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The Pros and Cons of Buying Furniture Online

Living in the age of apps and technology where almost anything can be purchased on the web, it is no surprise that furniture companies try to capitalize on this cost-effective opportunity and offer their furniture and décor online as well. Having worked in furniture retail ourselves allow us to share with you some of the pros and cons of buying your furniture online.

Pros (There aren’t many)

Quick and Comfy

Today’s world moves so fast that it is sink or swim for many companies who cannot adapt to this lifestyle. When people buy things they want them shipped yesterday, they want to avoid the B.S of dealing and purchasing from people (especially commission-based sales) and they want to save time – long lines, commutes, inflexible store hours etc. Shopping for furniture online can be done quickly – if you know what you want, and more importantly it can be done in the comfort of your own home. So grab a coffee or glass of wine (my recommendation) because you might be in it for the long haul with so many choices and have fun with it.

Cons (Where do I start?)

Be Wary of Sales

Like any other store that tries to sell you something, furniture stores advertise sales for boxing day, father’s day, new years day or any other day of the week that can be glorified. They throw a time limit, of course, and everyone loses their minds as they contemplate if they should make the purchase before the sale ends. To make matters worse quantities are limited so you’re on a shot clock.

Take a step back and think about what you are about to do.

This piece of furniture, whether it is a sofa, armchair or sideboard will be something that you will spend part of your life with. It is part of the backdrop where all of your important moments in life will unfold. Dates, family gatherings, game and movie nights; do you really want to make a choice like that on a whim because you saw an online sale? I don’t think so. I witnessed (and eventually counselled) a couple fight in front of me during a sale over a sectional that was $800 off. They were so fixated on the “advertised sale price” That they didn’t even bother to stop and think if they actually liked the design of the sectional. Remember this, the price of the furniture piece is BS in most cases. Just because it is “worth” $2000 to the retailer doesn’t mean it is worth $2000 to you – especially if it looks weird.

The Colour Can Be Way Off

Take a picture with your phone and upload it Instagram. Before you do, edit that photo and up the saturation, brightness, and contrast. Looks amazing right? The water in the ocean has never been more blue. The real-life version is a little less perfect. Website catalogues are no different. Retailers photograph their inventory in a studio setting and tweak the images on Photoshop altering the actual appearance of the furniture piece. Even the retina display on your computer monitor can alter the appearance of the furniture.

In short, go to the showroom and let your eyes be the judge.

Return Policies

Returning something you purchased online can be a nightmare and I will tell you why. Some stores have a policy where if you buy it at the retail store in person you can deal with the store and sales consultants to take care of any issues you may have. I am the type of person who likes to have a personal connection with my purchases – especially with more expensive items like furniture or electronics so that if there is ever an issue, I know who to talk to and know there is accountability – there is a face to the sale. If you buy online, you may have to deal with the head office which could end up being in another city or province and will bounce you around internally within their department. So much for saving you time right?

Ergonomics

This is probably my biggest concern but how the hell can someone by a chair online without ever sitting on it first? In my days in retail, I would see the upcoming catalogues of the season with some sneak peaks of the collection and would already list the pieces I would want to order for the store because they looked beautiful. Finally when they would come in I would be underwhelmed. The fabric feels weird, the colour is off, the height is not right for me – This is a huge factor by the way. Every person has a different body. Furniture is not a one-size fits all deal here. It is a personal decision. The wand chooses the wizard and maybe the chair chooses the ass. One of our 5 senses is touch – use it

Information

This is an easy one but if you have a question wouldn’t you want an answer quickly? Online stores have FAQ pages and store policies but what happens if that doesn’t answer your question? You send them an email but what if you need a response quickly or what if their response triggers another question?

In short, we a moving into a lifestyle where we don’t necessarily need to have a face to face connection with some things we purchase but remember this; Design is personal – How personal is that store’s website to you?



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