Unlike water filters, air conditioner filters or a pair of socks, furniture for your home or office can be very heavy. If you’re not careful, you could end up with poor quality furniture that costs you a fortune to get delivered. Here are some tips you can use to get the most out of your online furniture shopping experience.
Consider smaller online furniture companies that only sell furniture online. You can save hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars and get personalized service you just won’t get from the mega furniture stores.
Look for the ability to track your order online. See if the furniture retailer offers a tool on its website so you can check the status of your order anytime you want to – 24/7.
Find out if you can cancel your order if it takes too long to ship. You don’t want to have to wait forever for your furniture to arrive. Instead, the online furniture retailer should let you back out if your order is taking more than eight weeks to be on its way to you.
Make sure you understand what happens if you need to return an item. Will you end up paying for shipping in both directions, or just one? How much time will you have before you need to complete your return. A full 30 days is excellent. Will you have to pay a re-stocking or re-packaging fee?
Make sure the website makes it easy to contact customer service. When you buy furniture online, you don’t have the benefit of checking it out in person so you may need to ask questions before you add an item to your shopping cart. Toll-free phone numbers and instant messaging chat tools on the site can make shopping for your furniture a lot easier.
Look for easy-to-use zoom tools to examine the furniture you might buy.
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A good, clear zoomed image of the merchandise you’re considering can often help you make your purchasing decision and may also save you from having to ask some questions. Remember that actual colors may vary a bit from what your computer monitor displays.
Find out who will be delivering your furniture. Bonded delivery personnel who know how to handle large, potentially fragile items like furniture are a better choice than UPS or FedEx, except for smaller items or those you’ll have to assemble. Some big box retailers only guarantee delivery to the curb or driveway, some may offer “threshold delivery” to get your furniture through the door, and some furniture outlets offer “tailgate” delivery, meaning they’ll back the truck in, open the door and it will be up to you and whomever you can enlist for help to find a way to get the furniture in your house and up or down the stairs. While it’s a fact of life that for some items, limited delivery options are available, they should be the exception and not the rule.
Look for free, white glove furniture delivery. While it’s hard to find, free, white-glove furniture delivery is your best bet. Some online furniture stores offer various white glove delivery options, but they’re extra. White glove furniture delivery means your furniture will be brought inside your home or office, unpacked, put in place, and the packaging will be carted away. If you can get that free, you’re way ahead of the game.
Find out what happens if your furniture is damaged on arrival. Read the store’s damage policy carefully.If the furniture’s damaged, does the retailer offer repairs in your home, or will you absolutely have to get it shipped back? You might prefer to keep the furniture in your home until it gets repaired, especially if you can still use it. If you have to pay for return shipping, you’ll also save money by having the repairs made in your home or office.
Consider giving the online furniture store a trial run. If you like what you see, you fully understand their policies on returns, damage and shipping, but you’ve never bought from this online furniture retailer, give them a try on just one or two pieces of furniture for sale to see how they perform. You might be surprised, and, you might find a great source for buying all of your home office furniture, sofas, dining room sets and more for many years to come.