Why I Shop Online but Buy Furniture in Person

Baer's Furniture
3 min readSep 7, 2018
Soliloquy Collection from Universal Furniture

My 82-year-old-mother, bless her heart, is pretty internet savvy. That is, when it comes to online shopping. One of my first memories and this will date me, is getting stuff in the mail that my mom ordered from the Sears catalog. So, as a seasoned catalog shopper, she was ready and willing to be an early adopter of online shopping.

I am my mother’s daughter, especially as my life gets increasingly busier. I often prefer to purchase online and have everything from toilet paper to dog food delivered to my door. I’ll do almost anything to avoid making a trip to the store or mall. I just don’t have the time.

So, with the rise of so many places to buy furniture online, you’d think I’d jump right on that trend. Cue brakes-screeching sound effects. Yep, not so fast. Everyone draws the line somewhere, and this is where I draw mine when it comes to online buying.

Don’t Mistake Shopping for Buying

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for online shopping. Or “research” as they call it these days. I’ll browse ecommerce furniture sites all day long, get inspiration, and choose rooms of furniture. But when it comes to actually buying furniture, well, that I prefer to do in person.

There’s even a modern term for this, of course. “Webrooming,” which means researching a product online but purchasing it in person. It’s the opposite of “showrooming” which refers to looking at a product in a brick-and-mortar store but then purchasing it online.

I love the furniture I see online, but I am never really sure it will live up to its promise when it arrives on my doorstep. My mom had this same issue. She ordered a chair that looked perfect online, but when delivered, the color was wrong and it wasn’t really all that comfortable. I understand. It’s really hard to determine color on a screen. Every screen renders the colors differently. So what looks like a perfect match may, in fact, not be quite right.

Benefits of Buying Furniture In-Store

When I find a furniture store’s showroom inventory lives up to its online quality promise, that’s the store for me. Here are some of the many reasons I prefer to buy furniture in the showroom rather than online.

  1. You can see try it out and see how comfortable it is.
  2. You can immediately determine the quality of each piece.
  3. You save on shipping fees.
  4. You can ask for help or take advantage of in-store design services.
  5. You don’t have to put together the furniture yourself.

The internet is a treasure trove of information, and I tend to use it for that purpose for all my shopping and purchasing. I read online reviews and compare prices. But when it comes to something that is going to be in my home for many years, I like to see, touch, sit on, give it the nap test if it’s a sofa, and make sure the colors match if I am choosing upholstery. You can’t get that from online shopping.

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Baer's Furniture

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