buying furniture online in-store

Furniture Shopping: Buying Online vs. Buying Brick-and-Mortar

Like everything else in life, there are both pros and cons of buying furniture online and from brick-and-mortar stores.

Buying furniture online is a relatively new concept that’s appealing to today’s online shoppers, but there’s also some understandable skepticism- after all, you can’t see and touch the products for yourself.

Brick-and-mortar stores, on the other hand, give you the chance to browse furniture in-person and receive assistance, yet more and more people are looking to online stores for their furniture needs.

So which mode of buying furniture is better? Honestly, that answer depends on your personal preferences and values, but we hope our list of pros and cons for each will give you some insight for your future purchasing decisions.

Buying Online

Pros

  • You can visit an online store anytime, anywhere as long as you have a device and internet connection.
  • Although digital marketing tactics may create some sense of urgency, there’s no salesperson who can pressure you into buying anything.
  • Navigating online stores is easier and faster than browsing brick-and-mortar stores because they’re highly organized and don’t require walking or travel.
  • You can see all of the products an online store has to offer since retail floor space isn’t a factor.
  • Fabric options and product information are readily available on a product’s web page.
  • Some online stores have interior virtual design tools that you can use to create a customized piece or see how furniture would look in a room.
  • Online store prices can be lower than those in brick-and-mortar stores because they don’t have physical locations with substantial overhead.
  • It’s easy to comparison-shop furniture between online stores.
  • Some online stores offer free shipping.

Cons

  • You can’t ask questions or get recommendations from a knowledgeable professional.
  • You can’t see, touch, or try out furniture for yourself to see if you truly like it.
  • Sometimes product pictures aren’t reliable as editing and lighting can change the color of a product in a photo.
  • There’s no room for negotiation on price.
  • You may have to assemble and move your newly-purchased furniture as some online stores will have your order dropped off at your door.
  • If an online store accepts returns, they may require your item be in its original packaging and for you to pay return shipping.

Buying Brick-and-Mortar

Pros

  • You receive the assistance of a salesperson who will add a personal touch to the buying process and make your experience more enjoyable.
  • If you have any questions or need suggestions, a knowledgeable professional is there to help you.
  • You can feel more confident in your purchase because you’ve seen the piece(s) in-person.
  • When placing a custom order, you can see fabric and finish swatches.
  • You can gain inspiration from brick-and-mortar stores by seeing how they arrange and group furniture.
  • If you’re buying from a local business, you’re supporting your local economy.
  • Prices can possibly be negotiated.
  • Delivery of furniture includes assembly and placement.

Cons

  • Brick-and-mortar stores are only open during certain days and hours.
  • It takes some time to walk through brick-and-mortar stores and see everything they have to offer.
  • Brick-and-mortar stores may charge a delivery fee.
  • By purchasing from a brick-and-mortar store, you may not be getting the lowest price possible.
  • You may not be able to physically see everything a brick-and-mortar store offers due to limited retail floor space.

Do you prefer to buy your furniture online or from a brick-and-mortar store, and why? We’d love to read your answer in the comments section below!

Disclaimer: The author has worked in a well-established furniture store for ten years. While writing the pros of buying from brick-and-mortar stores, the author reflected on time working with customers, and she notes that the experience has been largely enjoyable and uplifting.

2 thoughts on “Furniture Shopping: Buying Online vs. Buying Brick-and-Mortar”

  1. I like how you mentioned how you can navigate online stores faster since they are highly organized. My wife and I are looking for a lot of furniture to buy since we just bought a new house that is empty right now. We’ll be sure to find an online store and have some of the furniture to our new home this summer.

    1. Yes, that’s certainly one of the best pro’s when it comes to online shopping- navigating a website vs. a physical store can save lots of time and energy. As always, just make sure to read up on a site’s policies!

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