Shopping in 2021: The Covid Era
Do you remember back in the day (2019) when you wanted new furniture? You jumped into the car, and you went to the location to pick out your new piece. Simple. As time went on, you were able to purchase your furniture online without ever leaving your home, but the option to view the new piece in person was still there. Fast forward to 2020, the world changed during the pandemic and the ways in which people shop or purchase items changed drastically. For safety reasons, people were simply no longer leaving home to purchase items, whether it be groceries or other necessities. This begs the question – how are businesses dealing with this drastic change? Additionally, if companies are not able to keep up with this change in trend, will they fall behind the curve?
Let’s be honest, furniture and groceries are very different things. Ordering red apples online may be easier than ordering a new bed online, but they do not have to be. Here are some tips to help with buying furniture in this modern age especially if you prefer not to visit the store:
- Do your research
There are a number of places which offer furniture online. Be sure to do your research ensuring not only that the company is reputable, but also that they are offering what you are looking for. Remember, furniture is an investment and you need to be comfortable. There are many ways to make sure you are getting the best value for your money especially when you are not able to go into a physical store. Here are some tips to look for when reasearching:
- Is there a social media presence – Nowadays, having a social media account is no longer enough. Stores should not only be posting new, relevant and updated content, but they also need to be responding to comments or your private messages. This shows that someone is actively monitoring the social media presence of the business and selling their products online. Social media is another sales avenue and should be treated accordingly.
- Are there reviews on the company? – Reviews show that someone has brought the product and in most cases show that customers have had an authentic experience with the company. Look for reviews especially on Facebook or Google where the sources can be checked (the person who posts the review can be seen. You may even be able to reach out to the source to get their opinion if you want to learn more.
- What’s on their website? – A website is a quick and easy way to learn everything about a company. Most relevant information should be posted, but how do you know it’s real and up to date? Simple, check the location and contact details for the company. If you know the area you can simple give them a visit or give them a call. Also check to see what your shopping options are with the company. Do they have a warranty and/or return policy? This can help to make you feel more secure about your potential purchase.
2. Give them a call or send them a message to speak with them directly
Now you have researched the company, you see a product you like, and you have questions. What do you do? Interact with the company the same way you would in the store. Give them a call or message. An online presence is one thing, but it is also nice to speak with an actual person. The more attentive the person is, the more secure you will feel in purchasing your furniture online. Customer service is more than just an in person job, it is something that should be relayed during any and all parts of the interaction with potential, current and past customers. Every call/message is an opportunity to sell a product and should be treated as such.
3. How to make sure what you see in the picture is really what you are getting?
Nothing beats actually feeling and seeing your furniture. However, with your busy schedule and especially with the changes around the world due to the pandemic, this may no longer be the case. People no longer wish to go into stores and prefer to limit their interactions with others. This means that they will take to their computer or phone to see what they can learn about their potential furniture piece. Here is what you should consider when looking at your piece online:
Pictures – See what kinds of pictures are available for viewing. Are they showing multiple sides of the piece or just a front view. To be sure the item is really what you want, having multiple sides of the furniture is the best option. Also consider the colour. Be open to the fact that the colour you see online may vary when you receive the actual product due to your computer/phone resolution.
3D View – The new and innovative way to shop is using 3D models. This is especially used when it comes to customising a product as all variations are not available in picture form. A 3D model allows you to customize your product and see exactly (or to the best ability) what the product will look like and at what price. This is perfect not only for locals, but also for persons who are interested in the products but are not in the same area or country.
Schedule a viewing via the internet or in person – Some companies are able to have cameras setup in their stores and can schedule viewings with potential customers who are not able to come to the showroom. This also helps people interact with companies without leaving home. You actually get to see, talk and experience the company through video. This also has the potential to increase product availability to more than just the country the product is based in. When it comes to in person viewing, this may assist with limited contact should you not wish to mingle with multiple persons and can be as individualised as online.
Times are changing and companies are evolving to meet their customers new needs. Make sure to consider these tips when looking to purchase items that are truly an investment to you and not an easy return.