buying furniture online
Kendall’s been home from college during his Christmas vacation so we put him to work with Loryn and Neville re-designing the look of our fine furniture website. Actually this is a project he started a year ago during last year’s holiday break, but it proved to be a more complex task than we anticipated. So Kendall’s been working it on and off while at school, but in earnest these last few weeks. We’re hoping to have the final touches put on the new website design next week.
I think you’ll like it. Kendall has cleaned up the clutter and created more space for what our customers have said is most important: photographs of our furniture. He’s also expanded the section of our website devoted to our green mission (forest conservation). And we’ve tried to make it easier to navigate by placing the shopping navigation menus on the top of the screen (not on the left side anymore). We’ve also added social media buttons (Facebook, Pinterest, Share, etc.) to help you bookmark or share the furniture you like best.
The “new look” is just a first step in responding to your requests for a better online shopping experience. Neville and Loryn are hard at work upgrading other features of our fine furniture website, equipping it with even more photos and making it faster, easier and more intuitive to use. Check in often over the next couple months and let us know what you think of our online upgrades. We’ll look for your comments below or on our Facebook.
Though I proudly work as a customer service representative at Vermont Woods Studios, like most everyone here, I have multiple responsibilities- like coordinating our shipping department. When I say ‘department’, I mean myself and ample help from my co-workers, Heather and Sean. And when I say ‘coordinator’ it should be understood I’m not blanket wrapping or boxing furniture or doing any heavy lifting (in the physical sense)- no, my job more consists of generously detailed spreadsheets conveying who has what going where. Of course, this is the most plain way to relate the job of shipping coordinator- behind every spreadsheet entry is a person that myself or one of my close seated co-workers has likely spent time helping to carefully select the furniture destined to become heirlooms in their lives.
Perhaps you’ve been one of these people or you soon will be. Either way, you may be curious what happens after the phone calls and email exchanges are done and your furniture crafting is under way. I’ll start by saying you are never forgotten. There may not be a group of Einsteins providing customer service here (though we certainly know a heck of a lot about furniture) but we have an inspired sense of memory when it comes to recalling individual customers- their personalities, orders and particular needs.
Order processing, peer checking, communicating with craftsmen, booking delivery and the occasional office party barely begins to highlight the ins and outs of our department. Want to explore the caverns of the Vermont Woods Studios world? Check back every other week for a detailed (possibly wordy) exploration of our day to day. Next week features Behind the Veil: Customer Service- Part Two; the surprisingly interesting (in the opinion of some) order processing process.
So you’re thinking about buying furniture online. You routinely purchase books and clothes online, but fine furniture is different. It’s a big investment– maybe about the same dollar value as a new computer system or perhaps much more. What if you’re not happy with it? Can you just send it back? How do you know which online furniture stores you can trust?
This is a big decision so it’s worth the time to do a little homework before buying furniture online. The good news is that there are lots of reputable furniture retailers online, offering quality products at competitive prices. A few minutes of browsing through a furniture website can usually give you a good idea of whether or not it’s honest and reputable. While you’re researching, consider these Top 5 tips for buying furniture online:
Find a Furniture Specialist
Choose a company that focuses on selling exclusively furniture. If they sell thousands or hundreds of thousands of things from pillows to pampers to produce, they’re not going to be experts in fine furniture. The point here is that customizing, shipping and delivering fine furniture are services that require specialization and a lot can go wrong without it. There’s a big difference between FedExing a pillow and delivering and setting up a bedroom set in your home. Fine furniture shipping and delivery is an exacting art and science. Don’t expect it to be done well by an online department store. Go with a furniture specialist.
The Devil is in the Details when Buying Furniture Online
Find a company that provides detailed information about their fine furniture. Who makes it? How is it made? Where is it made? What is it made of? What kind of joinery is employed? Is it solid wood or veneered? What are the directions for proper furniture care? Spend some time studying this information on the company’s website and follow up with any questions over the phone.
