Wayfair arrived on the home goods scene in 2002. That may have been more than fifty years after Pottery Barn got its start in 1949, but within a very short time competition between the two merchants was fierce. Both Wayfair and Pottery Barn have a thriving customer base, but they have both seen a bit of criticism from those customers along the way. So which home décor shop is the best?
- Wayfair has a huge variety of goods available online. Pottery Barn has a narrower home goods focus with less variety, but a strong reputation.
- Pottery Barn offers retail stores, outlets, and an online presence as well. Wayfair is a vast online provider with a single retail store.
- Pottery Barn has more than proprietary 200 showrooms and stores. Wayfair sells more than 18 million items from more than 11,000 global suppliers.
In this article, we compare two companies to find answers to the following:
- Overview, Pros, and Cons
- Customer Service: Which Is Better?
- What’s Value for the Cost?
- Return Policies: Any Difference?
- Consumers’ Experience
Pottery Barn and Wayfair: Overview, Pros, and Cons
The competition between Wayfair and Pottery Barn is fierce. But while Pottery Barn vs Wayfair makes sense in the many overlapping areas the companies both provide, there are differences between them as well.
One of the most important areas to consider when you compare Wayfair and Pottery Barn is what the two companies sell. Over the decades, Pottery Barn have expanded into various niche markets of furniture and décor for kids and teens, but all items are their own brand creations.
Wayfair, on the other hand, is a conglomerate of brands from across the globe. More than 11,000 different manufacturers and retailers are represented by the Wayfair label, which serves as a reseller of sorts. Wayfair, LLC has buyers to select items that are then sold to customers under their original label. Pottery Barn has its own label, which likely contributes to the fierce protection of the brand and its perceived quality. This may be why Wayfair has almost three times as many reviews as Pottery Barn on PissedConsumer.
Potterybarn.com has a reputation for quality items. The Pottery Barn reviews on Pissed Consumer give us insight into where the company is strong, and where there might still be areas of improvement. With reputation built over years and selling its own line of merchandise, Pottery Barn customer service comes under scrutiny more than its products.
We can also use Wayfair.com reviews on PissedConsumer to gain a better understanding of how that company operates as well. Customers are generally not shy about sharing their experience with Wayfair customer service and products. There is bound to be some variation in the quality of goods and service across the product lines, which allows www.wayfair.com an opportunity to provide excellent customer service. This might be one of the reason of the higher PissedConsumer rating for Wayfair versus Pottery Barn.
Pottery Barn vs Wayfair Customer Service: Which Is Better?
When it comes to Wayfair vs Pottery Barn comparison, customer service matters a great deal. Customers want to know that the items they are getting are quality, of course, but they also want to have confidence that there is a solution when something goes wrong. This competition between Pottery Barn and Wayfair customer service is reflected in the reviews on PissedConsumer.
A customer has several options in how to approach Pottery Barn customer service. The retailer has more than 200 showrooms in the United States, so there is always the option to simply bring an item back into one of the many brick and mortar Pottery Barn locations. While speaking with a person face to face can offer an opportunity to show and explain an issue with an item, there is also the option to speak with Pottery Barn customer service through potterybarn.com.
In addition to free design services and party planning, Pottery Barn makes it easy for customers to reach a representative. The company customer support can also be reached by email at email@example.com or by calling the Pottery Barn phone number at 1-888-779-5176. You can also message this company via the company page on PissedConsumer.com.
Wayfair offers a vast website with a tremendous selection of items, but almost exclusively online. This reduces the opportunity for a brick and mortar customer service option to the single storefront location in Natick, Massachusetts. While other Wayfair locations may be planned in the future, currently a customer’s best approach is to work through wayfair.com to reach customer service.
Turns out, it is a bit complicated to reach Wayfair customer service. When you arrive on the Wayfair contact page, you are directed to login and then select the order you have questions about. You are not given a phone number or other means of contact right away. It is only after drilling down into your purchase history that you are given contact options.
You have the option to email Wayfair customer service through a website form, send message via Pissed Consumer, or you may call the company. The Wayfair customer service number is 877-929-3247 (toll-free number). You can also reach out to them by dialing 844-669-9028 for assistance with online shopping.
Wayfair vs Pottery Barn: What’s Value for the Cost?
Since Wayfair and Pottery Barn offer such different types of shopping, there is a difference in the perceived value of the items. Pottery Barn furniture is available in showrooms across the country. Would-be customers can sit on the Pottery Barn chairs or open the drawers in the chest to see how well they feel and fit. This company also has complimentary design services where you can work with a designer to create a total look without spending more out of pocket.
Wayfair furniture, on the other hand, is not shown across the country, but only in the single Massachusetts store. Unlike Pottery Barn which delivers whole items of furniture, the majority of Wayfair furniture must be assembled before it can be used. While this does keep the shipping more economical from Wayfair.com, some buyers may be turned off by the idea of assembling their own furniture rather than buying it preassembled.
