Ordering Furniture

dining room living room

When you ordered furniture last, was it delivered on time? Online “in stock” and delivery dates promising delivery in home in 3 days can be misleading. Even when you place orders in the store, the stock on hand can be misleading. Many large retailers have “estimated” delivery dates online or in the store which obviously influence our selections. Well don’t believe it! Those on hand quantities are often Canada wide or at the least regional, which could mean 3 sofas available in Western Canada!

I was working with a design client earlier this summer and I actually called the commercial sales representative in the store to verify the Winnipeg stock before placing a furniture order. Well in the 2-3 days it took for me to obtain the information, relay it to my client for approval and place the order, the quantity and delivery schedule changed dramatically!! Nearly twice as long in some cases! Knowing that delivery was important do you think for a moment that the retailer would verify delivery when I placed the order? Not a chance. They take your payment up front, then wait a week before they tell you it’s back ordered. The order was delivered in a total of 6 separate shipments including one to exchange a broken piece. 

If you went to a restaurant and received your meals 2 hours after placing the order, and then received the meals for your table all at separate times, no one would go back! So why do furniture stores get away with such shoddy service? Maybe because most people buy furniture infrequently. The next time you buy, you try a different store, etc. So far I have yet to find a store that will deliver when they said so initially, at the time they say they will arrive, and will actually assemble the furniture upon delivery. 

Delivery drivers in most cases are just movers and they “don’t assemble” furniture, at least according to their contract with the furniture store. Why not? Most furniture requires some basic assembly! Many movers will not even remove the large boxes and packaging the furniture comes in. Again, why not? Why isn’t this part of the service, especially when Winnipeggers are limited by the bin to the amount of trash and recycled garbage they are allowed each week? Wouldn’t it make more sense for assembly and disposal of packaging to be handled by the contracted moving company? After all if you are delivering to someone in a condo who does not have a vehicle, they need to be able to dispose of the packaging. In addition, instead of up selling me a warranty I will probably never use, a small assembly and set up fee and disposal of packing might be a better up sell that at least has some value to the consumer.

Another tip I learned this summer. Allow extra time for people away on vacation when placing orders in the summer. The rep who took the order, only placed a part of the order before he left on vacation. Result, a one week delay. By then the stock on hand had changed and we were waiting additional time. Then the order processing person was away, someone was filling in but made an error. Finally, the delivery drivers were running behind and could not accommodate the hours that deliveries were accepted at the building. Result, they had to return later in the week after re-scheduling the order. Talk about a string of errors and delays. I was honestly at my wits end!

Maybe it’s time we had some modifications to the advertising online and in store. If the store claims delivery next day delivery or delivery in 3 days – it should be in the clients’ home 3 days after ordering. If not, there should be some hefty fines or penalties to the Retailer for false advertising claims. In most cases, clients will make decisions and base expectations on the information they are given when they place the order. It’s pretty simple, promise what you can deliver! Set realistic expectations! Deliver what you promise! Then you have happy clients and employees and delivery drivers, etc…. Realistic expectations go a long way towards ultimate customer satisfaction!