Compare electronics retailers using our customer satisfaction ratings when you’re looking for appliances and high tech gadgets for your home.
* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in July 2015, published in September 2015.
See our Ratings Methodology.
The Good Guys reach customer satisfaction greatness with fifth award win
Some things are so ingrained in us that we instinctively know what to do or where to go when a certain situation arises. If you’re in an emergency, you dial 000; if you want to fill your stomach with lots of food, you head to Sizzler; if there’s something strange in your neighborhood, you call the Ghostbusters; and if you need a new TV, computer, laptop, camera, microwave, refrigerator, washing machine, clothes dryer or vacuum cleaner, you go to an electronics retailer. They’re also great if you just desperately need a new HDMI cable…
But how do you wade through all the bright lights and sales jargon, and work out which one you should pay a visit? Fortunately, Canstar Blue has asked other consumers just like you and we’re here to offer some helpful guidance on the matter. (Please don’t call us if your house is haunted by ghosts).
This year – just like for the previous four years – we’re pleased to announce that The Good Guys has topped our customer satisfaction ratings for electronics retailers. Winning five years in a row is a stunning achievement and puts The Good Guys in a highly exclusive Canstar Blue club, joining Pizza Capers and United Petroleum, who have also dominated their respective areas of expertise since our website was launched half a decade ago.
Shopping online vs. shopping in-store
For many Aussies, a weekend wouldn’t be complete without a browse around their favourite electronics or hardware store. Even if you have no intention of buying anything, it’s good to keep up-to-date with what’s new in the world of technology and potentially spot a bargain. But shopping online is becoming increasingly popular, with online retail sales reaching an estimated $17.3 billion in the 12 months to June 2015, according to NAB’s Online Retail Sales Index. That’s 10% up on the previous year, with online sales now accounting for 7.1% of all retail spending.
But despite continued advances in product design and technology, not all industries are cashing in. IBISWorld reports tough trading conditions in the domestic appliance retailing sector as a result of, amongst other things, strong price-based competition. It says industry revenue is projected to decline by an annualised 1.5% over the five years through 2014-15.
With the shift to online retail sales and increased competition – including from some web-only retailers which don’t have to worry about the same costly overheads as a physical store – it’s never been more important for the big electronics chains to keep consumers happy. That’s why Canstar Blue likes to keep its fingers on the pulse of customer satisfaction.
Consumers still enjoy the benefits of face-to-face shopping, but store-front retailers need to be constantly on their toes, otherwise people will head to another store or go home to buy online, where they’ll probably find a greater range of items to choose from. If they’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new item, people want guidance from the experts and assurance that they’re making the best purchase decision for their needs. You can’t replicate that sort of customer service with a pop-up window on a website. The question is: do the benefits of shopping online outweigh the negatives? And only an individual can answer that question based on what they are personally looking for from their shopping experience.
Is it cheaper to buy online or in-store?
There’s no doubt that buying online is convenient and a good option for those who struggle to find the time to get out and about; it’s a lot quicker to compare prices on various websites than it is to walk or drive between physical stores. However you decide to spend your money, prices are obviously going to vary between different retailers and depending on the time of year that you’re making your purchase. The general consensus is that buying online often works out cheaper than buying in store – at least the headline price is often cheaper. However, additional charges, including the cost of delivery, could increase the amount you actually pay. Consumers should also be aware that, from July 2017, online purchases made from an overseas retailer will be more expensive, with a ten per cent GST now applying. Previously the tax only applied to online overseas purchases worth $1,000 or more.
The advantage those who visit a bricks and mortar store have is that they get the opportunity to negotiate a lower price with the sales staff they speak with – something that 72% of our survey respondents, who have visited a physical store in the last six months, claim they usually do. This tactic is particularly common around end of financial year sales time. Try doing that at home and you’ll probably find the “computer says no”.
What are the pros of shopping in-store?
In a world where many people now enjoy the convenience of buying online, the great thing about visiting a bricks and mortar electronics store is that you can actually get your hands on the appliance or high-tech gadget you’re thinking of buying. If you plan on spending hundreds of dollars on a new item for your home, it’s a good idea to get up close and personal with it before handing over your card details. You might change your mind when you look more closely at its features, or you might find something else that takes your fancy instead. Buying in-store also means you can benefit from the advice of sales assistants to ensure you’re making the right decision for your needs. And, depending on its size, you might get to take the item home with you rather than waiting for several days for it to be delivered.
Of course, nobody wants to pay more than they have to and you might be able to grab a great deal online, but the added bonus of speaking with trained in-store experts really shouldn’t be underestimated, as the drivers of satisfaction from our survey of Aussie consumers shows:
- Point of sale service 27%
- Price compared to other retailers 24%
- Value for money 23%
- Layout of store 13%
- Range of products on offer 8%
Clearly there are a lot of factors that go into determining customer satisfaction at electronics stores and our findings show the big retailers exactly what they need to be getting right to keep their customers coming back.
What are the cons of shopping in-store?
Just like buying online comes with its frustrations – usually relating to the speed of your internet connection – so too does shopping at a bricks and mortar store, including the temptation to buy things that you don’t particularly need. A significant 41% of adults told us they often end up spending more than they planned to when they go shopping and 33% have products at home that they regret buying. With so many impressive gadgets and potential bargains, keeping your cards in your pocket can be a challenge at times, so it’s a good idea to stay focused on what you had in mind in the first place and not to get too distracted by the sales paraphernalia.
Aside from overspending, here is what our survey respondents told us annoys them most when they head in-store. Just 2% of adults said absolutely nothing gets their back up, so there clearly are some issues for the big chains to address.
- A lack of sales staff to assist 26%
- Not having the items wanted 25%
- Long queues to pay at checkouts 17%
- A lack of knowledge from sales staff 15%
- The store being overcrowded 11%
Once again we see the importance of quality customer service coming to the fore, and perhaps with the exception of overcrowding, the above gripes are all areas in which electronics retailers could realistically improve. Fortunately for The Good Guys, it scored a clean sweep of five-star ratings across all research categories. Congratulations, Guys.
Frequently asked questions
The Good Guys
The Good Guys originally started trading in 1952 as the ‘Mighty Muirs’ but since its rebranding in 1998 it has become one of Australia’s leading consumer household appliance retailers, with 99 stores across the country. It promises quality electronics at competitive prices and has “the vision to always delight customers”. As we mentioned above, The Good Guys scored five-star ratings from consumers across all categories.
Born out of Fairfield in Western Sydney in 1957, Bing Lee now has 40 stores across New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria. Run “as a family business” it promises to always put the customers first and vows to treat everyone – including suppliers and staff – respectfully. Bing Lee also says it is quick to adapt to and offer new technologies to its customers.
JB Hi-Fi was established in East Keilor in Victoria in 1974, delivering a specialist range of Hi-Fi and recorded music at “Australia’s lowest prices”. It has become one of the country’s fastest growing and largest retailers of home entrainment products and claims the best brands, cheapest prices, convenient store locations and genuine personal service from its staff.
Founded in 1961, Harvey Norman stores are owned and operated by independent franchises, which can be found across all states and territories of Australia. Harvey Normal encourages its customers to “shop with confidence” and says it is committed to quality, value and service, in store and online.
Founded in 1968, Dick Smith is one of Australia’s major retailers of consumer electronics. It says it strives to help customers get the most out of their technology, in-store, online or on the go, and promises to find the solution to match their lifestyle needs. It vows to serve its customers with integrity and care.
Canstar Blue commissions Colmar Brunton to regularly survey 3,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have made a purchase from a physical electronics retailer store in the last six months – in this case, 1,681 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.