Online vs in-store: what’s the best way to buy your carpet?

It’s estimated that online shopping has increased by 129% over the last year, since the pandemic began. 

A quick Google search will pull up endless shopping options for almost every product under the sun – including carpets.

But is it a good idea to buy your carpet online?

While it might seem like the most convenient way to shop, buying and fitting a carpet is a complex project that has a few pitfalls, especially if you aren’t sure what you are doing. 

So, it might be that it’s something you need to speak to an expert about in-person. 

In this blog we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of buying your carpet online or in-store, to help you decide which is the best option for you.

What’s the difference between buying online or instore?

There are a few things that you should be aware of when deciding whether to buy your carpet online or in-store:

  1. How much does the carpet cost?
  2. How to check the quality of the carpet…
  3. How is the carpet fitted?
  4. How convenient is it to buy carpet online vs in-store?
  5. What’s the difference in personal service?
OnlineIn-store
CostSlightly cheaperA bit more expensive
Check the qualityCan’t judge from a pictureCan’t always order a sampleCan see and feel carpetsTake a sample home
Carpet fittingFitting not usually offeredOften fit the carpet
ConvenienceVery convenientHowever, may be difficult to buy if you are inexperiencedInitially seems less convenient, but the sales representative takes care of everything. 
Personal service/expertiseVary store to store, but usually less experienced. You have to measure how much you require.Expert sales representatives to guide your purchase. The store will measure how much carpet you require.

1. Online vs In-store: cost of the carpet

Generally speaking, buying online is less expensive for most products – and the same can be said for carpets. 

Online stores usually have less overheads and staff expenses to pay for, and as a result often charge less.

Carpets can cost anywhere between £5-£50 per square metre on average. 

But the truth is that there is a wide range of carpet prices both online and in-store, depending on where you buy from and what style, quality and type of carpet you choose. 

At Millers, you can expect to pay around £10 – £25 per square metre for a man-made carpet, and around £18 – £50 per square metre for a woollen carpet. Although, we do have man-made carpets available from as low as £6.99/square metre.

However, it’s important to check what you are getting for your money. It’s very rare to get an exact like for like, online and in-store, so although it may seem like you are getting a really good deal, it’s not necessarily going to be the same quality.

Top tip: use the internet to research costs before you go into the store. Once you have an idea of costs and what you are willing to pay, head into a physical store to make your purchase to get the reassurance of the top quality product.

Related content: How much does carpet fitting cost?

2. Online vs In-store: checking the quality

Buying and fitting carpet is a big investment, so you want to get it right. The last thing you want is to do is order your carpet then realise that it’s not a great quality, and not worth the money you’ve spent. 

One of the main benefits of buying carpet in-store is that you get to see and feel the carpet before buying. You can decide between types of carpet, and see a true to life representation of the colour. 

One of the biggest mistakes that we see people make when buying a carpet online, is that they buy from a photo. This doesn’t allow you to judge the quality of the carpet, and it also doesn’t give you a true to life representation of the colour. 

We would recommend that whether you are buying online or in-store you get a sample and take it home. 

The benefit of buying in-store is that you can see what you like before selecting a short-list of samples to take home. Online, you will need to narrow it down before ordering and it’s likely you’ll need to pay for the samples. 

Related content: Are wool or man-made carpets best?

3. Online vs In-store: carpet fitting

The next step after buying your carpet is to have it fitted. 

If you buy your carpet online then you usually won’t have the included option of installation, as it’s often not being delivered from a local supplier. Therefore, you’ll need to DIY the installation, or find a local tradesperson who will fit the carpet. 

Buying in-store doesn’t always include fitting, however it often does. This means you have the benefit of one company, doing all the work. This gives you one less moving part to organise, and therefore the job of installation will run smoother. 

This is something we offer at Millers from £4 per square metre (at a minimum of £40). The total cost of installation will depend on a number of factors included:

  • Size of the area being carpeted
  • Complexities of installation

However, buying your carpet online also has another knock-on effect when it comes to the installation. 

