The growth of online retail has made it clear that people love doing their shopping at home. The internet has made it possible for us to get almost everything we need online, whether it be clothing, electronics, or even groceries. However, just because we can, doesn’t necessarily mean we should. As a business owner that does both online and local retail, I would like to provide some insight on both types of transactions. In this article, we’ll be diving into the world of furniture sales (bathroom vanities in particular), and weighing the pros and cons of shopping online vs in person.
When it comes to variety, shopping online is the clear winner. With hundreds of dealers and items condensed into one platform, you are bound to find the perfect cabinet for your project. It may take some time to find something you really like, but you will find it. However, on the flip side of this, an issue may arise when you have too many options. If you don’t have a specific design in mind, it may be hard to choose one you like the most. With that being said, it is far better to have too many options to choose from than none at all.
Ease of Access
Finding a specialty furniture store nearby may be difficult if you don’t live in a metropolitan area. Most furniture outlets will carry your run of the mill living and bedroom items like sofas, couches, tables, and mattresses. However, bathroom vanities tend to be an afterthought, with many outlets carrying very few models or none at all. Even big box stores like Home Depot don’t have much of a selection. Obviously, with the internet, you’re able to easily make a purchase on your computer or smartphone with just a few clicks. So, if there isn’t an outlet nearby that specializes in bathroom vanities, your best (and only) option is to shop online.
An important factor to consider when buying anything is the price. When shopping online, there are a lot of fees dealers have to work with. The first is maintaining a product listing. Most vendors have to list their item through a reputable shopping platform that customers recognize and trust like Amazon or Wayfair. This is to provide customers with security when purchasing online. Typically, these platforms will charge a small percentage of the sales made.
Another cost to consider are shipping and handling fees. Shipping small items like handheld electronics or toys don’t cost much, but larger furniture items can upwards of $600! Furthermore, if you receive the item and you don’t like it, you will be liable for the shipping and return fees. In some instances, this becomes even more costly than the actual item itself! Then there’s the issue of shipping damage. Often times, the vendor will be eat most of the cost of damage incurred during transit. Claims will be filed with carriers, but the payout is measly and slow. All of these costs are added up and passed to customer. At the end of the day, a $700 vanity in store will get marked up to about $1,200 online to account for all those costs!
Online retailers try their best to improve shopping experience by providing pictures and detailed item descriptions. However, this isn’t a very good substitute for seeing the item in person. A quick look at a fast food menu and the actual item will show the rampant discrepancies in pictures versus real life. It is well documented nowadays how the manipulation of lighting and angles can make anything look better. Furthermore, when it comes to natural stone, there will always be some variation from piece to piece. The best way to see past all this is to view the item in person. What you see is what you get.
Touching back on the previous topic of shipping, shipping can be a hassle! With big furniture items, damage rate is high, almost 10%! And when this issue arises, its a headache for all parties. It is hard to determine which party is responsible when damage is reported. Vendors want to blame the carrier for mishandling the product. Carriers blame the customer for possibly mishandling or altering the product. Customers want to blame vendors for shipping defective items. This sort of issue is difficult to resolve and is a nightmare for individuals who are on a timeline.
In conclusion, if you can find a distributor in your area that is selling the furniture you need, check that out first. You can save yourself a lot of money and headache by doing so. Being able to see the item and handle it yourself will remove a lot of uncertainty and expenses on your end.