In 2017 online shopping is as popular as ever and consumers who were once happy to order books or CD’s online but were unprepared to take the risk when it came to buying higher value items such as antiques and collectables, are now starting to reconsider their position.
This is no surprise when you consider the advent of new technology in relation to online security, the ability to see a product demonstration in 3D or watch unboxing reviews from customers on YouTube.
But with online shopping on the rise, is our new obsession with distance buying causing problems for the independent high street antique dealer? If it is, then this is no exception, as there are predictions that one day high streets will be unrecognisable streets filled with coffee shops and pick-up points for our online shopping orders.
The antique buying experience
There is no alternative for the satisfying feel of varnished wood underhand, the cool touch of brass or the soft ridges from the surface of an oil painting. Not only that but it is also the musty smell and the dull lighting of an antique shop that provides an undeniable sense of atmosphere and history. It is these things that at the moment technology has given us no alternative for, that being said I’m sure it is only a matter of time.
For now at least, if you are seeking the fully immersive experience of viewing antiques in their native environment, perhaps there is currently no alternative than your local antique dealer? Or perhaps the additional tools available to you when buying antiques online outweigh the initial short-term benefits of buying local? After all, the enjoyment of that antique sitting in that room in your house will last significantly longer than the satisfaction of buying in person.
Choosing an antique
The thing about buying antiques from local high street antique shops is that you are only limited to the antiques in that shop, at that time. That is unless of course, you are planning a day of travelling to see a number of antique shops in your local area. Assuming that is the case, there is only a finite number of antiques you could possibly view in a day in order to draw a comparison and decide which item is the best fit for you.
So one of the major benefits of choosing to buy antiques online is, the ability to quickly and easily compare a large number of antiques from a wide variety of different sources. Not many people will argue that a solid hour spent comparing antiques online might prove more effective than a day driving around and viewing antiques in person in your local area.
Your rights when buying an antique
Before the introduction of the distance selling regulations and the consumer contracts regulations that superseded them, you might have been right to say the law protected you more when buying from a brick and mortar shop than it did online. However, with the introduction of these new regulations, almost every aspect of buying online has been considered and regulated.
Surprisingly, when you think about it, you are now presented with more information relating to your purchase online then if you were to walk into a street and pick up an item personally. Everything from information about the seller to a full description of the product, delivery details and returns policy is clearly outlined to ensure that you are fully informed when making a purchase online.
Valuing an antique
Probably one of the most challenging aspects of buying an antique, unless you are a dealer yourself, is establishing the value of an item. Mostly people buy antiques because they appreciate owning a piece of history, but it is also understandable that we would want to pay a fair price for it, a price that represents the true value of that item and perhaps leaves room for future investment.
Similar to the benefits of being able to compare a number of antiques online, the easier it is to research an item the better understanding you will have as to its true value. That coupled with the ability to send an online product listing to an online antique valuation service makes the process of valuing an antique online perhaps easier than if you were standing in front of it with only the dealer who you may buy it from to guide you.
Helping independent antique dealers
So, in summary, there are clear benefits to buying from both a local independent high street shop and buying antiques online. And of course, we must consider the position of the Independent antique dealer themselves, as these are the professionals that both source and bring items to the market for us all to enjoy.
You would be right to say that the rise of online shopping does pose a threat to independent antique dealers, however, perhaps the most effective means to mitigate against this inevitable trend is for the very same independent antique dealers to list their items for sale online.
If you are looking to buy antiques online, then we would be delighted if you would consider www.lookingforantiques.co.uk