Bonus: Ask around!
Wise consumers know the seller before they buy. Ask your neighbors and friends for recommendations and, if possible, shop around before you buy. Remember that reputable business people will answer all questions fully and will not rush you into buying. They want their customers to be satisfied, and they want you to recommend them to others.
HomeFurnishings.com is a great place to start. All you have to do to find one of our Certified Retailers is simply type in your zip code! HomeFurnishings.com Certified Retailers all have written consumer “rights” and guarantee policies, a clear dispute resolution vehicle, and are members of your local Better Business Bureau or local retail merchant association.
5 Keys to Choosing a Home Furnishings Store
Choose the best place to shop.
- by Trisha Kemerly
Home furnishings are sold everywhere today, from big retail chains and department stores to small specialty stores. Finding a retailer that is right for you ultimately is a matter of personal preference, but there are a few ideas to keep in mind that will help you not only find the items you’re looking for, but be completely satisfied with the process as well. Here are five keys to finding a retailer that will make your furniture shopping experience a pleasure.
1. Location & Availability
You may think that it’s a good idea to travel to a big city a couple of hours away from home to see a bigger selection of furniture. However, shopping for furniture should be convenient for you so that you don’t feel pressured to commit to something you’re not sure about. Because we typically hold onto our furniture for many years, you should take your time and revisit a store to make sure it’s a place you want to do business.
“Choose a store with convenient store hours and close proximity to your home,” advises Cherie Rose, owner of The Rose Collection in Los Gatos, Calif. “Out-of-town delivery charges can add a hefty price tag to your total. And the added benefit of shopping local is that it helps your town’s local economy, which is good for your community!”
HomeFurnishings.com can help you find a local Certified Retailer by simply typing in your zip code. Find the retailer locator in the top right corner of this page.
2. Style & Selection
It’s important to find a retailer that fits your style. So start shopping at the biggest store? Maybe. Big retail furniture chains have a huge selection to choose from, but that doesn’t help you if it’s not the style or quality that you’re interested in buying, right? The idea is to find a store that carries a good selection of items you really like. Big stores may be helpful if you aren’t sure of your style, or want a coordinated, packaged room setting. Or, a small independent retailer with complimentary design services and eclectic furnishings may suit your style better.
If you’re walking around a store hoping to find a gem among lots of blah, then you’re just wasting your time. On the other hand, if you walk in a store and say, “Wow!” at nearly every display, chances are great that you’re going to find what you’re looking for. When you find the right type of store for you, the retailer is better able to help you put together your whole “look,” not just one or two miscellaneous pieces.
3. Attitude and Atmosphere
Have you ever walked into a store only to be either ignored or pestered to death? No one wants either extreme. Good retailers will greet you and show you they are happy you are shopping there, but they won’t pressure you or follow you uninvited.
Similarly, the atmosphere of the store should reflect the experience you are seeking. If you want to shop at a discount retailer, then you can expect less frills in the shopping experience. However, if you’re looking for high-end design (that usually includes a high-end price tag), you should expect a higher attention to detail and expert assistance.
Regardless, you should always expect a clean and safe environment to shop, with bathrooms that are well lit and sanitary.
A great shopping experience doesn’t necessarily mean always looking for the lowest price! It simply means you need to know your budget and shop in a store that meets your needs.
Furniture is one of those purchases where you often “get what you pay for.” Sure, you can find a sofa for $299, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be one that you love and that will last for very long, either. If you invest more money into your purchase, you will have many more benefits in terms of comfort, quality, and overall satisfaction.
“I know price is a big consideration for people, especially in the last couple of years, so I ask right from the beginning what that customer is comfortable spending,” says Rose. “I don’t want to get a customer all excited about a new roomful of furniture only to find out that it’s way out of their price range. The trick is to know your budget before you shop, then let your retailer help you find the best buys for that amount.”
Depending on the retailer you choose, the financing options can vary. A big store may be able to offer you 24 months of interest-free credit, but a smaller store may have a flexible in-house financing program. Before you buy, ask about the seller’s credit terms and delivery service. An added charge for delivery or higher credit charge may mean that a “good buy” is not as good as it appeared.
5. Customer Service
Great customer service includes everything from the shopping phase until well after your purchase has been delivered. Do you feel appreciated and welcome in the store? Do you feel as though the salespeople are knowledgeable, caring, and interested in meeting your needs? How far will the employees go to help answer your questions and make sure you are happy with your purchase?
“We have a 24-hour rule in my store,” explains Rose. “If someone calls with any problem or question, we get back to them within 24 hours. Really good retailers stand behind their products and take care of their customers from the moment the person walks through the door. I offer a fair price for what I do—it may not be the cheapest, but no one is going to beat my service.”