Five Tips to buying music gear online
Unlike South Africa, buying gear online is as natural as eating sliced bread in Europe, Asia and the US of A.
The fact that there are only a half a dozen options for buying music gear online in SA, would suggest that the greater buying public are still a little old fashioned in this regard.
Expensive internet, the lack of a big enough middle class with credit cards and generally just online access for many, are a few of the main stumbling blocks.
There are well over 300 actual music instrument and gear shops nationwide in South Africa but when it comes to online, as mentioned there are way fewer.
If you are new to the process here are a few things to consider when choosing when an online store.
1. Delivery time
When you buy online you naturally want delivery as soon as possible. Nobody wants to wait a week or longer to get their new gear. A respectable lead time in South Africa seems to be 3-5 days. We’d be pretty frustrated if we had to wait longer than that to get our new gear.
If an online store does not have a clear and concise ‘Shipping info’ section, then best to avoid.
A good online store should confirm your order immediately after placing it with an email and an order/tracking number.
Even better if you can track your order online when logging into your customer account.
3. Returns policy
When buying music gear online be sure to read the returns policy on the website very carefully. The best stores understand that without physically seeing the item before purchase, you can have a change of heart and decide to return it.
But be warned. Sending it back via courier will most likely be for your own account if it’s during the ‘cooling off period,’ and not because the gear was supplied faulty.
Bottom line: the online store MUST have a clear returns policy before you decide to purchase.
You will be entering your credit card details into an online database. Not only will they have your card details, they also have your personal contact details and buying history – if you become a frequent purchaser.
It is absolutely essential that the online store has made a public declaration as to the security of your data.
5. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure
This sounds more complicated than it is.
Simply put when you look at the URL for a website in your browser there are two types: http:// and https://
The https is a secure version of http which means the communication between your browser and the website is encrypted.
A non-encrypted site is not as secure and could potentially be hacked a lot easier.
NO online store should use http access. Simple as that!
As with any purchase one makes from any store online or physical, service, price etc are all important but when buying music gear online, the above pointers must be considered before taking that leap of faith.