You head to just about any typical furniture store in search of that “forever yours” piece, and BOOM! — you're faced with prices that leave you scratching your head, wanting answers, and with a pit in your stomach causing you to rethink your whole design strategy. You think, “Maybe my parents' hand-me-down coffee table will work after all...”
Don't settle for furniture you don't love just yet. Not every furniture store out there is looking to bleed you dry, but many are. In this article, we'll show you four deceptive furniture pricing practices to be aware of. If you see the warning signs of any one of them, run far, far away to a place that actually cares about its customers (like Jerome's Furniture — hey, we're just saying).
Price markups are everywhere these days. When it seems like most of a store's merchandise is listed at 70 percent off then you should know something is up. And, indeed, sometimes places that do this sort of thing get slapped with a lawsuit.
“Price anchoring” like this is a psychology-based principle. Research shows when people can reach out and touch something, they're more likely to pay more for it. When you're getting all cushy on that loveseat in the furniture store, your brain is actually becoming more and more wired to pull the purchase trigger. And when a price tag claims some sort of deal (even when it's utterly ridiculous), everything somehow starts to make sense.
Some furniture shops will mark up “original” prices up to $1,000 or more, then sell it to you “on sale.” Even with this "discount", the price is still at several hundreds of dollars more than the piece should actually sell for, so they can make a more than 40 percent profit while leaving you fooled into thinking you got a deal. So unless you bring around your very own furniture shopping guide every time you go out shopping, you have no idea what's real or what's not.
Don't get sucked into everything you watch on HGTV. Just because someone nabbed a home improvement show (and it seems like there are millions of them these days) doesn't mean the furniture they've designed — or merely "endorsed" — is any more valuable or even unique. Some furniture retailers and manufacturers will use celebrity names to jack up prices, even if the celebrity had nothing to do with designing the pieces.
You're not likely to get premium price on that designer-endorsed furniture if you look to sell it in the future. TV shows come and go, and the average buyer might not be as passionate about What's-His-Name as a furniture sales associate claims to be.
Beyond notable names, some stores use “trend forecasting” to determine in-demand styles — even if no one really wants plaid furniture. Then those companies use those recommendations, which are often provided through a heck of a lot of guesswork, and make unsuspecting customers pay a premium so they can really keep up with the Joneses.
It doesn't matter if you're mixing raw wood with brown leather, indulging in a velvet armchair or mulling around the idea of marble and onyx. Prices shouldn't fluctuate just because a piece has a reality TV star's name slapped on it or is considered “on trend."
Your furniture store could be killing you. No, seriously — at least if they sell mattresses. Poor sleep can lead to sleep deficiency, which the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says can lead to physical and mental health issues, injuries, productivity loss, and a greater risk of death. Ouch.
It makes you think about rethinking your mattress, but when you actually go shopping for one, it's nearly impossible to comparison shop. Think about it: can you really tell from maybe a minute of lying on a mattress, all while a salesperson is telling you all the reasons why it's the best one ever, if you'll really get a good night's sleep on it once you're at home?
Quality in furniture matters, but many places don't prioritize it. Mattress-only retailers, including online retailers, typically charge extremely high prices because they require high margins. The customer is none the wiser to whether Product A is really going to be better than Product B, so mattress companies spend more on marketing and promotions to just get customers in the door or on their website. Why should they invest in quality when customers can't tell the difference? Or so deceptive mattress retailers think.
It's not just mattresses that are causing some consumers to put their livelihoods on the line. In recent years, there have been millions of dressers that have been recalled, because they actually killed people. Wanting to bang your head through a wall while assembling hundreds of tiny furniture pieces isn't the only horrific thing about cheap furniture lines. In some cases, they've been deadly.
To provide consumers with attractive low, low, low pricing, furniture retailers will price-engineer their pieces to fit the price tag. This means the furniture is cheaper up-front but ends up falling apart or needing to be replaced more quickly.
Some of the icky price-engineering tactics a retailer might use include:
And, most importantly, bad furniture design and low-quality construction could harm you. Or your kid. Is it really worth the "savings" now?
There's nothing that can harsh the vibe of what is supposed to be a fun day out furniture shopping than a smothering sales process and prices that seem downright disrespectful. To get the pieces you truly want, you should be able to shop in a relaxing environment where you can try pieces out and find the furniture you and your family will actually enjoy once it's home. You deserve high quality at reasonable prices — not furniture that just helps the store make a massive profit off your misfortune.
At Jerome's Furniture, we don't haggle, we don't do gimmicks and we don't pressure you into buying stuff you don't love. We actually care about your business and about our reputation. You can count on us for furniture that works, that is designed properly, and that doesn't have bogus price tags. We promise.