Buying Antiques Online vs. In-Store

Photo Credit: Three Centuries Shop

The age-old debate, well at least since the Internet age, is which is better, shopping in person or online? Where does antique shopping fall into this? With the rise of antique purchases, what is the best way to find those gems at the antique store? There are upsides and downsides to buying antiques online vs. buying them in-store. More and more antique collectors are switching to buying their antiques online. Websites like eBay have opened up the antique trade to people in all corners of the world. However, many antique collectors still feel that they have more control over the process when they buy their goods in a store.

There are pros and cons to both sides. There are several common differences between buying antiques online and buying them in-store. When you buy an antique in-store, you have the ability to actually see or even touch the product that you are considering buying. Because of this, you generally know exactly what you’re buying and exactly what kind of shape it is in. However, when shopping for antiques online, you run the risk of getting a product that was not what you intended to buy. On the other hand, it is often easier to get lower prices online, so many people see the web as the superior option. After all, if you can buy more, it matters less how high the quality of each individual purchase is.

Buying antiques online does have many advantages. For example, you have many more options at your fingertips online than you would have in-store. With the Internet, you can buy any sort of antique from any corner of the world. When buying antiques in a store you are limited to whatever you see in front of you. Another important point is that you can buy from anywhere. If you wake up and do not feel like leaving the house, you don’t have to. You can simply hop on your home computer and order antiques online.

Buying from the comfort of your own home is a major selling point to those who choose to find their antiques online. Another benefit of buying antiques online is that you can often find the same item in multiple places. This is important because it often means that you can find a variety of prices for the same type of object. The more variety that you have to choose from, the more likely it is that you will find something that you like in your price range. Also, if you buy antiques online there is less of a risk of compulsive shopping.

It is common for people to walk into a store and see something that they like, but did not want in the first place, and leave with it. It is much easier to avoid that when you do not have to see the product in person. All of these arguments put together generally support the idea that buying antiques is better for your bottom line.

However, there are also benefits to buying antiques in stores. One obvious reason to buy antiques in a store is that you do not have to worry about shipping. Shipping, besides being an annoying cost, can ruin your antique if it is fragile and not handled well. Given the often fragile nature of antiques, this makes buying in-store a more appealing option. Another reason to buy in-store is the possibility of negotiation. While some websites may allow for negotiation, the majority do not. However, when you go to an antique store it is always worth a try to talk down the price of whatever it is that you want to buy. While there is no guarantee that the vendor will lower their price, you have a much better chance of getting them to than you would be trying to convince them over the computer.

Finally, the most important benefit to buying antiques in-store is that you get to see everything that you plan to buy and can inspect it for blemishes. When buying online you have to trust the pictures posted by the person selling the item. Sometimes these are totally accurate and represent exactly what you’re buying. However, the seller does have an incentive to mislead you with his pictures. If you see the antique up close and personal, you don’t have to worry about someone on the other side of the planet trying to mislead you for a quick buck.

Overall, it all has to do with your personal shopping preference. If you enjoy sitting on the couch at home shopping then do what you enjoy.

Heather Lomax, is a contributing writer and media specialist for Three Centuries Shop. She regularly produces content for antique blogs.

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