Online Shopping: Advantages and Disadvantages

woman sitting on her couch with laptop

If shopping in your pajamas at 2 in the morning appeals to you, online shopping for any product – including home décor – certainly is convenient.  Not only can you shop on your own schedule 24/7, but you also save gasoline and avoid parking hassles, crowds, and waiting in line. When shopping online, more inventory is typically available, you get detailed descriptions of the product, and, with low overhead, discounts are usually more readily available. Don’t skip the customer reviews; I wouldn’t buy anything online without reading the highest and lowest ratings.

On the flip side, online shopping can bring fees and delays in shipping. It is also difficult to determine the item’s true color online and it lacks the “touch and feel” you get in the store – a big deal when it comes to making decisions about quality. A key consideration is to review the return policy before checking out.  I prefer to order from stores that have a brick-and-mortar presence and allow you to return your item to the store. Also beware of restocking and shipping fees when returning.  Problem-solving online doesn’t always go smoothly either.  Personally, I hate the chat feature or waiting for a return email and would much prefer a true conversation by telephone.

A few years back my husband and I purchased a rug online from a well-known discount source and they sent us the wrong color.  What a hassle it was to repackage a heavy 8’ x 10’ rug, take it to Fedex, and send it back.  Guess, what? It happened again with the replacement rug. We ended up gifting the rug to a family member and never ordered from that company again.

So, when it comes to shopping online for home décor (or anything else), buyer beware!

With many satisfied clients since 2008, Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering decorating services at reasonable rates. If you want to suggest a blog topic or have a decorating, downsizing/decluttering or home staging project needing professional help or are interested in hosting a workshop or quilt show, please contact her via her website or phone 617.921.6033.

As part of her services, she offers recommendations on personal shopping to save you precious time.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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