Online shopping is a fantastic tool that allows you to conveniently research furniture options, discover ideas and inspiration while comparing products and prices from the comfort of your living room. It’s stress-free and it's fun!
We are so lucky to live in a time when we can easily investigate products without having to endure the busy crowds of malls and stores, try to find parking and wait to have a sales person to assist us. It’s an exhausting process that unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, the whole expedition can end up being a complete waste of time and energy.
With online-shopping you can browse at your leisure, avoid pushy sales people, beat the crowds, save on petrol and find the best sales. So now that we have this awesome tool in our lives it’s important to learn how to shop online like a pro. This means shopping with confidence by being able to identify good quality items and avoiding hidden costs etc.
Our guide to online shopping provides some very handy tips that will assist you greatly with your online shopping adventure. Don’t buy online until you have read the information below.
So after Googling the item you wish to find, you stumble across a few website options. Here's what to do next.
Buy furniture that is fit for purpose.
It’s important the furniture you invest in is not only stylish, but also functional and suitable for its application. For example, the gorgeous white linen sofa you are lusting after might look perfect in the picture, however, if you have small children or pets, chances are it’s not going to stay that way. Finding the right piece of furniture is about finding a balance between form and function.
Measure your space & mark it out
As is the case whenever you buy larger sized furniture, make sure you measure your room like a pro. This essential step will assist you to determine exactly what size furniture piece will best fit your space.
With a tape measure, measure the width and length of the space you intend to put your furniture. Use removable masking tape to tape off the measurements on your floor. This will help you to visualise what the room will look like with the furniture in place.
Shop on websites that are easy to use.
An attractive website that is easy to navigate will save you time and help to find the items you are looking for a whole lot faster. It's fair to say that a company that puts some effort into their website, is going to extend to you the same level of service and quality that their website reflects.
View the companies ‘About Us’ page.
Being a well-established store will help to provide a level of trust between the retailer and you the buyer. It’s important to have an idea about the company’s background, their business ethos and what they can offer you.
Read customer testimonials.
We cannot stress this enough. Some companies have testimonials on their website, however, if you want to find unbiased customer reviews check Google or a third-party websites such as Trust Pilot is a good one.
Only buy from websites with good quality images.
Images should be clear and allow you to see the detail and the colour of the item. Websites with a zoom function are handy, some also offer a 360 degree viewing option which allows you to see a furniture item from all angles.
Request an upholstery sample.
Remember colours may vary, depending on your computer. Unless you have a Mac don’t expect colours to be completely accurate. It’s a good idea to request a fabric swatch, so you can check the colour and also see how it will work back with the rest of your interior scheme. Some companies may even offer timber and metal finishes.
Carefully read the product descriptions.
Product descriptions should provide you with the following information:
A description of the style of the product.
The specification of the product which will include its dimensions, the colour, it’s construction, materials, finishes and sometimes weight.
It’s important to take note of these as it will assist your to make price comparisons. For example: a finish such as laminate or veneer may be less expensive, but will also be lower quality than solid wood and won’t last as long.
Check the return policy and warranty
A good returns policy and warranty equal peace-of-mind. Look for a 30 days no questions asked policy and a minimum of 12 months warranty. Check these policies and what the terms are.
Look for a company that offer relatively fast dispatch times
Some companies aim to ship within 2 business days and have a turnaround time of 10 days to capital cities with regional areas taking a little longer. However, some other furniture suppliers can have a lead time of up to 12 weeks. You can imagine the frustration felt after finally finding that perfect piece and not being able to obtain it for weeks, sometimes even months later.
Calculate shipping & delivery fees
Check if there will be a delivery fee or an additional shipping fee. Delivery fees are usually calculated on the cart page. Factor these costs into the total cost to make sure you are keeping within your budget.
Only pay via a secure website
Be sure the website you are buying from is secure and safe. Check that the website has an address and phone number. Some websites may link to secure shopping sites such as Shopify.
Paying with Paypal is a safer way to shop, or before adding in your credit card details to make a payment just check that the URL at the top of the page starts with https rather than just http. This indicates that the website is secure.
Click on the video link below to meet a Grace and find out what made her online shopping experience a positive one.
Loving the furniture pieces in this video? You can shop them here: Black Mango.
Image credits: blackmango.com.au.