Vermont woodworkers are among the best in the world, so the furniture making part of our online business at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture is the easy part. It's the shipping and delivery that's our biggest challenge.
All of our furniture is made to order in small and medium-sized woodworking shops around our state. Furniture makers work with great care and precision to make sure their pieces leave the workshop in tip-top condition. The last thing we want is to have to ask them to make something over again because it got broken by a shipper. Not to mention that receiving damaged furniture is a huge let down to our customers and totally unacceptable by any measure.
So over the years we developed a policy where (unless it was something small or a customer absolutely needed a RUSH delivery) we ship furniture via a white glove delivery service. With white glove delivery, furniture is handled by only one company from the time it is picked up in Vermont until the time it's set up in a customer's kitchen, home office, dining room or bedroom.
The delivery crew arranges a convenient time for delivery several days in advance. They arrive at a customer's home in uniform, bring the furniture inside, unpackage it, help inspect it and set it up (including assembly, if any). For fine furniture I've always felt this is the only acceptable shipping solution.
Our new partner, Copeland Furniture, however is beginning to persuade me that it's possible to engineer a successful DIY (do-it-yourself) furniture delivery system that will save customers money. Copeland has made significant advances in the art, science and technology of fine furniture packaging and shipping over the last couple years. They are now the world leader in safe, efficient, economical fine furniture shipping.
So, for Copeland furniture only we now offer free shipping and do-it-yourself (DIY) delivery as a more affordable option for customers who are willing and able to handle their own delivery. With DIY delivery, your furniture is brought to your doorstep where you must unpackage and inspect it yourself, then sign for it. You are responsible to bring your furniture into your home and assemble it, if needed. For chests, dressers and desks, there is typically no assembly required, with the exception of drawer and door knobs. With beds and tables, you must assemble them yourself– and easy directions are provided.
Customers can save an average of $300 with a DIY delivery. If you're interested, just give us a call or specify DIY as your choice in the pull-down menu for shipping when you're making an online purchase. Of course, Copeland furniture can also be purchased with white glove delivery for an additional fee. You can specify that on the pull-down menu as well. Either way, if you're purchasing furniture online be sure to review the applicable Furniture Delivery and Inspection procedures to protect yourself in case of any possible problems down the road.
We are eager to get your feedback on this new method of shipping.
Five years ago who would have ever even considered buying high end furniture online? Probably not many but several factors have been changing that. Today you can buy almost anything online and the process for buying furniture just keeps getting better and easier. Here are a few things to consider if you're shopping for fine furniture online:
Quality, Style and Price – Shopping online opens up a whole new world of choices when it comes to furniture quality, style and price. Even if you're planning to buy your furniture at a local brick and mortar store, you'll benefit from researching these options online and learning how they affect each other. You can also get an idea of what prices are fair and reasonable, as prices for the same piece of furniture can vary unbelievably from store to store.
Customization – Big box stores don't typically offer customization but smaller local stores usually do and so do many online furniture stores. A lot of our customers who live in Boston, Manhattan and other cities need to have their furniture customized to fit small spaces and we're happy to accommodate that. Custom furniture is not necessarily any more expensive than catalog furniture, especially if we're working off an existing design that just needs to be sized up or down to fit into your space.
Lead Time – Buying furniture online often means factoring in additional lead time for crafting and/or shipping. For example, at Vermont Woods Studios the average time between order placement and delivery to your home is about 6 weeks. That can vary depending on the particular pieces of furniture ordered, the degree of customization and the customer's location.
One last thing: online furniture stores have had to really focus on customer service in order to survive. The Internet provides such an accessible forum for reviews of our quality that there is no room for mistakes or less than stellar customer service. This is a great thing for both customers and the industry. It raises the bar for online and brick and mortar stores alike.