Get White Glove Treatment
Go for the white glove shipping and delivery. This is an important service and there are various levels offered. The best and only one I recommend is the full service option where professional furniture delivery crews bring your furniture into your home, set it up, inspect it with you and remove the packaging. Alternative services like UPS, FedEx and curbside delivery from common freight carriers leave you wide open if there should be any shipping damage or missing pieces.
Check for Hidden Fees
Make sure to take into account shipping costs, taxes, and other fees when searching for the best prices! Some online furniture stores include free shipping in their base prices, but many do not. You may be surprised to learn that shipping can add up to $1000 to an order, depending on what you’re ordering and where you live.
Get a Lifetime Guarantee
Expensive fine furniture should be backed by a lifetime guarantee. It’s an investment you should be able to hand down to your children and grandchildren. Reputable American furniture companies will back their furniture with a guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship, especially when you’re buying furniture online.
Lastly, get to know your furniture maker or online retailer before buying furniture online. If someone knowledgeable is there to work with you through the selection and ordering process, it’s more likely they’ll be there for you at delivery time, if something goes wrong. Now that you’re ready to make your move, you can do it with confidence. Let me know how your fine furniture purchase goes by commenting below or on our Facebook.
So you’re thinking about buying furniture online. You routinely purchase books and clothes online, but furniture is different. It’s a big investment– maybe about the same dollar value as a new computer system or perhaps much more.
What if you’re not happy with it? Can you just send it back? How do you know which online furniture stores you can trust? This is a big decision so it’s worth the time to do a little homework before you buy.
The good news is that there are lots of reputable furniture retailers online, offering quality products at fair prices. A few minutes of browsing through a furniture website can usually give you a good idea of whether or not it’s honest and reputable. Here I’ll offer the Top 5 ways to tell…
Does the company focus on selling exclusively furniture or do they sell everything from pillows to pampers to produce? The point here is that customizing, shipping and delivering furniture are specialties that require specialization. There’s a big difference between FedExing a pillow and delivering and setting up a bedroom set in your home. Furniture shipping and delivery is an exacting art and science. Don’t expect it to be done well by an online department store. Go with a furniture specialist.
Does the company provide detailed information about their products, who makes them, how they are made, what they are made of, directions for furniture care? Spend some time studying this information on the company’s website
scrpaers steal content
Ask where the furiture is made and what it’s made of
Make sure to take into account shipping costs, taxes, and other fees when deciding on your purchase! Many online furniture stores offer free shipping but some do not. Make sure to take this into account when searching for the best prices.
Many times making a good decision rides a fine line between price and shopping at a reputable store.
Ask for contact info on former customers in your area.
Read their blog
Dont trust review sites that have a low alexa rating, http://www.habitationofjustice.com/affiliate-marketing-scams
Get contact info and call
Better Business Bureau – going obsolete http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/business-bureau-best-ratings-money-buy/story?id=12123843#.T4THaI6K0ko
google the name with “scam”
Just to let you know… at Vermont Woods Studios we live for your feedback about our furniture. It really makes our day. Here's a recent testimonial from a new friend and customer, E. W. In California:
Hi Rebecca:Tom from Clark & Reid left about 20 minutes ago. He was running early and was able to make the delivery at noon instead of 3:00pm. And
when he said noon, boy, he meant noon. He drove up a few minutes before
12:00, was very courteous, efficient, unloaded, assembled, cleaned up
and was done in under 45 minutes. Oh and what about the furniture? It's
great. It looks a little pale now but once the cherry darkens a bit
over time it'll look just like the photos on your website. Yes, it was worth the wait (just don't tell my co-workers I said that). As a matter of fact, I am taking photos back to work so they can see "the goods" (a very demanding lot). Once again, thank you for keeping me informed as to the status of the furniture and the delivery. I appreciate the
customer service. Thank you, EW
P.S. is it possible to purchase another leaf for the table? Just curious.
Thanks so much Eleanor for taking the time out of your busy day to drop us this nice note!