There’s no denying that online shopping has completely revolutionised the way we acquire things. All it takes is a few quick clicks and you can order anything from pizza to that brightly coloured recliner for your reading corner.
While many people still prefer to take inspiration for their purchases from similar styles of furniture for hotels or even items they seen in upmarket restaurants, others are choosing to simplify the process altogether. By choosing to shop online, there’s no walking from one venue to another, shortlisting options.
Online Shopping Pointers to Prevent Disappointment
If you’re new to online furniture shopping it means you haven’t learnt the hard way that what you see isn’t always what you get. In a perfect world, manufacturers are honest about the quality and specs of their products and the shopping process is ethical and fair.
Unfortunately, nothing’s and online purchases don’t always go according to plan. With that in mind, our shopping experts share some pointers that every first-time shopper should keep in mind before a small purchase turns into a huge nightmare.
- Compare Measurements
The biggest mistake furniture shoppers (online or not) make is that they don’t measure the space they want to place the furniture in. Just because you currently have a 2-seater couch in the space doesn’t mean all other 2-seaters will fit.
Credible online stores will always supply exact measurements of their pieces. Don’t estimate the size of your space—get a measuring tape and double-check so you can determine what items will fit. The last thing you want is returning your dream couch or a custom piece for a measurement fault.
- Read Reviews
Don’t let clicking through the online catalogue be the extent of your research into the product. It’s important to do your homework before settling on a vendor and manufacturer. Always check for the following:
- What are different customer reviews saying about the product? Have there been any regular quality complaints?
- Is the manufacturer reliable and do they have a good customer service record?
- Does the vendor have a simple returns policy? What is the warranty of the product?
- Are the advertised shipping times legitimate?
- Compare Different Vendors and Stores
With the multitude of online options, the good news is that comparing prices, offers, and quality levels should be quite easy. Since prices often vary depending on the promotional offers at each vendor, it’s always a good idea to shop around.
If you’re looking to furnish a whole new apartment—whether you’re a new property owner or a developer preparing a new asset—it’s worth looking into apartment furniture packages. You may end up saving some money while getting quality furniture.
- Know Your Consumer Rights
Despite an increased emphasis on credible vendors offering decent products, it’s still possible that you will encounter a shoddy supplier. To safeguard against this, always know what your consumer rights are in terms of return policies, refunds and customer service complaints. The Australian Consumer Law is very specific about what consumers are entitled to in different scenarios.
- Website Protocols
When you’re shopping online there’s always the risk of cybercrime. For example, banking information can be compromised, and personal details can be hacked. While most companies are putting protocols in place to minimise the likelihood of being hacked, there are several things that you can do from your side.
- Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi: You might think sitting in your favourite coffee shop during your lunch hour is the perfect time to get your shopping done, but it’s not! Public Wi-Fi is mostly unencrypted which means anyone can access it without trying too hard. Browsing and shortlisting options are still acceptable but rather perform the actual banking transaction when you get home.
- Only use sites with secure connections: E-commerce sites are among the easiest to create and they’re even simpler to hack. That means you could be looking at what you think is a legitimate site but it’s in fact a hacker site. The hacker site then mimics the real site to gain access to your credit card information. Look for the padlock symbol on the left of your URL bar. The lock should always be bolted, indicating a secure site.
- Always pay via a safe method: Credible e-commerce stores will almost always ask for a credit card payment. This is because it’s easier to track and reverse payments. There is also a level of protection offered by your bank. Debit cards and direct bank transfers are much riskier.
Shopping for furniture online provides you with more choices than you might have had if you were just visiting the local mall. In the space of a few hours of online browsing, you can view hundreds of potential options, making it an excellent way to find what you want. Or perhaps going online helps you identify a supplier you want to partner with for custom pieces.
That said, always ensure that you follow our recommended tips to ensure that you have a safe and easy shopping experience.