Shopping for furniture online can be quite the challenge especially if one is not familiar with the furniture brands and quality. Let’s say for example you want to buy a sofa bed or a futon and you live in an area that does not have many furniture stores. The only choice you have is to purchase online without physically seeing the furniture. How do you know what you are getting is quality? Some people will look at the reviews of the product. But what if there are not many reviews you can go by? Here are a few guidelines you should follow before making a purchase of a futon or sofa bed online.
- If you are unfamiliar with the different brands of futons and sofa beds the most important thing to do is first call the number on the website to speak to a knowledgeable sales associate. Unfortunately this is not possible with big box stores such as Walmart, Target, Wayfair, Hayneedle and other big box online retailers. The reason is because the staff that answers the customer service calls has very little knowledge of the products. Their main focus is processing orders and scheduling deliveries. If you have any doubt or questions about the product it is highly recommended to purchase from an online specialty store where the staff is very knowledgeable and is able to provide more in depth personal attention.
- Delivery and shipping. Most likely when you order a big piece of furniture online such as a sofa, it will be delivered by a common carrier truck. Keep in mind that the shipping is not white glove service. White glove service is when the piece is brought into the place, unwrapped, assembled and garbage is removed. Standard common carrier truck shipping is usually curbside drop off. This means the only service that is provided is that the driver will take the piece of the truck. You are responsible for bring it inside and assembling it.
- Local delivery. If you purchase online from a local retailer or in their showroom then most likely they will provide you with full white glove delivery at a reasonable rate. Keep in mind that whenever you see “free shipping” online, this only refers to curbside drop off. Some online furniture sites offer “white glove delivery”, however this can end up costing you $300-$400 extra. If you are only spending $500 for a sofa, then this would not be an economically feasible solution.
- Do not go by the product reviews alone. Product reviews are helpful but can be very misleading. For example you may come across a sofa bed for $250 that has 5 bad reviews. You will commonly find that the people that purchased this inexpensive sofa bed intended on using it as an everyday bed and sitting sofa, when typically a sofa bed in this price range is a simple temporary solution. Keep in mind the usage. If you will be using this sofa quite frequently and want it to last for at least 5 years, you may want to consult first with a knowledgeable sales associate. You might also find positive product reviews for the same sofa bed. However, the people that wrote the reviews were only using the sofa occasionally.
In conclusion, it is highly recommended to shop from online specialty stores rather than big box online stores before making your purchase. Knowledge is key and selecting a sofa or a futon is not straightforward and cut and dry.