It might seem that nothing can give us more security than shopping in a physical builders’ merchant. There is nothing like being able to touch the product and see if it will suit our needs. Theoretically, it is easier for us to buy something that we can feel and see with our own eyes. All the more so when it comes to expensive things and those that will stay with us for years to come.
However, is it always safer to buy materials for renovation in physical stores than online?
Apparently, not at all times. Both in smaller and larger physical builders’ merchants one may find products of substandard quality. Service staff are not always well-versed and experienced enough to help you choose the right equipment for your specific needs, and inquiring about things that interest you can often take a long time.
Online shops are becoming increasingly more effective in providing you with building materials.
The companies that focus on online sales are meeting the expectations of their customers by providing them with quick and comprehensive services. Owners of online shops do not have to incur huge costs associated with the maintenance of a physical shop and staff. They can just focus on providing the best range of products and establishing a great customer service over the internet.
Can all online shops provide secure shopping?
Not necessarily. When looking for an online store, we may come across a whole array of various issues, such as defective goods, unprofessional service, problems with obtaining or returning the product if it is faulty. However, this can be avoided. The information that the Internet provides us with can easily help us not only to find the right shop, but also to avoid the retailers that fall short of providing the desired quality.
What should we pay attention to when buying construction materials online? Your online shopping will be more fruitful than ever if you just consider a few important things. To make this process simple, safe and, above all, enjoyable, it is useful to break it up into several stages.
We have divided it up into two groups:
- Choosing a shop
- Selecting the right product
Finding a good shop will make the rest of your search much easier.
1. About the shop
What do you need to know about a shop before making a purchase there?
Most websites of online shops have an ‘About us’ section. The information there will tell us what the shop specializes in, how long it has been on the market and where it is located. It would also be a good idea to look for information about the certificates, attestations and warranties provided by the shop. Before we make a purchase, it is important to find information about the process of returning the goods in case the product we choose proves unsuitable. If we intend to make a payment on the shop’s website, we’d better make sure that the transfer is secure. To this end, it is worth checking whether the website has a padlock symbol next to the site address.
2. What our customers say
Next, we need to pay our attention to customer feedback about the store. A good shop will surely boast about the opinions and reviews received from its customers. We will be able to find them on the shop’s website. It is also worth checking such portals as: YouTube, Facebook or Google, where we can also find opinions left by previous clients. The opinions that we should pay most attention to are: contact with the customer, quality of goods, technical support, delivery time and accepting returns.
No one will tell us more about a given store than the customers who have already shopped there before. It is very difficult to satisfy everyone, so single negative opinions are inevitable. However, if the amount of negative feedback expressing absurd attitudes towards the customer exceeds any positive opinions, we should start looking around for another shop.
How to choose a product that meets your expectations?
3. Information about the product
The greatest advantage of products available in online builders’ merchants is their detailed descriptions. Apart from technical specification about the product itself, they also include information about possible applications and any configurations at our disposal. If you are looking for a suitable product, an online shop is the best source of information about it.
What should you pay attention to when reading the product description:
- technical specification
- product options
- attestations and certificates
- contents of the package
If you have doubts about the product itself, you can also check with the National List of Contested Construction Products, the register of which is kept by the Main Construction Supervision Office.
4. Video clips
Do you need a review or a manual on how to use the product you are going to buy? Find them on the Internet! Many shops make their own videos with reviews and manuals on the products they trade in. You can also look for bloggers who review various types of products, tools and building materials in their thematic blogs.
5. Innovative tools
In the age of technology, shops and manufacturers offer various tools to help customers choose the perfect product. These include comparison engines, counting machines and other tools for creating interior visualization. You might find them on websites or in the form of phone apps. If you need to measure or adjust the size of a product, check the store for online tools to make this task it easier for you. If you want to see how a given paint colour will look on your wall, check if the manufacturer has created an application where you can add a picture of your room and see how the colour of your choice suits your walls. Many of the online shops suggest products that are related to the one we are viewing directly on the site with a given product.
Need a colour match? Do you want to make sure that the material the product is made of is suitable? Ask for the possibility of obtaining a sample. Shops respond to their customers’ needs by allowing them to make sure that a given product is exactly what they need before buying. You can then compare such a sample with the furniture or other items in the room that you are renovating and make sure it is exactly what you need. Such a convenience makes online shopping much safer than making purchases in a physical store, where you can’t take a product off the shelf to make sure it matches the rest of the decor.
Professional service in online shops is, quite literally, at your fingertips. Most shops have the feature of a contact window that appears the first moment you visit it, which can be used to easily contact the staff and ask for advice. This is also possible using a social media communicator or simply contacting the shop by telephone. On the other side of the line there is a person who is well trained to help customers choose the right product for their specific needs. This way you will find all required information about product specifications, offer and delivery.
It is essential that all the products are available. If we have to wait for one product, the delivery time of the entire order may have to be delayed. This is particularly the case when some materials are available in stock and some have to be made to order. Delivery prices vary according to the ordered amount. More often than not, large purchases entail free delivery. It is also worth checking if the delivery includes carrying the goods home. If you want to rely on the supplier in this matter, it is better to consult the shop staff or the courier company beforehand.
9. Additional information
In many shops, you are not left on your own after making a purchase. You will often receive support materials such as technical specification and operating instructions. Shops make sure that the customer receives support even after the purchase is made, regardless of the distance.
In the age of technology, online shopping industry is constantly growing. New systems that improve shopping comfort and safety are being implemented. However, before we decide to shop online, it is worth taking a moment to check the shop where we have decided to make a purchase. A small reconnaissance will help you find a trustworthy shop. It will save your time, money and logistical problems connected with the shipment of your ordered goods.