (if you have the Silver card, over $x in purchases EACH year, you get free ship)



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Posts
    1,992

    Default

    Dover doesn't even have real-time inventory on their website. You can order a bunch of stuff, thinking it is all available, and days later find out it is backordered or no longer available. They are the dinosaur of tack catalogs.

    And believe me, Stephen Day doesn't care a hoot about what you all say.
    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2007
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    52

    Default

    All of these guys could stand to have bigger/clearer/more detailed images of items. I hate trying to figure out if what I'm looking at in the teeny tiny photo is what I really want to buy or not. At the very least, show us the front AND the back of items like breeches, and give us a detail shot of tack!

    And make individual retailers' size charts for products like tack and clothes easier to find. I've never been able to find a size chart for anything on Horseloverz, and when I ordered some Ariat half chaps from Dover, I had to find the size chart on someone else's webpage. Ridiculous.



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