I’ve tried really hard to like SmartPak, I swear I have. I’ve actually had SmartPak’s themselves at a couple points in time for different horses, I’ve placed orders for random items through them on occasion, and I tried like hell to convince myself I liked their Piper breeches. At this point in my horse life there is zero to entice me to use actual SmartPak’s… if there’s a supplement I need a) they usually don’t have it, or b) it’s considerably more expensive. That said, my horse isn’t on any feed through supplements anyway. There were a couple of times years ago when I emailed requests for certain products (not supplements) and never heard back, but I wasn’t really surprised by that from a big company. To give them credit, they have good customer service from what I’ve personally experienced. Returning the greatly disappointing Piper’s was pretty painless and I got my money back in a timely manner.
I guess I’m just super spoiled by my favorite “big time” online retailer Riding Warehouse. They offer free shipping on all orders over $50, plus their prices are some of the lowest already, plus there’s almost always a $10 off coupon code or a 20% sale going on, plus I get things crazy fast. Like two or three days after I order it. Often it’s boxed up and on it’s way the same day I order, even though I didn’t pay a dime for shipping. I emailed once to ask if they could order an item for me in a color they didn’t offer online and they were on it immediately, made it happen for me, and I still got my free shipping and coupon code. So for me personally, RW has Smartpak beat on every count. Even PS of Sweden, who are located in SWEDEN, have always gotten my orders to me in a week or less (it’s usually on it’s way within a day or two and at my house 3 days later) and they’ve been great with communication.
Still, I decided to order a nameplate for Henry with a SmartPak gift card I had, and barn buddy Brandy got in on the order to get herself some spurs and a nameplate for her horse too. Luckily with all 3 things combined we eeked over the $75 minimum for free shipping. It’s cool that USEF members get 5% off, but since I’m a low level eventer I only have to be a USEA member, not a USEF member (thank god) so that helps me none.
I knew that since we ordered nameplates it could take a while to ship, so I placed the order on 1/6 and promptly forgot about it. When I got a shipping notification on 1/10 I was like “awesome, 4 days is a great turnaround time for plates”. Sadly when the package arrived via USPS (started out as UPS then transferred to USPS) on 1/15 I realized it was only the spurs that had shipped. Nine days to get some spurs? Four days of which were processing? That’s a bit excessive IMO. To make matters more mediocre, the spurs obviously looked like a return of some sort. They were no longer attached to the cardboard backing, but instead were in a plastic baggie with the cardboard backing and the cut zip ties that had originally held the spurs to said backing. They were still in new condition, but that was cheesy. At least zip tie them back on so we never know the difference.
But ah well, whatever. The next day I got another shipping notification and I thought “Oh good, there’s the plates!”. This time the package was carried all the way by UPS and arrived on 1/19. Alas – it was only one plate. Okaaaaay then. I went back to the SmartPak website (which to their credit is very easy to use), and realized the other nameplate shipped on 1/13 via UPS then was transferred to USPS. It was finally delivered yesterday. Weird.
I get that SmartPak is outsourcing the nameplates from elsewhere but that was such a weird shipping/delivery process. Now I see why their prices are higher – they must spend a boatload on shipping! Each thing came packaged in a box, so it definitely could not have been super cheap for 3 boxes.
There’s no actual complaint here and SmartPak definitely didn’t do anything wrong, they just yet again haven’t done anything to wow me. They do say that they price match (although I’ve heard someone say they didn’t have luck with that with Tailored Sportsmans) and they have free returns (but so does Riding Warehouse). The turnaround time on the plates was decent, although IMO the spurs were really slow. I guess I just assumed it would all ship together so I didn’t think twice about the spurs taking so long to ship until they actually arrived. Also annoying – the emails. Especially the one I got this morning titled “Amanda – You’re About To Have An Ah-Ha Moment” in which they tried to give me the hard sell on SmartPaks. The only emails I get from Riding Warehouse are about sales and giveaways I think Riding Warehouse will be keeping my business whenever possible. Sorry SmartPak. I tried, I promise. But Riding Warehouse has set the bar way too high! Tell me, SmartPak lovers – what am I missing, because I just don’t get it?