• Fawn Baranko

Online Shopping Paradise

Updated: Sep 9

For those of us who enjoy seeing lots of options for our remodeling projects, online retail is a paradise of shopping opportunities. It’s fun and incredibly satisfying when you get what you want, especially when it’s for a great price. Unfortunately, it can also end up costing more than you expect. Keep your experience happy by approaching it like a pro.

Don’t solely use star or number ratings to separate the good from the bad. Thoroughly read reviews, especially from people who delve into the details. They sort hype from reality. Use your search engine to find reviews from multiple sources. Make sure you see some from the past 6 months and be suspicious if there are none. Positive but old reviews can hide the reality that an older product is being sold, or that quality diminished. Customer service reviews should also be considered. It’s smarter to pay more for something from a reputable dealer than save money with an agent who won’t care if your purchase arrives broken or much later than you needed to have it. Have back-up plans to get must-have project products that don’t arrive when expected to avoid costly remodeling delays.

Understand the return and re-stock policy. If the nice agent on the phone promises free returns, make sure you see the details in writing. There may be no restocking fee but you might have to pay shipping. This can be cost prohibitive for larger heavier items.

It’s difficult to predict how installation will look from only one sample, so order multiple. Before ordering, verify your product comes from the same lot. Don’t learn too late that the edges of that tile you love look uneven when installed, or that your fabric looks more orange than red. Otherwise your tile, floor, fabric, or wallpaper might resemble a patchwork quilt of different shades, colors, and textures.

Learn why an online company offers a product for less than you would buy from a local retailer. They may be selling imperfect or variable materials, sometimes called second or cabin quality. Not only do manufacturers’ warranties not always cover less than first quality products, lower quality products can ultimately cost you more. You’ll need to order an additional amount to overcome product inconsistencies, and your installer will likely charge you more to cull unusable product and overcome installation challenges.

The online world offers amazing opportunities to get products you’d normally never see locally.It gives you the opportunity to add truly unique touches to your project, and may even save you money.Make informed decisions like a pro and have fun with your online shopping paradise.