In today’s digital era, you no longer need to visit a physical store to purchase your favorite furniture pieces. With the introduction of e-commerce websites, online shopping is no longer a concept; it’s a reality. In addition to their convenience and time-saving capabilities, online stores consistently offer great discounts and attractive deals.
Whether you’re online shopping for home furniture, a solar panel from a professional solar service, or groceries for the day, you just need to visit one of the many e-commerce websites. If you’re lucky, your retailer can deliver your goods to your doorstep for free. However, online shopping for home furniture can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time.
You have a variety of furniture pieces to pick from, but you’re not sure if they’ll fit your space or deliver the comfort you’re looking for. We’ve put together 15 tips for online shopping for home furniture to help you find your favorite pieces.
1. Check a Seller’s Reputation
When online shopping for home furniture, beware of internet scams. Unscrupulous traders constantly seek ways to scam unwary clients out of their hard-earned money. To avoid scammers, transact with reputable and trustworthy online retail businesses.
A secure e-commerce website’s URL address uses HTTPS instead of HTTP. Purchasing furniture from an unencrypted website puts you at risk of identity theft and financial loss. You should also try to find out as much as you can about the seller’s reputation.
Online customer service ratings and consumer reviews are a great way of knowing a retailer’s credibility. You will find varying consumer reviews from people who have used the seller’s site. Reputable online retailers usually have positive ratings, with consumers praising their shopping experience.
When online shopping for home furniture such as sofas or custom closets online, strongly consider retailers with a furniture outlet so you can track them down if you need to make a formal complaint that they can’t address online.
2. Review the Return Policy
The fact that online shopping doesn’t allow you to interact physically with the product is one of the major challenges of buying furniture online. For example, if you’re purchasing outdoor patio cushions, you won’t get to touch and feel the material. Additionally, you can’t assess factors such as the materials’ quality or determine whether the furniture will match the rest of your décor.
While certain retailers offer a pay-after-delivery option, online furniture stores generally require full payment before delivering the goods. This aspect puts you at risk of paying for items that fall short of your expectations. In light of this, always review the store’s return policy before making your purchase.
A return policy outlines the conditions for returning online-purchased products. It highlights how long you have to return the furniture, and if you’ll get a replacement or a refund. The charges for return shipping can also fall on you in some cases.
3. Identify Shipping and Assembly Costs
When online shopping for home furniture, always inquire about a retailer’s delivery options. Most online stores offer three primary delivery options:
- Front-door delivery
- Inside delivery
- White glove delivery
Front-door delivery means the delivery personnel will bring your new accent chair to your doorstep, but you’ll have to find the means of bringing it inside. While some retailers deliver the products for free, others charge a small delivery cost.
Inside delivery means the delivery team will carry your new furniture into your home or any other space of your choosing. This may entail taking it upstairs if you reside in an apartment complex. Some delivery services will even carry it to a room of your choosing. Inside delivery takes away the burden of carrying heavy furniture pieces from you. However, the delivery team will not inspect the shipment, open the box, or set up the furniture. This option typically costs more compared to front-door delivery.
White glove delivery is more comprehensive as it involves carrying, assembling, and setting up the furniture per your needs and preferences. If you can’t set up the furniture, white glove delivery is a fantastic choice, but it is pricey. Some online furniture sites charge up to $100 for white glove delivery.
4. Compare Prices
Whether you’re online shopping for home furniture or purchasing from a physical store, price is one of the most important factors to take into account. Furniture pieces generally don’t come cheap. So, it only makes sense to look for furniture that will be worth your money.
Luckily, most online furniture retailers offer enticing discounts and bargains to draw in new clients and outperform competitor retailers. E-commerce websites tend to have lower prices compared to physical stores.
Before placing an order, always inquire about pricing. The pricing lists for many online furniture stores vary, so it makes sense to check prices from different retailers to get the best deals. Take note of the price and shipping fees.
5. Prepare for Shopping
Identify what you need before you start online shopping for home furniture. To prepare:
- Determine a Budget – Identify what you can spend comfortably. Don’t forget to factor in shipping or assembly charges.
- Take Measurements Twice – Grab the measuring tape to know the specifics of your space. Measure, take notes, then repeat to confirm. Knowing the specific details of what you need can help you avoid selecting furniture that won’t fit in your room.
- Establish Finish Options – Finish materials play a significant role in the overall design of a piece of furniture. Note down what you like, what you’d consider, and what you don’t want.
- Find your Style – If you’re still confused about what you want, you can find inspiration on styles, looks, and finishes online by doing a quick search.
Don’t hesitate to take advantage of your online furniture retailer’s support personnel. They can advise you on the best options for your space by providing insider knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.
6. Find a Store That Favors Your Style
While some online retailers offer a wide range of products that cover different decorating styles, most online furniture stores provide goods that demonstrate their dedication to a particular style. For instance, certain stores focus on modern, green-friendly furniture. Such stores offer sleeker, minimalistic furniture and contemporary home décor pieces.
