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Buying Fine Furniture Online: Top 3 Tips For A Successful Purchase

July 31st, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

 

Fine-furniture-online

Top 3 tips for buying fine furniture online: Buy from a fine furniture specialist, order white glove delivery and get a lifetime guarantee.

When I started Vermont Woods Studios seven years ago, most people told me that no one in their right mind would consider buying expensive fine furniture online.  But I would.  And I figured I was not the only one who preferred researching my purchases on my own rather than being "sold to" in a traditional furniture store.

 

If you're one of those people too, I'll offer some advice to help with your research.  Although we were one of the first, there are now literally hundreds of online stores selling fine furniture.  So here are my Top 3 Tips for Buying Fine Furniture Online:

 

BUY FROM A FINE FURNITURE SPECIALIST

Amazon, Ebay, YLiving, Sears, Wayfair and most big online stores carry "fine furniture".  But they also carry watches, silverware, desk accessories, umbrellas and cough drops.  So do you really trust them to know anything about your investment in fine furniture?  I don't think so.  Honestly there are so many things that can go wrong with a fine furniture purchase– you need to deal with someone who anticipates all possible issues involved in ordering, customizing, shipping and delivering your furniture.  Someone who will be immediately accessible and responsive if you get home from work and find a soaking wet box containing your new table or dresser on your doorstep.  Someone who will have already discussed delivery logistics with you such that something like that simply doesn't happen.

ORDER WHITE GLOVE SHIPPING AND DELIVERY

Many online "fine furniture" stores offer base prices that either do not include shipping or include "curbside shipping", which literally means the furniture is brought to your curb and you bring it into the house yourself.  Alternatively "white glove" shipping and delivery services bring your new furniture into your home, unpack it, assemble it, help you inspect it for possible shipping damage and remove the packaging materials.  You need this service not only to save your back and make sure your assembly is correct but also as a sort of "insurance policy" against shipping damage.  Even if it costs a couple hundred dollars extra, trust me– it's worth it.

GET A LIFETIME GUARANTEE

High quality, wood furniture makers offer a lifetime guarantee on their fine furniture– period.  This is your peace of mind regarding quality, especially when you're buying online. It takes the risk out of the deal.  If you're investing a substantial amount of money in fine wood furniture and your store won't guarantee it, go somewhere else.  Legitimate online fine furniture stores will offer the guarantee if you ask for it.

For more tips and advice on buying fine furniture online, visit our website and maybe even consider the Top 10 Reasons to Purchase Fine Furniture from Vermont Woods Studios.

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Buying Furniture Online: Top 5 Tips For A Successful Shopping Experience

April 10th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Buying Furniture Online | American Made | Handcrafted in Vermont

Buying Furniture Online | American Made | Handcrafted in Vermont

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.

http://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20120330/13111518310/furniture-designer-fights-copying-busting-up-some-chairs.shtml

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

 

http://www.eonline.com/news/clint_eastwood_sues_furniture_company/307243?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-topstories&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_topstories

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”

epinions

http://consumerist.com/2007/02/20-online-furniture-buying-tips-from-an-industry-insider.html

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Top 10 Reasons To Buy Fine Wood Furniture From Vermont

February 11th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

 

Fine-wood-furniture-vermont

Why Buy Furniture From Vermont Woods?

Last week I wrote a blog about Copeland Furniture and why Vermont Woods Studios is the best place to buy it.  Rebecca thought it was helpful and asked if I would write something similar for the rest of our furniture.  So, here you have it: The Top 10 Reasons To Buy Fine Wood Furniture From Us.

 

We know you can buy your furniture just about anywhere, including the grocery store.  We're not the cheapest or the fastest deal out there.  But what we can offer is the very best VALUE in terms of quality, price and longevity.  Our furniture is designed to last forever and we back that with a lifetime guarantee.

Check out the other reasons to buy from us.

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Where’s The Best Place To Buy Copeland Furniture?

February 3rd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Copeland-wood-furniture-vtCopeland Furniture in Bradford, Vermont makes stunningly beautiful furniture and they've gotten so good at marketing it that web-based shopping carts are lining up to carry it online.  You can find Copeland furniture right next to pet accessories, dishwashers and printer paper at stores like Amazon.com, Ebay, Yahoo and Yliving. 

Then there are dozens of retailers based overseas that appear to sell Copeland Furniture, but their websites don't have any "about us" or "contact us" info, so who knows?  I often find scrambled versions of my own blogs and website content pasted into their product pages so I don't have much confidence that anyone's really there… other than a computer and a cash register, maybe.

So if you're considering Copeland Furniture, we thought you might be interested in knowing where the best place to buy it is. 

