Would you buy furniture online?
There is no doubt that the way people shop has changed over the last 10 years with the volume and value of goods being purchased online increasing all the time - the question is: "Is this the case for furniture?"
Reports produced today (06/01/2016) state that 40% of John Lewis' sales in the last six weeks have been online and that 1 in every 6 shoppers has bought a mattress online. On first reading this would indicate that people are more than happy to part with their cash online and that includes on furniture items - but is this really the case?
There's absolutely no doubt that online shopping has become the norm particularly for those in their 30's and 40's. Research again indicates that this is due to constraints on customers free time, many want to be relaxing at home rather than trawling around shops. The convenience brought by online shopping with timed delivery slots and in many cases the ability to buy today and receive tomorrow satisfies the desire of many consumers to not have to wait.
For many the convenience of online shopping outweighs the risks of the product not being exactly as they anticipated; but does this change for higher priced items such as quality sofas, dining tables and beds?
On further investigation it appears that high value furniture products from leading brands such as Alexander and James, Nathan, Old Charm, Tempur and Natuzzi Editions are purchased online. The reason - PRICE! We as a consumer visit bricks and mortar stores, try the branded items and satisfy ourselves with their quality and comfort. We select the fabric colours, the different items we require and then return home to the comforts of our own home and then scour the internet for the best price. Should retailers be upset by this or should they accept that this is the new way to shop and embrace it?
it isn't only branded products that sell online though, lower value items such as cheaper mattresses and bedside cabinets that can be delivered within a short time frame are also purchased in large volumes online, but this rather than being solely price driven is driven by convenience.
Without doubt large volumes of furniture are being purchased online; from the low value, non branded items to the higher value branded items. However the key is to remember not to be completely driven by price: we need to make sure that the companies we purchase from can offer the after care and the one to one service that we all expect at the end of the day. Not just a promise made to us on a screen!