In our connected world, online transactions are a big part of the pie. We can order anything from groceries to houses and more through a few clicks and taps. Of course, it doesn't mean that the buyer no longer needs to complete their due diligence.
Each product or niche has its specifics. Gadgets have specific and uniform features, but furniture can't be as specific. This holds especially true when you're buying more elegant products like vintage furniture. For these stylish products, you need more specifics. Let's see a few tips that make the purchase worth your while.
1. Check shipping and return policy
Start with checking the shipping cost. Shipping furniture can be expensive, in some cases, prohibitively so. Thoroughly check the shipping costs and policy and keep an eye every step of the way.
Many websites stick to the policy of free shipping. Now, that's a pretty good deal. It's also something to remember when you compare prices on different sites. Never downplay shipping and taxes!
The return policy is similarly related. Websites that have convoluted return policies, charge restocking fees or don't allow returns aren't focused on consumer interests. On the other hand, retailers with a clear policy are great. But, how does a customer ship furniture? Some retailers offer assistance, and that is awesome.
Whether your choice is baroque, modern, conventional vintage or anything else, look for a site that has a specialization. Keep in mind, specialization isn't necessarily exclusivity. It's knowing what you're selling, the trends and consumer expectations.
These stores not only carry the furniture, but they also offer a better approach. Some may also include related accessories, tips and decor suggestions. Finding a site that goes with your style and taste can make things easier.
3. Look at the photos
Photographs are a great way to understand the product's overall looks and feel. Often, you'll be able to see the furniture from different angles, see it in a decorated room and get a general sense of how it will look. However, photos don't always tell the truth.
Arrangements in decor for photography are often made in a way that accentuates each piece. It isn't a bad thing, but it won't necessarily reflect how the piece will look in your home. This may not even be a good way to confirm product dimensions.
That's why you always read the product description to see the exact specifics of the product. The dimensions, material, finish, all become clear when you consider the description. Keep an open mind, and don't expect the product to look exactly like the pictures. Things as simple as your screen settings and home lighting can make a product look different at home.
4. Read the reviews
What do other consumers have to say about the product and the site? Reading customer reviews on the product you're considering and the store can give you a good insight. This includes not just the usability of the furniture but also the reliability of the seller.
Common problems and seller behavior become apparent in reviews, as does the possibility of the furniture being exactly up to expectations. Where possible, look for third-party reviews as well, and not just those on the shopping site's pages.
5. Compare pricing and look for sales
Buying online means the freedom to check prices across different sellers and retailers. You can browse several sites, search a specific product through its name and do your research. This makes it easier to find the best deal on the product you're looking for, and often, you can save a lot of money.
When you compare prices, remember to look at totals. The total price you consider must include taxes, shipping, handling and any miscellaneous fees. What matters is not the list price, but what you have to pay.
It's also a good idea to look (or even wait) for sales. Many sale seasons are easily predictable. So, if one's around the corner, see if you can wait 'till a sale goes live. It's also a good idea to search for coupons to get better deals.
6. Check dimensions
Before you buy furniture, go through the dimensions carefully. Whether you're buying industrial furniture, vintage furniture or anything else, keep the dimensions in mind. Simple visualizing won't do. Use a measuring tape to check exact dimensions.
7. Furniture Assembly
Is the furniture being shipped pre-assembled or will it be assembled upon delivery? You'll also have to check on assembly support. For most furniture items, white glove delivery is the way to go. This means they will deliver the furniture to your home, unpack, assemble and set it up where you want it.
However, this can be expensive. Some sites offer doorstep delivery (but no assembly). This might work for smaller, simpler items. But, home delivery and setup/assembly is the way to go for larger items. Of course, if the furniture is being delivered pre-assembled, you won't have to worry about all these things.