Just do it. No, I’m not referencing the Nike slogan, I’m telling you to do exactly what this title says because you’d be foolish otherwise!
Sites on the Internet collect, sort, and curate hundreds of products and their prices… and you, instead of searching on the internet, decide to go straight into one (1) furniture store to pick your furniture. WHY?
Use the internet. Use Amazon. Use anything. You’re buying household items that you will be using daily- not weekly, not monthly. DAILY.
The Internet provides the means to get the widest range of products and stores combined with real consumer information. Reading good reviews almost always saves you a lot of grief and it’s important that you find reviews of buyers, not these… “Professional reviewers”. I want to protect you from purchasing defective or bogus products, especially since some sites can only offer product images and no in-store samples (you know, like all these 100 dollar online mattress companies).
But in reference to above, what do you do when you do find something you like that doesn’t have a physical store?
Easy. Use social media.
If you have Facebook, use it. It’s very likely that either a) someone in your social circle knows someone in your local neighborhood who owns what you’re looking for, b) look on craigslist.com and see if someone is selling the same product and see it in-person.
What do you do if you still feel uncomfortable not seeing your furniture in-person?
I will say one thing. Product reviews on a webpage is one thing, but real angry customers like to vent directly on Company Facebook pages. Take a browse to see if the page is active and engage in customers who have already purchased from the company. This will give you all the insights you need.
But buyer beware! Following the strategy above, you may sample your opinions with too much selection bias (meaning, you’ll only talk to angry people, which result in a rather skewed result towards the negative).