On most items, Pottery Barn furniture does run a bit more expensive and there is no opportunity for free delivery.
This is worth considering in the discussion about Pottery Barn vs Wayfair because Wayfair, LLC always offers free shipping if you spend at least $35.
Additionally, while both stores have periodic sales, Wayfair regularly provides special bargains and offers on all furniture. Sure, you can expect Pottery Barn outdoor furniture to go on sale at the end of the season. But Wayfair outdoor furniture might be on sale six to ten times throughout the spring and summer due to their marketing model. Sales prices affect the perceived value as well.
Wayfair and Pottery Barn Return Policies: Any Difference?
So, what if the new furniture arrives with a problem or in the wrong color? This is where the Wayfair vs Pottery Barn comparison heats up. This is also an area where the 200 storefront locations might work in favor of Pottery Barn returns.
Since Wayfair.com does not have easily accessible storefront locations, all Wayfair returns must be sent back through the mail. According to the Wayfair Returns Center, you simply select the item you’d like to return, print the return label and then, you ship your item back for a refund.
This makes the Wayfair return policy seem simple enough, but there is more to it than simply slapping on a label and tossing it on a truck. We are talking about large pieces of furniture, after all.
On the actual Wayfair return policy page, the company explains that you can return “most items” up to 30 days of delivery, but that they must be returned unassembled. Additionally, the return shipping costs are deducted from your refund, which means shipping large pieces back to Wayfair.com can eat significantly into any exchange or refund value. You are encouraged to reach out to the Wayfair contact for help with large or fragile items. You will need to call Wayfair to get the answer to specific issues with your purchases or returns.
Pottery Barn and Wayfair are the same in some areas of returns. The Pottery Barn return policy also limits returns to 30 days. The Pottery Barn return policy does not allow returns of custom upholstered items, however, which excludes some sofas and chairs. Just like Wayfair, most returns to Potterybarn.com can be initiated online. Simply start the Pottery Barn returns process on the website, print the shipping label, and drop the item off to be shipped.
The Pottery Barn return policy also gives you the option to return large items by phone or possibly through stores. Some extra measures are being taken during the time of COVID with store returns, but the return policy does give you the option to work with a customer care member in the store. Unlike Wayfair, Pottery Barn states that your return will be issued “a refund of merchandise value.” If that goes back on your Pottery Barn credit card, you can simply enjoy spending the funds again without any additional shipping fees.
Pottery Barn vs Wayfair: Consumers’ Experience
Ultimately the comparison between Wayfair and Pottery Barn comes down to the customer experience. What do real customers have to say about choosing Pottery Barn or Wayfair?
Among the Wayfair reviews, one customer documented trouble with his order (review #2254055). According to the pictures of his recently purchased Wayfair furniture, several items arrived with damage. The review stated that “three to four components” were damaged and the poster stated, “I demand a 50% refund right away as Im not happy about this.”
Many other Wayfair reviews express frustration with shipping times and delays or a lack of refund after returning items to the company. However, the Pottery Barn reviews also show several complaints about frustrations with damaged items.
In one Potterybarn.com review, a shopper explained multiple issues she had with the delivery and damage to her Pottery Barn furniture (review #2326571). After ordering a coffee table for the holidays, the first was delivered with damage. She sent it away and then the second table was delivered “that was damaged even worse than the previous one.” She then tried working with customer service only to discover that “the warehouse representatives refuse to answer their phones or call back. I even tried calling from a different number and was hung up on once the warehouse rep heard it was me.”
This complaint is just one of many Pottery Barn reviews that express frustration with damaged items, slow or missing delivered items, and a lack of customer service response.
Pottery Barn bedding and furniture look beautiful in catalogs. Many people want rooms anchored by Pottery Barn rugs or sofas. Likewise, shopping online in the thousands of Wayfair sectionals or sofas can be a tremendous amount of fun – especially knowing the items can be delivered right to your door.
So, which is better? Wayfair has more items for less, with free shipping. But if you need to send items back, you might be paying a steep price. Additionally, you should be handy as you’ll likely be assembling the items that arrive. Pottery Barn has beautiful items in the showroom, but they can be expensive, and if you run into trouble, you may have a few headaches dealing with customer service. Ultimately, it is up to the individual customer to decide.
If you'd like to share your experience with any of these two brands, feel free to write a review on Pissed Consumer.
By Rebecca Garland
Business and Education Expert
Rebecca Garland, M.S. is a business and education writer. She holds secondary teaching certifications in six areas, has a degree in Business, and earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. As an expert, Rebecca has been working with international clients since 2005.
*The company ratings on the PissedConsumer website are calculated using a mathematical algorithm that evaluates the information in the company’s profile. The algorithm parameters are: users’ rating, the number of resolved issues, the number of company responses and more. The PissedConsumer algorithm is also subject to change in the future.
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