Category feature: Equestrian products
We’ve recently onboarded a number of suppliers with fantastic products for equestrians – and with many equestrian events through quarter four to inspire would-be dressage champions and amateur horse riders, there is no better time to start selling equestrian products online.
The equestrian industry in the UK is an absolutely unstoppable force. Consider some of these statistics:
- 27 million people in Britain have an interest in the equestrian industry – that is well over 1/3 of the UK population!
- The equestrian sector had £4.7 billion of spending across different types of goods and services in 2019 – up from £4.3 billion in 2015
- More than 374,000 households in the UK own at least one horse
- There are estimated to be around 847,000 horses in the UK
- Horse riders spend an average of 52 minutes riding, 3.5 times per week
With these sort of statistics, it is pretty clear that there can be a lot of money to be made selling equipment to people who are interested in starting horse riding, or who are already in the industry.
Should you start an equestrian shop?
While there are a lot of reasons to start selling equestrian products, being successful in the industry takes a lot of time and dedication. There is already a lot of competition in the sector, so providing additional value to your customers is the key.
If you’re already experienced in the equestrian industry and have a lot of knowledge, then setting up a tack shop could be a great way to start a business. Whether you’re a rider and have been for years, you’ve trained as a farrier or as an equine dental technician, you’ll have the sort of knowledge you need to know the right type of products to sell, when to change your stock and so on. With that knowledge, you’ll also be able to create the sort of content marketing that will provide extra value to potential customers, establish your position as an expert and build trust in your brand.
It is rare to encounter a horse rider who isn’t absolutely passionate about their horse and what they do with it. And really, you have to be incredibly passionate and dedicated to own a horse, since they need feeding, turning out and for their rugs to be changed every single day, even in the coldest and wettest days of winter when nobody wants to be outdoors! Having that passion, combined with knowledge and the right sorts of products, means that spending time on your equestrian shop, your chances of success will be much, much higher.
How to start selling equestrian products
If you have both the passion for horses and the knowledge to get started, then starting to sell equestrian products can be easy – but only if you know how. Here are the steps to take to get your business on track.
Before you get started
Even if you’re already a horsey type with many years of experience, research is still an essential step for your business to be a success. Since the equine industry is so epic already, trying to target horse riders of all ages and abilities, or throwing together a collection of random products simply won’t do it. You need to do your research to narrow down your niche as you get started. As your business grows, you’ll be able to add extra products and start to target different types of customers, but starting with a narrower scope will mean you’re much likely to be successful.
Define your target customers
With 27 million people interested in horses and the related industries, there is a lot of potential variation in the types of individuals and their needs. Not all of these people will have their own horses, or be regular riders! Think about:
- Competitive riders – even this has a huge amount of variation! Show jumping, dressage, horse racing and polo all have very different types of needs
- Leisure riders who own their horse
- Horse riders who don’t own a horse but ride regularly
- Other people involved in the countryside industry who may need equestrian clothing such as jodhpurs, or accessories such as boot scrapers or boot pulls
- Children who are just starting to ride
- Riders with physical disabilities who need adapted equipment
- Livery yard owners
- Riding clubs
- Equestrian businesses such as schools, riding holiday businesses
- Non-specialist retailers who want to stock basic horse riding products
We could diversify this list even more, but who you want to sell to is likely to depend on your experience and knowledge, as well as informing what you want to sell.
There are quite literally thousands of products that you might want to start selling, but as with your target customer, starting with a smaller product base and then adding extra products is a much better way to manage your business growth. Making a plan, and breaking down the products into different categories will help you to ensure you’re getting the right products onto your sales channels. We’ve made some suggestions to get you started below:
Products for the horse
- Feed and wood shavings
- Rugs and blankets
- Lunge ropes
- Care items such as tail guards, eye guards, knee and ankle supports
- Grooming equipment such as hoof oil, clippers, brushes and shampoo
- Health products such as fly sprays, disinfectants, ointments and powders
- Stable toys
Products for riding
- Different types of bits
- Saddles and accessories such as stirrups
- Strap and lead items such as bridles, halters, reins and girths
- Show jumps
Products for the rider
- Casual riding wear – jodhpurs, jackets, caps and hats
- Formal riding wear – jackets
- Footwear in an array of materials, from long leather boots to short Chelsea style boots
- Seasonal apparel – summer and winter
- Safety products such as reflective items, helmets and body protectors
- Tools such as whips and crops
Products for the stables
- Tools such as brushes and shovels
- Buckets and storage tubs
- Feed nets for hay and haylage
- Hardware such as bolts for doors, hooks and so on
- Vermin control
- Equipment for arenas and yards such as dressage markers and mounting blocks
In addition to knowing what you’re going to sell, you’ll need to do pricing research. Knowing RRP (recommended retail price) for each of your products, as well as how much retailers are actually selling those products for will help you to set your pricing appropriately, as well as establishing your profit margins.
