For this blog I am talking about the 100% online purchase where you don't have the opportunity or inclination to go and see the actual product in a store or showroom.
When you buy furniture online your brain uses the images and text to predict how the object of your affection will actually be in reality, while your heart projects how you might want it to be. If you only listen to your brain you will probably end up wasting time just looking…and if you only listen to you heart, you end up with a hopeful collection of disappointments. Sound familiar..we're talking about furniture right?
So, the first thing is to listen to what your heart has to say. It’s the most powerful intuitive tool you have and taps into knowledge and wisdom that would make your brain hurt if you really had to think that hard. Once you are clear that your heart says “yes”, bring on the brain to do some reality checking.
1. Check the price via image search.
A huge part of online shopping is quickly comparing the same product from a number of retailers to see who is offering the best price. However the retailers attempt to prevent this comparison by re-naming the product so a name search is no good. You need to use the image search…look through the images and if 2 products look the same they most likely are. From the same factory and probably in the same packaging although sometimes not. You will soon work out how to drill down and confirm “like for like” through the descriptions.
See these two below…same product, different names $500 difference.
2. Get a tape measure and check the size.
Your brain automatically fed you a mental picture of how big this thing is without even checking the dimensions right? Nothing tricky here, just read the dimensions, get a tape measure and confirm to yourself your mental picture is correct. Don't be like me and buy a dining chair at great price only to find out it was a mini-sized kids chair.
3. Appreciate the colour will vary from what you see on the screen.
The colour on your screen will not exactly match the colour in real life. Look at the item on your phone and then on another device to get a feel for the variation across different screens. The same thing happens in store: it never looks the same when you get it home because the store had fluorescent lighting / was north facing etc etc. Colour variation is not something that can be easily overcome, but factor it in as a reality.
4. Confirm the assembly requirements and make use of the assembly instructions.
If assembly is required you will likely be saving on the shipping costs which is great, but confirm if 2 people or any tools are required and plan accordingly. When assembling remember these 2 things:
a) lay out all the parts and confirm you have everything before starting …yes this means bringing the assembly instructions into play which some people consider cheating.
b) Don't tighten anything until the very end - this solves 50% of assembly issues and helps avoid the hassle of organising a return.
These are just a few of points that I hope can help make your online buying experience a happy one. Most importantly ask lots of your own questions until you feel completely comfortable.
Please feel free to share your own experiences via email or the comments section,