The online sale of furniture and decoration grows every year, but some consumers still distrust before daring to take the step.
No one doubts at this point that buying jeans without seeing them, without touching them and without trying them is perfectly feasible. But what if instead of a pair of pants we talk about a table for the dining room or a sofa? Then, the price rises at the same rate as the doubts grow. And the inability to see in person what we are going to buy – to touch the wood to see if it is resistant or to sit on the couch to make sure it is comfortable – becomes for many an insurmountable obstacle.
Despite this barrier, the supply of online furniture is increasingly overwhelming. The goal, now, is not only to sell, but also to advise and inspire the customer. And even giants who seemed to resist, have finally yielded. Ikea launched its online store 1.0 last November , a first version that the reference brand promises to refine and expand. Not surprisingly, in the second quarter of 2016 (last available data), the furniture and decorating industry on the Internet handled a turnover of almost 26 million dollars, according to the National Commission on Markets and Competition ); Online stores accrued a total of 176,275 transactions, 34% more than in the same period last year.
Take off or growth with the brake still on? “The offline does not grow, the buyer no longer enters the stores and the habits of the consumers have changed a lot, but in the sale by Internet we grow every year”, says Esco Martín, head of Olhom , a family business open from the years Seventy that in 2014 made the leap to ecommerce . “It is a sector that grows continuously in its demand through the Internet”, points in the same line Ricardo Tayar, CEO of Flat 101 , an agency specialized in optimizing online businesses . “The fact of not being able to tangibilize the product makes the reflection on its purchase is long and the doubts about buying it or not, grow,” he says.
The average purchase of this type of products on the Internet is 120 euros, according to a study of Flat 101, a high amount that forces you to analyze every detail well. What should we take into account in this process of reflection? In addition to the usual precautions for any Internet purchase – look for a reliable seller, compare prices, do not act on impulse – there are three tricks that can help us to buy furniture online and avoid not repent when they get home.
The key is in the description
Read the product description is an obligation for any online buyer , but in the case of furniture can make the difference between success and failure more absolute. Does that lamp you want include the cable and the bezel? Do the curtains sell in pairs or just a panel? Does the sofa chaise longue go left or right? And the carpet can be machine washed or you have to take it to the dry cleaner? Think of the immediate moment to receive the furniture, but also in the future life you will have once you get home. The road is full of small traps, so researching and doing a previous search on the key features of each piece that we want to buy can save us a few dislikes. “The furniture is usually something that is bought ‘for life’ and its price is higher. The customer thinks about it a lot and researches more than other cheaper products “, explain from Decoratualma , who was born as a blog in 2009 and a year later opened his own decoration shop on the Internet.
The availability and the stock is also a data that we must look with magnifying glass. Not only to get a realistic idea of when we will have our purchase at home – times can range from a couple of days to several weeks or even months – but also for security reasons. Mireia Plá, interior designer of online store MIV Interiors , warns: “The main thing is to choose a good store of trust. It is a sector with a lot of competition and every day many phantom stores appear, which do not indicate neither measures of the products nor the availability “. Esco Martín adds another detail: check whether the product is assembled or not and if the assembly, if necessary, is included in the shipment.
There will never be enough photos
The color, the form, the finish … are characteristics that we will have to analyze through a screen. Others, such as the comfort of an armchair or a mattress or the touch, will simply be impossible to check. The photos are the showcase of the online stores , so it is important that we have several images of the product that we want to buy, preferably general, detail and some with around elements that serve as reference to check the dimensions. “It is one of the most common fears,” said Esco Martin. “We are called by many people asking if what they will receive will be the same as what they see in the photo.”
There is always, however, a point of risk that should be assumed from the beginning (the photos are made for catalog and with good light, the colors may look different depending on the screen …). An option to solve doubts is to locate the product in the physical establishment of the store where we want to buy. But some brands are 100% online . In that case, Mireia Plá advises to contact the seller: “Send an email or call. It will also serve to test the seller, see how he responds, if he does it with professionalism … “. Ask, for example, if there are more photos available or even if they can send you some samples, especially in case you want to buy some textile (think, for example, in the upholstery of a sofa).
Measure, measure and measure again
Essential for any visit to a furniture store, but more so if we intend to do it from behind the screen. It is not enough to calculate by eye if that bed that is so well priced will fit well into the bedroom. Take out the tape measure and apply it thoroughly. In addition to the obvious measures – height, width and depth -, we must also calculate, for example, the distance that will remain between the rest of the furniture we have. One trick to make no mistake is to mark the dimensions of the piece of furniture with painter’s tape on the floor: it will give us an accurate idea of what we should expect once we get home.
Be sure of the size of the package and calculate all the route you will have to do before arriving at your final destination: doors, elevators, stairwells, portals, corridors … Most shops and transport agencies do not Are responsible if the delivery of the order is impossible because the package does not even enter through the door. And the cases in which you have to look for a crane, however improbable they may seem, happen.