Buying furniture has never been easy. Even today, with all the benefits online shopping offers, buying furniture remains a complex affair.
You cannot buy a couch the same way you’d buy a smartphone or a TV. The furniture industry is going through some pretty serious changes, mainly due to the evolution of online shopping.
While there are some benefits to this method, such as being able to shop from the comfort of your soon-to-be-replaced furniture and easily compare competitor prices, online furniture shopping is not without an ugly side.
There are definitely incredible and affordable pieces to be discovered online. But like with any large online purchase you have to be careful when shopping for furniture on the World Wide Web. And while some companies like Hold It Contemporary Home offer detailed previews of all their furniture pieces, others add a photo that looks nothing like the piece you received.
If you have trouble weighing others’ online shopping experiences, we’ve compiled a list of the good, the bad and the ugly sides of online furniture shopping.
First of all, the internet offers a variety unparalleled by any single online store. You can find different pieces from designers from all over the world at the tip of your fingers. The wide range of collections online furniture stores have on offer makes the Internet a very competitive player on the market.
What’s more, the Internet offers an easy way to compare different furniture pieces, including their prices, craftsmanship and other relevant factors.
Buying furniture online is also very accessible. You can do it anywhere and anytime you want. Not having to drive around looking for good furniture stores will save you both time and money.
You can also find a lot of special discounts online basically all the time. Because online stores deal with a lot of customers, they can cut their prices more than most local dealerships. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 65% of U.S. citizens compare the prices in the store to online prices before making a purchase.
Finally, if you are unhappy with the item, the store’s replacement or return policy will save you the stress. This is definitively one of the best perks of online shopping. If you receive a piece you did not like or one that got damaged during the transport, you can easily return it for a replacement or a refund.
Sometimes a good review can sway you into an impulse purchase. If you read that a piece of furniture is strong and well-crafted you might just place the order without thinking it through or do more research. Trusting online reviews is often a two-edged sword that we all get cut on more than we’d like to admit.
Furthermore, if you order from a store far away from your location you will have to pay an additional, often hefty shipping price. Some stores won’t even ship items below a particular price.
On the other hand, local stores are nearer to you and the charges are low or even complementary. You can even take the piece home yourself, a concept impossible to pair with online shopping.
The worst part of online shopping is probably the fact that you never know what you’ll end up with. A piece of furniture may look absolutely breathtaking in a picture, but less than what you expected once you actually unpack it.
It’s hard to determine the quality of a piece of furniture if you cannot see or touch it for yourself. One way to avoid regretting your purchase is to find the exact same piece in a local furniture store and take a look for yourself. But that’s going against the basic concept of online shopping.
Online or Offline?
According to the same Pew Research Survey mentioned above, 64% of Americans still prefer buying the old-fashioned way. The concept of online furniture shopping is a revolutionary one, but one that also needs a lot of improvement before it can fully replace a traditional, brick and mortar furniture store.
Finally, with the increasing number of online vendors, the competition is stiff. This means that the competitors will focus on better quality and customer satisfaction in order to stand out, which will only benefit the buyer. Of all the benefits listed above, this is probably the most valuable one.