San Diego, CA
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October 15, 2008

Furniture Store or Furniture Website? What to prefer?

That is the question! However, it doesn't seem any simpler as we go into that. Really, what benefits does furniture store has compared to the furniture website, and where 'internet' is stronger?

We'll try to figure that out with no real subjective favor for internet stores, but from the pure objective point of view.

One quick note - we are located in New Jersey, near New York, in Tri-State area: it's extremely densely populated area with an overwhelming choice of local and global businesses in every niche including furniture stores. While furniture stores here are plenty, it also means 'online' in most cases would be a better choice. We have a special note about NY & NJ furniture stores here.

First of all, furniture stores, as stores of any other department (electronics, appliances, etc.) will never completely disappear as someone might predict: some brave folks think internet is going to take every possible niche in our lives and there would be no physical, real stores for just anything in some 5-10 years. Yes, they say internet is coming and it's going to conquer the world - it is happening right now, for sure, but some things, let's be realistic would never disappear completely. Museums, theaters, stores, gas stations or people's live communication. To be honest, it is true - more and more people prefer internet stores, but there are few reasons why real stores would never completely disappear. We will try to list main of those.

First thing, and the most important - in real store you can SEE what you're about to purchase, try it, touch it, taste it. That's the biggest disadvantage internet stores have.

Choosing furniture online

Even large purchases like furniture are easily done online

Second: sometimes it's nothing more important than buyer's feeling of 'great deal talk' or 'friend-like chat' feeling. This is something that can be done only between two people physically talking about possible purchase - buyer and seller. Statistics say, however, that older people prefer to buy something from SOMEONE they know, than from internet, even if it's 2x times cheaper - it's just more convenient to their inner feeling of trust. That is second big disadvantage that internet stores have.

Third, is that most furniture stores (any other stores would do it in a 100% cases) will allow you to take something from the floor or shelf right away and get it home in 10-20-40 minutes (of course if you will be willing to do all the handling). That is something internet stores can't offer. More than that - delivery times may vary, because some pieces might be out of stock or will be delivered from the other part of the country, what also takes time.

Final thing is that you can't meet physically and can just use the phone (at most times). That is not that comfortable for some people.

Let's look closer at the point 1. Touch, Feel, Real thing. That's important. Really. It is. Let's be honest in here: We are not against any other way of buying, but anyway, if you are SO aware of the fact you can't see or touch the thing before you buy it, why are you browsing through the furniture website? No, really. You should be there at your local furniture store<, talking to 'Willie'-salesperson guy, who would be more than glad to assist you (for a %, of course). Don't forget one thing though - furniture store, if it's not the size of Wall-Mart, can't give you any really great CHOICE. Just because furniture is not something small. Fact is you can't put everything or even close to 50% of everything that you're selling on the floor. So, here we come to the first real internet store advantage:

Typical furniture store

Furniture stores can be huge, but useful

We really can present you anything that we sell. If we don't have it, we simply don't show it on the website.

We know what some people might say: How can I buy something, if I didn't see it or sat on that? How can I be sure it's good for me, or it is good quality? Well, we must answer the same way as we did at the first place. Just go the furniture store. There you can sit on pieces they have on display. Don't forget though, that in the store, you won't probably find what you like (as you might not find on the website as well) and you will be offered a numerous quantity of furniture factories or manufacturers catalogs. Guess what? These catalogs are the same thing internet website offer. There are two big differences though. First - you are watching websites at your home, work, whatever you have time, and nobody is pushing you or altering your decision. Second - PRICE!

No real stores could possibly compete with internet websites even if they sell same items. Stores simply can't afford it, because they need to pay for much more stuff. Main advantage of internet websites is PRICE. (In addition, most websites won't probably charge you a sales tax, what local store will always do)

That is main reason why people buy from internet. No, seriously, would you buy a digital camera from the store nearby for $999.00 when it's available online for $600.00? We really doubt so.

You are not pushed by anybody to make a purchase or decide right away. You can take time off, you can think, compare models that you like, compare your choices, discuss possible purchase with anyone you like. That is really important advantage. Same thing applies for a time consumption. Oh, come on, we are so lazy... Why do we need to go to my car to get to 10 different furniture stores (which are not on the same plaza, of course) when we can get online and visit 10 different websites, find what we like, order that and forget about that till the furniture is delivered?

Understanding those things has given me absolute clear thoughts of the things as they are. Obviously, it's almost every time better to buy online, especially if you have something else to do, that just search furniture stores in hunt for a piece at a double price that you will like at the first sight. However, it's everybody's will to decide for themselves. If physical test is that important to you - go the furniture store. If you like calm choosing process with a better price range for your convenience - just visit our website. Or any other website. That's your thing to decide.

Anyway, it's just furniture. It's just nice little different wood-leather-glass-whoeverknowswhatisit pieces to make our lives little easier.

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