Buyers flock towards online shopping in ever increasing numbers as it offers better prices, wider choice and the convenience of shopping from home. Motorcyclists are no different, as more and more of them are buying helmets, jackets, pants and boots from online retailers. The one advantage the traditional bricks-and-mortar store has over the online retailer is sales staff that can provide answers to questions the buyer may have on the spot. Buying something at a great price is of little or no value if the item does not meet the buyers expectations. So how does the motorcyclist and online buyer establish what is the best motorcycle gear for them?
The first part of the purchase exercise is defining their requirements. The buyer needs to be reasonably clear in their own mind of the following three points.
1. Budget. If buying a number of items have a realistic idea as to how much is to be allocated to each item.
2. The style of riding they are primarily going to be doing. The three basic styles are touring, sports/track and off-road/ATV. Each riding style requires gear that has different levels of protection for the rider. Touring is more about adequate protection and comfort, while sports/track is high levels of protection.
3. The climate and range of weather conditions they are likely to be riding in.
Having established these basic parameters, the next step is to look at some online retailers to see the range of motorcycle gear that fits in with the three requirements above. This should provide a short-list of items that will more than likely meet the individual motorcyclists need. All reputable online motorcycle gear sellers will have their site structured in such a way so that a new buyer can easily find gear in a price range, riding style and what season the gear would be best suited to.
Following on from this part of the exercise is to do some basic independent research. Start with on-line research by typing into a search engine a phrase structured along the lines of “brand name/model code review(s)”. For example, if the buyer was researching dual purpose motorcycle helmets the following could be entered into the search engine – “Shoei DS Hornet review”. This will bring up a list of sites that have reviewed this product, and the buyer can get some knowledge of the fit, comfort, durability and value for money. One good location for getting actual buyer feedback is Amazon.com. There is nothing like real buyers giving their opinions and experiences on a product. Amazon sells just about everything, and they do offer a fairly wide range of discount motorcycle gear for sale, and their customers are encouraged to leave feedback on their purchase. Amazon now flag a review as a ‘Amazon Verified Purchase’, so the buyer can be sure this person actually owns the product. Also, great information can be found on motorcycle forums and membership sites. Like all things based on experiences and opinions, don’t take one review as pure truth. Look at the overall sentiment from a number of different reviews. Any one review is somewhat meaningless, but a trend in reviews is very meaningful.
Research also provides an insight into new technologies that are being incorporated into motorcycle gear to make it lighter, stronger and safer. For example, motorcycle jackets and pants are now incorporating viscoelastic materials that remain soft and pliable during normal use, but change at the molecular level on impact to a tough, impermeable layer of protection.
Once the buyer has got the shopping list sorted out, the next thing to do is to find an online seller that offers superior customer service. The things that a buyer must check out are:
1. Price and price guarantees. A number of reputable online sellers will not only offer lower prices, but will also offer to match a genuine price from another seller.
2. Returns policy. One of the big issues with buying personal motorcycle apparel or gear is what to do if it doesn’t fit. It is most important that the seller has a ‘no hassles’ return policy. Also, check there are no hidden fees such as ‘restocking fees’.
3. Shipping. Normally items over a certain amount will be shipped free of charge in the same country. It is unlikely to get free shipping on an international order, so make sure the savings in the catalog aren’t swallowed up in exorbitant shipping charges.
4. Customer Contact. What sort of customer service do they offer? Is there a generic email or does the buyer get to speak to a real human being if there is an issue with the order or the product.
Of course there are no guarantees, but if the buyer follows this straightforward process they will come away with a set of motorcycle gear that is fit for purpose and also at a great price. Well made gear allows the rider to get the most out of riding a motorcycle so the experience is both an enjoyable one and a safe one. That’s why it is worthwhile taking the time to research both the product and the seller.