The Hidden Costs of Buying Furniture Online
“Online shopping is killing America’s brick-and-mortar stores.” You’ve almost certainly heard this statement before. Perhaps you’ve said it yourself. But while studies indicate that almost 80% of Americans have shopped online, 64% still prefer buying from brick-and-mortar stores, and over 90% of US retail sales happen offline.
Over the past few years, there’s been an increased effort to sell furniture online. Sites like Amazon & Wayfair have invested heavily in the home furnishings market, by launching private brands and advertising free shipping deals. Shopping from home can be convenient, but the biggest motivator is often price. Online stores don’t run the overhead of brick-and-mortar stores and thus can often charge less.
But educated furniture shoppers know that the best price doesn’t always equal the best value. Here are some important things to consider before buying furniture online.
You Can’t See, Touch, or Feel Before Buying
This is definitely the biggest reason that people prefer to buy goods in a brick-and-mortar store, as opposed to shopping online. By seeing something in person, you can understand the size, scale, color, and functionality in ways that can’t be duplicated by even the most talented website designer. Depending on the item purchased, this objection can be overruled with an easy return process, but this is rarely true with big-ticket items like furniture. Return shipping is expensive and a hassle, and in the case of custom-order furniture (like what you’ll find at The Amish Home), returns are likely not an option.
Who Will Assemble the Furniture?
Most furniture that is sold online is shipped as flat-pack furniture that requires assembly. Depending on the piece, assembly can take hours and leaves most people very frustrated. Higher-quality furniture usually is delivered assembled, but will typically require a freight delivery, which is much more expensive than a package delivery (from USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.) For example, if you order from the biggest Amish furniture website, they will charge a flat rate of $249 for curbside delivery, or $399 for inside delivery. For your reference, The Amish Home delivers furniture fully assembled throughout the greater Pittsburgh area starting at $95 (final delivery price is based on delivery location and items to be delivered.)
Who Helps if you Have a Problem?
It’s inevitable, even with high-quality furniture like you’ll find at The Amish Home, that sometimes there will be problems. If you’ve ordered online, your only option is likely to call an 800 number and wait for a representative. When you buy from a brick-and-mortar store, you’re a familiar face to the people that you need for help. A store like The Amish Home will have a team of people dedicated to catching mistakes before delivery and fixing problems during and after delivery, all while trying to minimize the inconvenience to the customer. For example, last month we delivered a dining table and discovered that the builder had installed the butterfly leaf backwards. Our delivery team caught the problem and fixed the leaf as part of the initial delivery appointment. We did not need to trouble the customer with a separate service appointment.
The Amish Home is Pittsburgh-owned and staffed by a local team who are dedicated to bringing our neighbors high-quality hardwood furniture at fair prices. Visit us in the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, or don’t hesitate to call or email with any questions.