The online furniture store world has boomed over the last decade, making furniture shopping a process that is accessible to all at the tap of a finger or the click of a button. However, online furniture shopping is not for everyone. In this brief article, hear about the pros and cons of shopping at an online furniture store in comparison to a physical store, so that you can make an informed decision that you will not regret.
What makes an online furniture store tick
Although this may seem common knowledge, understanding the user interface of an online furniture store can save you from making a few rookie errors when you cast your lot and buy online. For example, knowing how to detect whether an online furniture store is legitimate or not is an important nugget of wisdom to carry with you for all your online shopping experiences. Failure to do so can result in you falling prey to a scam.
Simply examine the site’s URL which is found in your browser’s topmost search bar. If you see a lock symbol in the URL, you are good to go knowing the site is secure. Usually, reputable online sites do not have bizarre URLs with random letters or symbols amongst the text. So use your gut feeling on this one too. Another way to test a site’s validity is to google reviews or customer ratings, a surefire way to not only find out if the site cares for its customers, but also to ensure that you are shopping from a trusted portal.
Do not forget to make use of search bars, filters and catalogues on the online furniture store website. They are there for your convenience, and to make your online shopping experience as easy and as streamlined as possible.
Skip the queues and beat the rush with an online furniture store
There is nothing quite like a rushing crowd and ever elongating queue to encourage. Impulse buying. And there are few shopping experiences so upsetting like walking out of a store having purchased something expensive that you do not even need, knowing that you cannot withstand another session waiting in line to return it.
Shopping online means that you have time, space and peace to consider your purchase in the comfort of your own home, and on your own terms. You can stack multiple items in your ‘basket’ and compare them with ease. Cost comparison has never been easier!
No need to worry that you will miss out on special deals, however, as online furniture stores are most known for their great sales. Black Friday, for example, yields a magnitude of sales and deals that are often unrivalled to physical furniture stores. Festive periods such as Christmas and Easter are also times to watch out for in terms of saving money on furniture. You may be surprised to hear that many online furniture stores feature month-end specials on some worthwhile pieces that can only be found online.
However, some find the process of shopping for furniture in a physical store exciting and worst the crowds and bustle. This is understandable, as saving up for, and then buying, furniture is an anticipated event, and often a family activity. There is nothing quite like buying a piece of furniture and taking it home on the same day, on your own terms.
Online furniture store means stocks aplenty
Driving from store to store, only to find that the piece you have in mind is out of stock everywhere is a terrible way to spend your precious weekend, and something to be avoided at all costs. Yes, you could phone each store individually and hope to not be placed on hold in order to enquire if they have it, or you could simply open up your search bar and begin typing.
The dynamic nature of online stores means that stock is always coming and going, oftentimes sourced from across the country. If a product you fancy is out of stock, you will still see it advertised, and can provide your details to receive notification as to when it is available again. Doing this research can save you both petrol and time, as well. As stressful debates amidst Saturday traffic.
Sometimes, online stores have more stock than physical stores in general. Think more colours, more shapes, more sizes, all ripe for the picking. Your creativity need no longer be limited by what you see on the shelf before you.
To be inspired
Some people find inspiration standing amongst towering shelves of furniture and materials in a physical store. Others find it scanning through décor blogs and looking at colour pallets. Regardless, when shopping for furniture, having a set style in mind plays a large roll in avoiding buyer’s regret and ensuring that you purchase the ideal piece of your dreams.
If you choose to shop in-store:
– Ensure that you bring a list or some notion of ideas that you have for the space you wish to decorate or furnish. Furniture stores can be extremely overwhelming, and without guidelines you may come home with a bizarre leopard-print pillow that clashes with every colour in your home.
– Measure your space beforehand. In doing so, you can save multiple trips to a store since you already have a reference of space in your mind, or preferably written down in your notes. No one wants to spend a fortune on an elegant sectional sofa only to find that it cannot fit in that exact position you had in mind. This goes for measuring curtain length and any other piece of furniture you wish to bring into your home.
– Bring pictures, many pictures. Being confronted with a variety of shapes and colours can cloud and distract the mind. Ensuring that you have screenshots on your phone of designs you found online, or photos of your home, or even a colour palette of the overall look you desire, can streamline your process to a surprisingly large degree. You are a human on a mission, so you need to have all your tools ready to go.
If you choose to shop online:
– Without a salesperson present to explain the merits of each type of wood, linen or filler, you are the online shopper need to have a basic understanding of furniture lingo and jargon. Understanding the difference between polyester, cotton and thread count can save you countless disappointments.
Did you know that your duvet cover needs to be one size larger than your duvet to avoid bunching? This may be obvious to some, but a marvel to others. Spend some time on Google freshening up on furniture and bedding before you make your final purchases so you are well-informed.
– Keep your tabs open. Having multiple designer blogs and pages open can serve to guide you into buying suitable and sustainable furniture, that meshes together well in your home. Not everyone has a creative streak, and some of us need more help than others in this regard, in order to create a beautiful space.
Delivered to your door
Arguably one of the biggest perks of shopping for furniture online is having your products delivered to your door. This means that you no longer need to stress about whether that ginormous couch will fit in, or on top of your car, and the dents and dings it may leave in the process. Further, you will not have to spend sleepless nights worrying if your unreliable friend with a bakkie will pull through to help you bring home that dining room table.
Shopping online means that those worries become someone else’s problem. All you need to worry about is being at home during the scheduled delivery time, mask on, waiting for your piece’s anticipated arrival to its new home. While waiting 2-5 days for delivery may not be an issue for some, there are those of us who are impatient and want to see our purchases arrive instantly at our home.
However, sometimes the wait is worth the anticipation and endless hours of torment. For when your piece arrives, likely wrapped up and in perfect condition despite a long and bumpy ride, you may find that you regret nothing. Online stores usually utilise their own trusted courier and transport companies. However, if there is a specific company you would like to use, at your own extra cost, you will need to liaise with the specific store to see if this is a possibility.
Having your newly-bought furniture delivered to you could also save you several appointments at the physiotherapist or chiropractor after having pulled a muscle in your efforts to get your furniture home on your own terms. While many online stores offer no costs on standard shipping, there are some who charge based on location. This is understandable, especially if your delivery address is far-removed and extremely remote.
If you are concerned about having your products delivered, pick up the phone and make use of the store’s customer care line, during working hours of course. Sometimes all it takes to ease the mind is hearing a friendly human on the other line, who can answer any questions and concerns you have at that moment. If you would prefer, however, most online stores make use of online chats or WhatsApp talk lines for the same purpose.
With over 852,965 cases of the novel coronavirus having been identified in South Africa since the outbreak in early March, the National Health Department is preparing for a second wave, as reported by The Daily Maverick. Despite easing up on lockdown regulations, the recent increase in transmission should serve as a signal for people to stay home to the best of their abilities. This includes refraining from taking frequent and prolonged shopping trips for anything other than the necessities.
This is where an online furniture store could save the day. The pandemic has wreaked havoc upon the South African economy during the course of 2020. Refraining from spending money out of fear of the virus is a good way to doom the economy further. You do not need to wait on buying that dream piece you had in mind, and can still do so with an online furniture store. If you are a furniture store junkie like the majority of the population, the fact that you are not able to physically touch, see, or sit on a piece of furniture in which you are interested might drive you away.
However, reputable and trustworthy online stores can alleviate you of these concerns with accurate descriptions, relevant information and brilliant customer care services. For many, buying online is a compromise, but it could soon become your standard if you play your cards right and find yourself a reliable store. Who knows, you may even find that when the pandemic begins to dissipate, you may forgo shopping in-person altogether!