Well, of course we think it's Vermont Woods Studios and we've come up with the Top 10 Reasons Why.  Besides the lifetime guarantee (which no other retailer I know of offers), low price guarantee, free shipping and our relentless customer service, there is one fact that other stores just can't duplicate.  Copeland furniture is made in VT and Vermont is where we live.  We are the leading authority on Vermont made furniture.  It's all we sell.  It's what we know. It's what we believe in. And we'll be here selling Vermont made furniture for the long haul.

One more reason.  Vermont Woods Studios was founded to showcase Vermont's handcrafted wood furniture in a way that raises awareness about where your furniture comes from. We use a portion of the profits from each piece of furniture to conserve forests, plant trees and save endangered species from going extinct due to habitat destruction.  But that story's for another day.  Thanks for reading!

Photo by Carolyn Bates, courtesy of Copeland Furniture

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Furniture Reviews: Customer Ratings For Quality

January 20th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Furniture-reviews-ratings-complaints

 

Last month we posted the results of our most recent Vermont Woods Studios Furniture customer satisfaction survey.  We received reviews and ratings from 69 of the 130 customers we surveyed (a response rate of 53%).  The questions we asked customers assessed the: quality of our furniture, ease of ordering online, shipping and delivery experience, price and response of customer sevice personnel. 

We also asked overall questions:  Would you purchase from Vermont Woods Studios Furniture again and What complaints do you have?

My previous post focused on customer reviews of our shipping and delivery performance, including a recent complaint and how we handled it.

 

 

Today I wanted to share customer feedback about the quality of our Vermont made furniture. When asked to rate "Quality of Furniture" our customers responded:
   *    Excellent or very good – 94.03%
   *    Neutral – 1.49%
   *    Needs improvement – 0%
   *    Unsatisfactory – 0%
   *    No answer or not applicable – 4.48%

So these numbers are good, but our goal is to have 97-100% of responses in the excellent to very good range so this 3% deficit is going to bother me.   We’ll be working on identifying the cause of this shortfall and fixing existing systems or implementing new systems to continuously improve. 

One positive thing is that there were no responses in the “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” categories.  But 1.49% were neutral and 4.48% either did not answer the questions or said quality was not applicable.  Hmmm? 

I wonder if some people are just uncomfortable rating the quality of fine, handmade furniture.  It’s kind of a science, really.  And an art.  I’ve written a number of posts recently about defining fine furniture.  There’s a big difference (quality and price-wise) between made to order furniture, customized furniture, custom wood furniture and custom artisan furniture.  It all depends on the type of wood used, styles of craftsmanship, sustainability and more. 

So it's complicated and maybe that's why a few people declined to answer that one.  I'm not sure. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.  Please feel free to post below in the comments, or on our Vermont Furniture Facebook or email me directly at peggy@VermontWoodsStudios.com.  Thanks!

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Online Furniture Shopping: Customer Reviews, Ratings and Complaints Drive Continuous Improvement

December 7th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

 Furniture-reviews-onlineAs fate would have it, a customer called Vermont Woods Studios today with a serious and urgent problem, just as I was in the middle of writing this blog about customer reviews and ratings.  Although our ratings are generally excellent (see yesterday's customer review ratings) occasionally something goes awry.  So we constantly push ourselves, our craftsmen, our shippers and our vendors to do better and avoid future errors.

I thought today's issue might be a good illustration of what can go wrong with furniture deliveries and what our process is for resolving customer complaints.  Here's what happened:  a customer in Arizona ordered a king size Vermont Shaker Moon bed.  The next day a customer in Sacramento ordered the same bed in California king size.  Somehow, the beds were switched and today the CA king bed was delivered to the wrong customer… clearly a huge mistake on our part.

So getting the beds un-switched and delivered to the corrrect customer is the (relatively) easy part for us.  The hard part of resolving this issue is compensating the customers for their time, frustration and inconvenience.  People often have to take time off work to accept and inspect deliveries. Understandably they can get angry over this kind of mistake. 

Since every issue is different, we try very hard to understand each customer's situation and needs as we're seeking a resolution they'll be happy with.  Today, after discussing options with the customer we offered an immediate full refund if the customer wanted to return the bed or a cash payment of $400 to compensate for the inconvenience of having to wait for the correct bed to be delivered.  The customer  thought it over and decided to return the bed for a full refund. 

We're now working with our shippers and craftspeople to fine tune our systems and make sure this error doesn't happen again.

I'd be interested to get your feedback, either in the comments below or on our Vermont Furniture Facebook.  You can see from our customer reviews and ratings that Shipping and Delivery are our greatest challenges.  This is true not just for us, but for the furniture industry as a whole.  What I can say, is that even though there are occasional shipping issues, we'll do almost anything the customer asks to make things right.  That includes complete replacement, repair, refund, cash compensation and a bunch of other things that customers have requested.  I think that's reflected in the results for this question:  Would you purchase from Vermont Woods Studios Furniture again?  98.53% of customers said yes.  We're trying to improve that too.

 

 

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