Source your products
While you can buy stock from industry wholesalers, or import items from overseas manufacturers, there is a third option to get your business established and prove the concept works before you invest your capital in stock: selling items from UK suppliers using the DropShipping model.
While DropShipping is typically associated with cheap products sourced from China with long waits for delivery, DropShipping from UK suppliers gives sellers all the benefits of the model without the risk of dealing with suppliers overseas.
Avasam has a range of equestrian products and associated items available that you can start selling today without needing any upfront capital. We work with trusted and approved suppliers who upload their products to the platform, allowing you to sell their products to your customers without needing to pay for stock upfront.
- Sign up for your free Avasam account
- Browse the product catalogue and click Source to add the items you want to sell to your inventory
- Set up your sales channels
- Configure the connection to your sales channels in Avasam
- Start selling – inventory levels will be updated automatically
- Orders get pushed to Avasam for suppliers to dispatch
- You pay for the order and keep selling
Adding Avasam products to your inventory can also be a great way to extend the offering of an existing business. Many Avasam sellers are existing online retailers, or have a traditional retail outlet that sell Avasam products to customers in-store and deliver to store, or directly to home addresses.
Set up sales channels
Once you’ve carried out your research and you’ve found your initial set of products, it is time to establish where you’re going to sell. Much of this decision will come from your target customer research, so refer back to it, and establish where your target customer is likely to shop for their equestrian products. There are a lot of options, from your own website to marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. We wrote a huge post about choosing your sales channels that goes into a lot more detail here, so check that out when you get to that point.
When you have chosen your sales channels, and have your seller account set up on each one, it is time to create your product descriptions and list the products that you have sourced from Avasam and start selling.
Promote your items
Once you’ve set up your sales channels, it is time to start promoting your products. Social media marketing is going to be an essential way to get your products in front of your target customers, so follow our guidance about building your followers on your social media, Pinterest marketing, using the correct types of hashtags and so on. You’ll be using tools such as Google Shopping, and other marketing apps to increase the chance of your products and posts being seen by the right kind of customers.
Refine your products
Once you are selling, you’ll need to stay on top of what you’re selling. As well as expanding your inventory with more products for your customers, you’ll need to update your products through the seasons. Winter gear looks pretty different to summer, so you might decide to swap out fly spray in the autumn for thicker rugs, for example.
New products come onto the market all the time in the equestrian industry. Being the first to identify a product may mean you can get ahead with your product sales. Luckily, keeping abreast of the industry is pretty easy as there are plenty of great resources available – even if there is a lot to take in!
Publications such as Horse and Hound (which has a whole page dedicated to new products), Horse and Rider and Equestrian Life Magazine are a good place to stay on top of new products and trends. These are UK publications though, and it is well worth checking international publications for the same sort of information. Niches such as quarter horses and Western Riding is popular in the USA, but is still less popular in the UK still – so there may be opportunities to identify products and make sales by being aware of these as those niches grow.
Diversify your equestrian business further
There are many ways your equestrian business can diversify from eCommerce retail, and to increase your profits.
Extending your product base is a logical first step to diversify your equestrian business. Depending on what you find your best selling product to be will impact on the products that you add. If you find your leather boots and belts are your best sellers, adding other leather goods like handbags could work well, or adding boots and belts that are made from different materials.
Thinking about your target customer, you might diversify based on their interests. Other activities and interests often include:
- Hunting and shooting
- Products for dog owners
Other product variations might include gifts for horse riders, creating products featuring equestrian art using print on demand. If you’re a keen designer, or a photographer, this allows you to bring your passions together in your business and profit from it. In a similar vein, you might create a blog about your own horse riding and expand your audience and customers in that way, after which further diversifying your business might be done by creating partnerships and affiliate links to other businesses.
If you’re a keen horse rider already, and you’re looking for a way to bring your passion into your career, setting up a business selling equestrian goods is a great way to get in. Once upon a time that would have meant having huge amounts of cash to invest in your stock, which was pretty risky. Selling equestrian products from UK suppliers using the DropShipping model means that you can get started without needing to tie up your money, or needing a premises to store your stock. Once your business is established, you can add new elements to keep your customers engaged, or put your capital towards moving into a traditional retail outlet as well as selling online.
If you’re ready to set up a business selling equestrian goods without upfront investment, start with Avasam. Our approved suppliers have equestrian products in the UK that are ready for you to sell with fast delivery times, and you pay your supplier when your customer has placed their order. Sign up for your free account, and if you’d like a hand getting started, book a call at a time that suits you – we’ll show you everything you need to know to get started.