This is the first of a series of three posts describing the best and safest way to buy furniture online. With furniture costing an arm and a leg these days, many people are turning to the internet in the hopes of finding something affordably priced that looks quite like the more expensive versions.
However, just as there are various online sites where you can save thousands of dollars; there are also lots of poor, scam and unreliable websites you have to be wary about.
This is why the first thing you need to know if you plan to buy your furniture online is to locate the right website selling reliable and high-quality items at an affordable price. These tips can help you make the right choice.
1. Nothing impulsive
It’s most important that you don’t do any impulsive shopping. You need to do some research to ensure you buy from a website selling reliable ware that gives minimal complaints and problems later on.
2. Do your reading
You can learn a lot about the company through its About page. It's the better and safer websites that provide company details like their history, customer service and satisfaction guarantee on the page. There should also be some contact information because it’s only the reputable companies that print their contact details on the page.
3. Go through a few store reviews
It’s better and safer to read reviews found on most websites. While it’s okay for a store to have one or two bad experiences, sites with several bad reviews or a low ranking are better avoided.
You can start your research by visiting Google Product Search where users rank and review websites. They rank merchants on a one to five stars basis and submit reviews of different merchants. While stores with one or two-star ratings are better avoided, it’s better to learn more about those with three to five-star ratings by reading reviews left by others.
You can also check with the Better Business Bureau where they have a list of all the consumer complaints against different retailers on various aspects like shopping and ordering discrepancies and more. Even though you may not find all online stores listed here, you do learn a lot through the BBB.
4. The return policy
The best websites are those offering clear and flexible return policies. Customers should have enough time to make returns, at least 30 days. Some stores even offer 45 to 60 days to make a return.
Also, check the site’s re-stocking and shipping fees where the best policies have free return shipping. It can get expensive if you have to pay the return shipping costs. So stay clear from websites charging customers a re-stocking fee, have complex return procedures or don’t even let you make returns.
5. Shipping expenses
Check the store’s shipping policy which is usually mentioned in their FAQ or About pages before buying anything. Different websites use different shipping companies like FedEx quoting different shipping and handling rates.
Some may include the costs or handling fees to your order to compensate for their cheaper rates. This is why you have to check the store’s shipping and handling fees before buying anything.
There’s also the chance of stores offering free shipping, but later adding their shipping costs to the purchase price. It’s the sites quoting ‘free shipping’ but charging $100-$200 more for their furniture that usually adds shipping costs to the prices.
6. A store that matches your style
While online retailers like Amazon may offer a huge range of products in different decorating styles, there are some sites that sell only a particular style. Some sell modern and eco-friendly furniture containing minimal design elements while others may sell traditional or classic pieces.
Buying from a website selling your preferred style products leaves you with a wider range of choices to choose from. You can easily locate sites selling your preferred style by using keywords identifying it in your online searches.
7. Look for stores with a wide range of products
It’s better and quicker buying everything you need from a single store selling all you need for your home. Besides, most stores even offer discounts if you buy multiple pieces so you end up saving more money.
And if you are ardent about buying everything in the same stain or color, then it’s better to buy everything from one store. You’ll be assured they all match instead of ending up with different products in varied shades or colors.
8. Secure websites
Always buy from secure websites for a reduced chance for any identity theft. You will be able to tell if the site is secure or not when you start the checkout process. For example, check the page’s URL.
If it’s a secure site, then the URL should start with ‘https’ and not ‘HTTP’, which means that the site is secure. The presence of a lock icon somewhere at the bottom of the web page also means it’s a safe website.
Double-clicking on it gives you information about the website’s security measures. You can also find out more about the site’s security measures on their FAQ page.
And if you receive any promotional emails (You can sign up for ours at the bottom of the page!) from the site, always first ensure the email is safe and secure before clicking on any links in the email. If and when you do click on a link, check for signs indicating that you are at a secure site before buying anything.
Now that you know how to find a safe and right website for furniture shopping, keep your eyes peeled for the next post to find out more about how to choose different furniture. It’s worth spending all this time reading and finding out about online stores. This is because they don’t usually have any brick and mortar stores, and thus don’t have to bear its overheads.
This is how and why they can afford to sell their products at such excellent prices. Choosing the right furniture website ensures you make a safe, and reliable purchase and investment.
Then again, you may want to check out a few sites before making your final decision. Compare the different brands, products and rates in different websites and check the reviews and shipping costs before you make your final decision.
Have any other tips for finding a reliable site to shop for furniture online? Questions? Feel free to ask below in the comments!