Other stores offer more classic or traditional selections geared toward customers with a conventional sense of style. Find a furniture store that reflects your style to have more options as you browse.
Pro tip: When online shopping for home furniture, use keywords that describe your style when searching. This approach will narrow down your search. For example, using terms such as Shabby Chic, Modern, French Country, and Classic will direct you to furniture pieces that match or complement your new windows from a multifamily window supplier.
7. Look at Different Photos of a Piece of Furniture
Most online furniture stores post several photos of their products, and you should carefully look through them. Generally, retailers use pictures of the furniture in a furnished and decorated space to highlight its features. However, they also provide links to side angles and other images without any props to make the furniture more appealing.
Unless it’s a limited edition, you can find different photos by looking up the brand name and specific model. You should look at as many pictures as possible to see how a piece of furniture would look in your house.
8. Read the Product Description
When shopping online for home furniture, read descriptions carefully before finalizing a purchase. Online furniture retailers are meticulous in their word selection. For instance, synthetic material or wood pulp is used to create veneer and composite woods.
Furniture pieces made from these materials are of inferior quality than those made from solid wood. If available, click on relevant links to read the specs after going through the summary description. Look for details about the furniture’s manufacture, durability, and cleaning recommendations.
9. Verify the Furniture Dimensions
Make sure you verify the furniture’s dimensions because pictures can be misleading. Don’t assume the component will fit where you want it to. Measure your room, then double-check the length and width of the furniture. You should also factor in the hallways and doorways to avoid any problems.
Consider how the furniture will fit in the room and ask for a second opinion if possible. You may order a large couch for your upstairs sitting area only to find it doesn’t fit around a tight bend on the stairwell after it’s delivered. Pro tip: You may phone the website’s toll-free number and ask a representative to send you the precise measurements of a piece of furniture if the site doesn’t provide them.
10. Be Careful with Colors
Although most websites make every effort to provide accurate images, displaying photos of furniture online may distort the items’ actual colors. Particularly darker furniture, like the espresso shade that’s popular with modern furniture designs, tends to appear lighter online.
11. Find Coupons
Coupons are popular promotional tools that retailers use to drive website traffic. You can benefit from these unique offers and enjoy significant discounts on your purchases. Visit your favorite online furniture website and subscribe to their mailing list. Many websites send new mailing list subscribers a thank-you coupon.
12. Consider the Taxes
Taxes may apply to your online purchase if the merchant has a physical location in your state. State taxes on retail purchases can be as high as 10%, which is a significant sum of money for something as expensive as furniture. If you purchase a $550 sofa and must pay an 8% tax rate, the final price of the couch may reach $594 before shipping.
For most stores, you can find the tax policy on the About page or the shopping cart. Remember to account for sales tax before completing your order.
13. Checking Store Reviews
Several websites let users leave reviews for internet retailers. While one or two negative reviews may just be a case of bad luck, several negative reviews or a poor rating could be a sign that you need to look elsewhere.
You can start with Google Product Search, which allows consumers to review and rank different retailers. Users can rate retailers on a scale of one to five stars and post reviews of both products and retailers. First, check the star rating. Avoid stores with a one or two-star rating. If a store has a three-star rating and above, read some of the customer reviews. Whether you’re looking for reviews on carpet cleaners, an antique rug repair service, or a furniture retailer, Google users typically leave candid reviews.
For products with the best reviews, search for furniture using the highest average user review. You can read in-depth evaluations of the furniture pieces and merchants by scrolling through the search results.
Pro Tip: The Better Business Bureau keeps track of customer grievances, problems with orders and shipments, and other concerns with online retailers. Use the Better Business Bureau website to find out more about an online store. Although not all stores have BBB profiles, you can still uncover helpful information.
14. Look at the About Page
Start with the about page of a potential retailer to jumpstart your research. The finest online retailers are transparent about their track record, customer experiences, and quality guarantees. You can find their contact information or location on the About page. Reputable retailers make reaching them offline a straightforward process.
15. Keep an Eye Out for Sales
Online stores often have sales, especially around the holidays. If you have your heart set on a piece of furniture but think the price is too high, hold on to your credit card for a while. The store may just put the product up for sale at drastically reduced prices.
While online shopping for home furniture can result in significant time and financial savings, beware of scams and do some research to find the best offers. Use a trustworthy site, compare prices for the best deals, and pick the right delivery option.
Thoroughly examine the photos and descriptions of any furniture you want to purchase. Most internet retailers hire professional photographers who can make anything look good under the right lighting. Additionally, don’t just go by the pictures. To get an idea of what you’re truly purchasing, read the reviews, evaluate the costs, and look up user-submitted photos on Google.
There you go; with these tips, your online shopping for home furniture can be quick, easy, affordable, and hassle-free.