Over the past two decades, online shopping has continued to grow in popularity globally. However, brick and mortar shopping continues to trend. According to Statista, in 2020, the number of online shoppers in the USA was about 256 million and expected to grow to more than 300 million by 2023. That does not spell doom for your local flooring stores.
Locals flooring stores are still holding up against online shops because many shoppers like the shopping experience of being in a physical location. Some consumers also like to see some products before they purchase. According to a report by UNCTAD, although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected shopping trends, 55% of buyers still prefer in-store purchases. These stats show that local flooring stores will remain a top priority for most customers.
Online vs. Local Flooring Stores
As the adage says, every cloud has a silver lining. Whether you buy flooring materials from an online store or your local flooring store, each option comes with its unique advantages and disadvantages.
Buying from a Local Flooring Store
If you are an amateur in flooring material and installation, it is advisable to deal with a local flooring store. Local flooring stores have experienced and qualified staff who offer the much-needed advice that first-time buyers need. In a local store, you will get an opportunity to see most if not all flooring types, some of which are hardwood flooring, carpets, tiles, laminates, vinyl and luxury vinyl flooring. You will see different flooring materials in the showroom and select the one that works best for your rooms. If you are installing carpets, the attendants offer after-purchase support by referring you to reliable carpet cleaners.
Worth noting, if you are buying with your spouse or another family member, a local store is better. It is much easier to make a good evaluation from a local flooring store where both of you can see the materials.
Pros of Buying From Local Flooring Stores
1. Qualified Customer Support
Local stores have experienced staff in flooring materials and installation. You will interact with salespeople, administration support staff, customer service, and technical installers. Consequently, if your knowledge about different flooring materials is limited, visiting a local flooring store is highly advisable. Local stores also prioritize customer satisfaction because they deal one on one with customers. Therefore, they go out of their way to satisfy customers by ordering quality flooring materials and providing the best installation services. Moreover, you can negotiate prices with salespeople in a local store and get a better deal.
2. Easy Access to Flooring Samples
Local stores come with the added advantage of providing a showroom where you can get samples, making it easier to choose. Choices depend on your budget, which room you are flooring and your tastes and preferences, among other factors.
It is quite rare to be dissatisfied with a flooring material purchased from a local store because you can see the product before purchase.
3. Flooring Installation Support Provided or Recommendations
A local flooring store has qualified sales staff and installers who have the technical know-how of all flooring materials. If you are not a DIY enthusiast, you can rely on local flooring installation supervisors and technicians. However, if you order flooring materials online, you may have to look for an installation contractor.
4. Community Support
Additionally, local flooring stores support the economy of a community and the people in the community. They rent or construct the store, which directly or indirectly supports other local businesses. They also hire locals, employing the community members. What’s more, they pay taxes, which also support government initiatives in society.
Cons of Buying From Local Flooring Stores
- A local flooring store has many running costs in comparison to an online store. They have to employ staff, rent or build the store, incur energy costs and other expenses. Therefore, their prices may not be as competitive as online stores, which run warehouses only or use drop shipping services.
- Some flooring stores lack the buying power of big online stores, making products more expensive than online purchases.
- Your local store may also not be fully stocked with the newest trends or slow-moving products like reclaimed goods that you may be interested in.
Buying Flooring Materials Online
Should you decide to buy your flooring materials online, you should understand that this is a long term purchase decision. Therefore, you should be careful when selecting the materials. While local flooring stores provide information on different flooring types, you have to read the information online or watch videos with online stores. You should also check customer reviews for different flooring options before deciding on what you want to buy.
You should search for a reliable supplier who has a good rating, clear shipping policy, return policy and product guarantee.
Pros of Online Shopping
1. Online Shopping is Less Time Consuming
If you have limited time, online shopping will work best for you. You can shop anytime and do it from the comfort of your home or office. Secondly, online flooring stores deliver the materials conveniently to your door. You don’t need to plan a special shopping time. Furthermore, you don’t have to deal with the well-meaning salespersons who can be too aggressive at times.
2. More Variety Online
There are many online stores in your state, country or internationally. Unlike a local flooring store which may be one, two or three in your locality, online shopping exposes you to hundreds of online stores globally. It is hard to miss what you want because you will be searching for a specific flooring type. Online stores offer more variety than you would get from a local flooring store because they are many. If you are shopping from renowned online stores, you can buy from another supplier if one has run out of stock for the product you want.
3. Online Flooring Materials Can Be Cheaper
Buying flooring materials online is an affordable option and ideal if you are on a budget. Online stores can afford to be cheap because they don’t have to hire many employees. After all, they rely on automated systems for some of their customer services. Some also don’t have a local store which means that they don’t incur rental costs. However, you need to factor in shipping costs and any other hidden costs.
Cons of Buying Flooring Materials Online
- Online stores do not offer installation support services. However, some big online retailers can recommend a contractor in your area.
- More so, because you are purchasing a virtual product, you may not like it upon delivery. You may want to return it, especially if the online store has a satisfaction guarantee. Noteworthy, returning products come with the hidden costs of shipping charges.
- Also, online flooring store prices are fixed, and you can only rely on price cuts offered to all customers, whereas you can negotiate prices in a local flooring store.
You can buy different flooring materials from either an online or local flooring store. Online flooring purchases suit individuals who have dealt with flooring materials in the past and know exactly what they want. On the contrary, local flooring stores are most suitable for homeowners who are purchasing flooring materials for the first time and require technical support.