Would you buy a major piece of furniture, like a sofa, dining table thru online websites? Today, a lot of people would.
But unlike buying a book or electronic gadgets from an e-commerce site, online furniture shopping comes with unique challenges for consumers. Its price points are a bit higher, sometimes delivery/shipping cost can add hundreds of pesos. And lastly the physical exam (touch and feel interaction) to the furniture is done through your computer screen.
Much of my online furniture shopping is for research. Consumer saves time from driving all over the city looking to see what different stores carry. And to add it up, here’s a handy guide to furnishing your home via the web.
Research the website
If you come across a site that you aren’t familiar with, do some homework on it. Start by reading the “About Us” page. A legit company will provide information about when it was founded, where it is located, and contact information such as a phone number or address. Get wary of sites that are not specific with their About Us page. And if the page has spelling or grammatical errors, a red flag immediately goes up. There’s a good chance it’s an overseas company, which means little to no customer support, longer delivery times and fewer guarantees of quality.
Besides reading the About Us page, I also do an online search of the company name, often with the keywords “scam,” “legitimate” and “review,” to see if there are any complaints about the company.
Note: for bad press release be aware of the dates as scandal and controversy, e-commerce websites has a continuous growth to be ahead because to each other to get the best share in the market.
Read product reviews
Everybody’s a critic, and that’s a good thing when buying furniture online. When you find a piece you like, check out what other buyers think of it. You’ll get an honest assessment of how comfortable the furniture is, how durable the materials are, and if the colors are true to how they look on the computer screen. And if assembly is involved, reviewers will often give advice about putting together the piece.
Make sure it fits the room
It’s difficult to determine the true scale of furniture from a photograph alone. Find out the dimensions of the piece and use masking tape to map it out in the room where you intend to put it. (This is a good thing to do before you buy any piece, even when you aren’t buying online.) Even smaller items need to be checked for size. For example, a coffee table might look perfect next to your sofa. But take out a ruler to measure if it would be too high or too low. Double-checking measurements now will save you a lot of inconvenience in returns later.
Make sure it fits through the door
Don’t assume everything is going to fit through your front door — also consider the stairs, its pathway to your preferred spot. Items that are disassembled and in separate boxes are usually not an issue, but if a large furniture piece comes fully assembled, take note of the dimensions and then measure your front door and the pathway to its eventual room. Examples are sofas, bed frames, wood cabinets and dining tables.
Online shopping has a huge advantage for shoppers who like to make the best purchase by comparing thru other sites. You can usually find the same furniture piece on several websites, so it’s a good idea to do some comparison shopping for the best combination of item price and shipping cost. An online search of the name of the piece will bring you to all the websites where it is sold.
Check the Color
It’s very difficult to see true colors and finishes on your computer screen. Many online shops surrounds their furniture with different bright colors for the customers to have an idea on what is the specific color of the furniture.
Check the return policy
Worst comes to worst, return policy should be always available for online shopping. There is usually a link at the bottom of the home page. Understand the policy itself, although they might allow returns, check if you may have to pay for return shipping. On smaller items, the cost may be negligible, but the return shipping on larger pieces can be prohibitive. For websites that have local brick-and-mortar retail stores, you may be able to return the item to the store.
Consider the type of delivery
Online shopping for furniture items usually covers the delivery cost. Online stores are sometimes partnered with logistics companies to handle the unusual size.
Beware of back order/sample
When you find a piece marked as “on back order/sample,” on your item it does not necessarily mean that the item is so popular that there is a waiting list to purchase it. Basically back order items are:
- Very expensive in maintaining inventory;
- Turn-around of the merchandise is generally slow;
- Product is made to order and;
- Or its either very HOT or popular unique design.
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