In the midst of a global pandemic, keeping safe and staying at home to the best of one’s ability has never been so important. Furniture stores are renowned for their bustling customer bases and in-store traffic, especially during weekends when most people have the time to do their much anticipated furniture shopping. Naturally, this is not the ideal place to be during these unprecedented times. In this article, in only a few minutes of reading, learn about the benefits you enjoy when you decide to buy furniture online and avoid the crowds.
Buy furniture online during the pandemic
By now most of us have become accustomed to the new mask-wearing, sanitizing and social distancing reality that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about. Life has changed dramatically since the onset in 2020, and things are unlikely to return the normal for most of us any time soon. In lieu of these sombre facts, there is a realm of exciting opportunity – the world of online shopping, which many of us were not so exposed to before now.
When you make the decision to buy furniture online, you are forgoing the throngs of customers, crowds and the possible contraction of the virus by remaining home and waiting for your purchases to be delivered straight to your door – with minimal effort on your behalf.
The buy furniture online perks
Many people see purchasing furniture online as a compromise or consolation prize. However, this is certainly not the case. When you buy furniture online, you are opening the door to a world of limitless possibilities in the forms of shapes, colours, designs, access and availability that are rarely enjoyed when shopping for furniture in-store. For example, the hunt for a couch at a furniture store could yield no positive benefits due to a limit in both stock and colour variances, while shopping for couches online will likely give you a much larger and diverse selection for your benefit.
The same applies with other pieces of furniture. Finding exactly what you are looking for online may actually save you a rat-race of a day driving around and visiting multiple furniture stores in desperate search of an item you could potentially find and order with the click of a few buttons.
Pricing problems in a pandemic
A large portion of the population put off buying furniture until it is absolutely necessary. This is understandable, as the price of furniture, especially big brand pieces often ranges from above range to exorbitant. This is not a welcome fact during one of the largest economic recessions since the Great Depression as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In light of this, making the decision to buy furniture online could lessen your financial predicament after you have purchased what you need, and here are two reasons why:
The online furniture scene is a fiercely competitive landscape, marked by the need to attract potential buyers and create a loyal customer-base. Online stores are aware of the hard-hitting effects of the pandemic on the economy, and how buyers’ personal finances have been affected. As a result, there is a good likelihood that prices may have been adjusted to cater to loyal customers and new buyers.
Alternative payment options are a saving grace during these difficult financial times. A good store will offer several payment plans and options when you buy furniture online that may assist you in making your purchase. While plans may vary in timeframes, they are there to serve the customer (oftentimes with no interest penalties added on to them.)
Safety checks for websites
While many online shopper have successfully defeated the fears and anxieties associated with online payments, there are still those wary to buy furniture online due to the former. This is understandable, as the horror stories of faux websites and online schemes seem to be never-ending. However, in these trying times, now may be the best time to jump on the bandwagon and face your fears.
Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that the online store with whom you are doing business is a reliable one.
Check out the URL
It’s easy to get lost in our online adventures. This makes it unsurprising that many of us forget to pay attention to a website’s URL when we get lost down the rabbit hole of the world wide web. This could lead to some easily avoidable problems when it comes to a breach in the security of your devices.
The address bar on a website contains an abundance of important information that indicates the legitimacy of a website. At first glance you may be able to see some bizarre characters that have nothing to do with the content of the web page you see before you. Usually however, it is not as simple as this.
In most cases, the presence in the URL of a S after HTTP means that the website is likely secure.
Look out for company/trust seals
Legitimate websites and online stores in particular utilise diverse payment methods as well as liaise with online security companies and associations. These associated companies are often displayed in the form of seals or logos on the store’s website, and can usually be found at the bottom of the home page. While making note of the presence of these seals is not an infallible method of insuring the trustworthiness of an online company, it is a good indication of the former.
Pay attention to spelling and grammar
Not all company website designers or compilers are wordsmiths, and many online companies do not invest in professional writers or proof readers to set out the information on the site. However, while some spelling blunders are normal and understandable, an excessive amount can indicate that something is not quite right with the site.
Trustworthy companies take pride in their websites and the ways in which they present their offerings to potential customers. It is part of the customer experience and therefore is an important
One glaringly obvious indication that a website is fake or a scam is a total lack of a Contact Us section or a customer care facility. An online business strives to connect with the customer and potential buyer, meaning that putting contact services into place is one of the most necessary points of orders. When there is lack of such services, you should immediately be suspicious.
Don’t be shy, Google it
A fantastic way to ensure that a business is who they say they are is an informative Google search. When you buy furniture online, it is likely that your chosen store will have a physical store or at least a warehouse somewhere. The address of the former should be easily located, and do not be afraid to open up Google Maps or even Google Earth to do a ‘street mode’ viewing to be extra sure if you are still uncertain.
Customer reviews may also pop up with a Google search. Reading about the experiences and ratings of other customers is one of the most effective ways of determining whether or not an online company is appealing to you. Here, you can learn a bit about how they treat their customers, their response times as well as understand more about their services.
Safety checks for deliveries
One exciting benefit of shopping online is the delivery service. The anticipation and excitement experienced when you wake up on the day your brand new dining room table or cabinet is arriving is a unique and thrilling experience, sweetened by the fact that you do not have to break your back lugging it home in the process. Nonetheless, this process can be dampened if you are not sure what the company’s specific shipping and return policies are.
One way to avoid disappointment and buyers remorse is to familiarise yourself with the former, and ask questions if there is anything about which you are uncertain – that is what customer care lines are for! While this may seem obvious, do not get lured into clicking ‘checkout’ or ‘pay’ unless you are totally confident that your delivery information is faultless and that there will without a doubt be someone at home on the estimated day of delivery to receive your new furniture.
The danger of crowds during a pandemic
Think back to Saturdays after payday, pre-pandemic. Those who had worked hard all month, and all week, flocked to furniture stores to try out new beds and chairs to update their homes and breathe new life into their space. This scenario may have been exciting for some of us back then. Today, it fills most of us with dread.
Research has shown time and time again during this pandemic that crowds are hot spots for transmission of the virus. While masks are an effective precautionary measure, there is no guarantee that the virus cannot bypass the protective layer and in the process, infect you or those with whom you are close.
Even though stores may request temperature checks and the signing of symptom forms, the real possibility of people being asymptomatic, in other words, not showing any symptoms of the virus, frequently arises. There is no sure way to remain risk free. However, doing one’s best to stay at home is an effective way to remain safe.
Shopping online due to social fears
There are some online shoppers who depend on the service in order to manage social anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia. This disorder is more common than people think. The disorder drives those who suffer from it to avoid places or scenarios that may result in embarrassment or helplessness. Being in an open, public space is one common situation that those who battle with agoraphobia dread most.
For many with the disorder, or similar disorders, standing in queues or being in crowds is an absolute no-go. This makes online shopping a handy tool, though not an effective or long term treatment, for managing the disorder. Even if you do not suffer from a diagnosed condition like agoraphobia, but feel easily overwhelmed when making decisions in crowded spaces, shopping for furniture online may be a useful practice.
Deciding to go ahead with a purchase is a big deal, bearing in mind that you will likely be spending a considerable amount of money on your new piece, as well as the fact that the piece is going to be on display in your home for several years in the best case scenario. This decision calls for a level of calm that for some, is not possible when surrounded by throngs of people in a busy store. Even those of us who can tolerate crowds are likely to benefit from making a decision behind a screen, in our favourite comfy spot with a cup of tea next to us.