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Why I Bought Furniture Online

October 17, 2016

I have a confession to make: I’m a big online shopper.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a pretty big brick-and-mortar shopper, too. (Actually, I’m a big shopper in general - I may have a bit of a problem!) But it’s hard for me to resist the allure of the digital marketplace.

Much of my web shopping is for items such as electronics, clothing, diapers, etc., but I’ve also made a few furniture purchases online. While I’m usually a “need to see/touch” kind of furniture shopper, there have been instances when I’ve taken a chance buying on the web.

Why did I decide to spend my hard-earned money on something I could only see in a photo on my screen? Here’s why:

1. Convenience: I’m the mother of a 2-year-old, and I have a full-time job. Time is in short supply for me. So, while I love spending an afternoon walking through vignettes, touching fabrics and testing the comfort of cushions, it is rare that I’m afforded this luxury. Being able to find something on my phone or tablet, do a little research, click and have it delivered to my door is too tempting.
2. Price: Having covered the furnishings industry in various capacities for several years now, I’ve learned that “you get what you pay for” could not be more true when it comes to furniture. Higher quality furniture comes with a higher price tag, and for good reason. But at the same time, I love a deal. And if I can score furniture I know to be well-made for a good price (and maybe get a little extra knocked off for using my store credit card), then it’s really hard for me to turn that down. It’s even more enticing if I know I don’t have to pay sales tax.
3. Selection: It’s not fair, but online retailers generally aren’t bound by the space constraints that brick-and-mortar stores have, so they often have a wider range of options.

So, how can brick-and-mortars compete for a consumer like me?

Customer service, customer service, customer service. The one thing that keeps me coming back to brick-and-mortar stores, even though online is so much easier, is the level of customer service I receive at these establishments. The informed sales staff that can explain products to me. The delivery and setup in my home. The after-sale follow-up to make sure I’m completely satisfied. These are things that make me loyal to a store, and these are things I cannot get from a website.

As retailers, you already know this is your ace in the hole, but if your staff becomes complacent or forgets just how important service is, it can cost you business from consumers like me who can just as easily shop from home.

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