When you buy your carpet online a 4m or 5m long, heavy carpet will arrive at your door. You’ll have to awkwardly manoeuvre it into your house, trying not to bend it, or damage any of your walls and furniture. Then it will have to sit there until your preferred installation company arrives – which could be days or weeks depending on what the lead time is.

Then if the carpet is flawed or damaged, it’s up to you to re-roll, re-package and return to the original vendor, which is not an easy task.

If your carpet is bought from the same people who are installing it, you don’t need to think about any of this. The team will arrange everything and store the carpet til you are ready to install. It’s all taken care of. 

Fitting your carpet isn’t just about finding the right team, it’s about scheduling the logistics of delivery and storage, and ensuring that if there are any problems it is easily dealt with. And that’s why buying in-store can be the better option as it is all taken care of from the one place.

Related content: DIY vs professional: what is the best way to install a carpet?

4. Online vs In-store: convenience

Wouldn’t you rather sit in your PJs and browse the internet? 

Hit a few buttons and a couple of days later (or the next day in some cases) something turns up at your door. 

The convenience of buying online is one of the main factors driving the change in shopping habits.

But, is it really convenient to buy carpet online?

Buying things online is generally more convenient for a lot of products. However, it might not be the case with carpets, as it assumes that you know what you are looking for ie:

  • How much carpet do you need for the project?
  • What type and quality of carpet is best for each room (it might not always be the same)?
  • How colour can appear different depending on surrounding environment

If you aren’t exactly sure then it can seem quite overwhelming and daunting to buy online without expert help. When you purchase carpet in-store, we then estimate how much carpet you need and anything else that is required to do the job.

This means we take away the worry that you mis-measure and order the incorrect size.

In a way, buying in-store is actually more convenient. Yes, you have to leave your couch, which to be honest, might be a much welcomed day out during a pandemic. 

However, in-store you will have a dedicated sales assistant to help you with every question you might have (and even the ones you haven’t thought of). Which is why we usually recommend speaking to someone to ensure that you buy the correct carpet for the project at hand.

That leads us into our final point…

5. Online vs In-store: personal service & expertise

Every single carpet installation will be a little different. Your project will have its own complexities and nuances that means you might have questions that aren’t answered online. 

Nothing beats speaking to someone in person about your project.

If you have installed a carpet before and know what you are doing then you might be able to confidently order your own carpet online. 

But if you’ve never done it before there might be things you need to ask that you don’t even know you need to ask about.

An experienced professional will be able to help, and this is what you get from an in-store representative. If anything, it may help you avoid an expensive mistake! 

Bonus third option: flooring store on wheels…

At Millers we have a bonus third option, which has come in especially handy over the last year. We have a van full of our carpet sample options that we can drive to you, bringing the store to your door.

This combines the very best of both worlds. 

You can get to see and feel the carpet options that we offer so you can get a real idea of what you are installing – rather than an online representation.

But, you have the added convenience of shopping from your own home. You don’t even have to get changed out of your pajamas and fluffy slippers if you don’t want – we won’t mind. 

If this is something you are interested in then get in touch with us and we can arrange a visit to you

What’s the best way to buy your carpet?

The internet is amazing – it allows you to quickly research a lot of different carpet options without ever leaving your house. But, there are some downsides. Most notably that it’s hard to determine the quality and colour of the carpet, and that you don’t get the personal service and expertise that you get in-store. 

Our recommendation is to use the internet for inspiration, then find somewhere nearby that you can trust to sell and install your carpet. 

Ultimately when you order carpet in-store, everything is taken care of. You don’t need to worry about mis-ordering, or getting measurements wrong. 

So, yes, you may pay a little bit extra. But you are paying for the package, to have all the hassle taken away from you. You can then sit in your PJ’s and let someone else do all the hard work for you!

If you want the best of both worlds then you can take advantage of our bonus third option and have one of our representatives come to your home with samples of our carpet and flooring options. 

If you’d like us to come out to you with our carpet van and show you all the carpet options we have then get in touch with us