It is easy to get carried away once you see the well finished sofa set design fit for your living room or the bedroom furniture you’ve been looking for going at an affordable price and sometimes christened with the magic word free delivery in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu or any other town for that matter. But how do you know who’s genuine and who’s not?
First things first, check where the item has been posted, is it on an individual website, social media, or on a marketplace. The levels of trustworthiness increase in that order. I’ll tell you about not just furniture but also other locally made products listed on marketplaces as it’s where we have first-hand experience.
If the item is posted on a marketplace, the second question to ask yourself is; is the seller verified? Simply because a bed, sofa set or steel door has been listed on a marketplace, it does not mean the seller is genuine, it is therefore important to check for verification before calling them or sending a message. Verification means different things on different platforms but in most, it means that the managers of the platform have ascertained that the seller actually exists and has the capacity to supply the item mentioned.
But verification alone is not an end to itself, some local manufacturers (juakali) have a habit of getting pictures of well finished furniture from the internet and posting them on marketplaces as their own and even though most of them actually have the capacity, experience and talent to make those products, there is no guarantee and you are better off buying a piece of furniture that is clearly made by the seller, therefore thirdly, check to see that the picture was taken in a workshop or showroom with similar products. To this end, some marketplaces therefore have different levels of verification to give you that guarantee that the seller indeed has the capacity to make what they post and you are better off looking out for the different levels of verification. So fourth, check for levels of verification.
When buying made on order products like furniture, gates and doors, it is important to get in touch directly with the sellers for direct communication and even more importantly, you should visit the workshop at least once to meet the seller before transferring your hard earned money even if they promise to send you pictures of the progress. If this is not possible, you are better off making payment through the marketplace as you will be able to get a refund should the seller fail to deliver the item. But even then, read through their terms and conditions to understand how they operate. Fifth therefore, look for products that you can buy from the marketplace because at this level, the managers of the platform not only trust that the seller has capacity to make the furniture, they are also certain of their workmanship and professionalism.
Lastly, check out for ratings and reviews on the product and also on the seller. Most marketplaces provide for this. Reviews and ratings from previous customers also come in handy when you want to ascertain the capacity of the seller to make the said product.
With that in mind, happy online shopping.