Don’t Get Burned Buying Furniture Online. Avoid Risks & Click with Confidence.

Posted on August 15th, 2017 by [email protected]


Enticing offers for purchasing furniture online stream through social feeds, display and video advertising with promises of low prices, increased selection, and free delivery. With the power of the internet in the palm of your hand, the furniture industry is no different than other businesses fighting for your eCommerce dollar. However, are the risks the same for buying say a new outfit online as buying a new sofa?

When is it smarter to purchase online versus a local brick and mortar retailer? When considering the option, you might be surprised to hear the best answer is a combination of both.

Know the Risks of Online Furniture Purchases

Before you click that “buy now” button at the checkout screen, here are a few considerations so they don’t come as a surprise later.

Furniture Shipping Times & Damage

Furniture is heavy and bulky. Your cargo is loaded and unloaded from truck to truck from city to city to eventually arrive at your door. This helps to keep costs lower for the retailer, but increases risks of long delivery times, product getting lost in transit, and significantly increases the risk of damage. According to review sites like Consumer Affairs, one of the biggest complaints customers have had with vendors such as Wayfair is the failure to deliver product within the time frame stated at the time of purchase.

Furniture Shipping Costs

With enticing offers and discounts on furniture for a living room, dining room or bedroom makeover, certain prices seem to be no brainers. However, once sales tax and freight are tacked on, you might end up with a surprising total. Some online retailers compensate for upfront discounts for online purchases by tacking the difference onto the shipping & handling cost.

On the flip side, “free delivery” is tactic used where the cost of shipping is always built into the cost of the item. Always compare online purchase with shipping to a local retail purchase for both customer pickup and delivery from a local store, and always ask if installation is included with delivery.

Returning Furniture, Mattresses, & Large Accessories

You ordered a sofa online and you just don’t like it. What now? Online vendors like Amazon and Wayfair have different policies.¬†With Amazon, returns are dependent on the policies of a third-party seller, in which you are often responsible for shipping costs for the return as well as a restocking fee. There have been times when the cost to ship an item back exceeds the cost of purchase! With Wayfair, not only are you responsible for the shipping cost, but the item must be returned in “original condition and packaging”. This can be nearly impossible to accomplish since the plastic wrapping on a sofa or a rug is usually cut and torn unpacking it.

Have you ever heard of these mattress-in-a-box companies where a mattress comes in a small box and magically inflates and unfolds on your bed? This might be the worst offender of all for returns. Imagine if that mattress ends up being horribly uncomfortable and you want to return it. Just try rolling that mattress back up and getting it back in the box after the memory foam inflates and fills up with air.

The truth is, many retailers intentionally impose difficult requirements for returning an item and count on return shipping costs being too high to keep customers from returning their purchase when they are unhappy

Smart Ways to Buy Furniture Online

Is buying furniture online all bad? Of course not, but you should know certain guidelines to get the best value for your dollar and have peace of mind in case something goes wrong.Before you begin you online shopping journey, compile a list of retailers that have an actual furniture store near you for service and returns. Once you have narrowed your search and verified the item is on display, you can even hop in your car to see it in person.

There is no online substitute for being able to see an item in person before you buy to make sure the style, size, and comfort are exactly what you are looking for. The other considerations largely revolve around costs for delivery, shipping time, returns and service.

Here is a check list for a safer online shopping experience and protecting your investment.

• Start online research for furniture companies with local brick and mortar retail locations
• Know your measurements to be certain it will fit
• Narrow your selection of favorites to items that are on display locally to see them in person
• Verify if items are in stock and how soon they are available for pickup or delivery
• Get prices for delivery as well as picking it up yourself at the local store
• Find out if installation is included with delivery
• Find out all policies for damage replacement or return
• Inquire about all online and package discounts for multiple item purchases

According to Forester Research, online furniture purchases are growing at a rate of approximately 14% a year, and the reality is more than 80% of furniture shoppers conduct online research before shopping at a brick and mortar location. Why? Furniture consumers tend to be smart about investing their dollar. By following a few simple guidelines, consumers can feel more confident making a furniture purchase online with the piece of mind in knowing the local store is nearby if anything goes wrong.


Bob Mills Furniture


Bob Mills Furniture & Sleep Spa
Oklahoma City | Tulsa | Amarillo | Lubbock | Odessa | Midland | Waco | Temple | San Antonio

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 at 1:42 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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