Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of electronics retailers compares The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Bing Lee and Betta on their customer service, range of products, layout of stores, relative price, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
For many Australians, the electronics store is the adult version of a candy store, with the latest gadgets and gear enticing us in, even when we don’t need it! An electronics retailer usually stocks the latest and greatest appliances for every room in the house, including televisions, fridges, tablets, dishwashers and phones, along with all types of related goodies. Electronics retailers also allow you to walk out the door with your goods, meaning you can start using them as soon as you get home – making it ideal for those keen on trying out their new purchase straight away, or those who have an appliance on the fritz.
When it comes to choosing an electronics store to do business with, we are met with plenty of options, both from big retail chains and small boutique stores, all providing a variety of deals to get you through the door. As a result, choosing the closest store down the road may not give you the best deal, nor is the biggest store guaranteed to give you the best service or bargains. You’ll naturally want a great price, but you’ll also want great customer service and an overall good shopping experience.
To find out which retailers are getting it right on price, service and other important factors, Canstar Blue conducts an annual review of electronics stores, asking everyday Aussie consumers about their personal experiences in the stores compared. This year, more than 1,700 adults took part in our survey, but there was a repeat winner when it comes to overall satisfaction, with The Good Guys taking out the award for a record NINTH year in a row.
That’s right, this category has been completely dominated by The Good Guys since 2011 – if that’s not an endorsement that the retailer is (generally) getting things right, then we’re not sure what is. We only say ‘generally’ because, of course, not every single customer will have a great experience at any store. The point of our research is to show – based on the collective feedback of Aussie consumers – which sores are getting it right more often than not.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of electronics retailers saw six major chains compared, rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
While The Good Guys claimed top spot for the ninth year in a row, as well as five-star reviews across the board, there were some positive results for a couple of other stores. JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman joined The Good Guys on five stars when it comes to range of products, while Harvey Norman also secured top marks on store layout.
While offering a wide range of products, gadgets and brands is a sure-fire way to get people through the door, customer service and staff friendliness often play as much of a part as the price tag when it comes to shoppers making a decision on a purchase, or who to purchase through.
Attentive staff who greet you with a smile, as well as offer a wealth of knowledge when it comes to finding the best purchase for your needs, can make the decision easier, as well as impacting on your likelihood of coming back. But how attentive should staff members be? Can helpfulness turn into an annoyance? What if salespeople become a little too pushy? Respondents to our survey were asked if, and when, they like to be approached by sales staff when they head in-store. This is what we found:
We also asked survey respondents what the most frustrating aspects of shopping in-store are, with staff members also featuring prominently:
Just 13% of respondents said they have no frustrations when shopping in-store.
Here are some of the other findings from our 2019 survey:
With plenty of stores to choose from – and the option to shop online instead – the retailers need to give customers a good reason to visit them in person. As a result, most electronics retailers have some form of price match guarantee and discounts to get people through the door. Here’s what each retailer in our report can offer you in terms of finding a better deal.
Betta offers a Price Match Guarantee, stating that if you find a cheaper price and contact Betta, it will match it, subject to a few conditions. The conditions include that products must be from a registered Australian business that has a physical store in Australia, and that Betta doesn’t price match on grey imports, liquidation stock sales or when the price falls below cost price.
Betta also offers a 7-Day Purchase Price Guarantee for Club Betta members, meaning that if you find a cheaper price within seven days of purchasing something from Betta, simply show the advertised product, along with your receipt, and Betta will refund the difference. Similar to the Price Match Guarantee, this is subject to a few conditions, which can be found on the Betta website.
Under its ‘Competitor Pricing Policy’ – which can be found on its website – Bing Lee says that it will match the competitor’s price, but only when a number of conditions are met. These conditions include that the said competitor is a registered Australian business, has at least two physical stores, and that it physically has the product in stock.
Bing Lee’s price matching policy only applies to products available through either its physical or online store, and is not available on products purchased through Buy Now, Pay Later options such as AfterPay.
Harvey Norman has a ‘Shop with Confidence’ price match guarantee, stating that it will match genuine advertised prices from local stores and leading online retailers, with details and FAQs listed on the ‘Price Guarantee’ section of its website.
Consumers can request a Price Match up to seven days after the time of purchase, with Harvey Norman simply asking for proof of the competitor’s advertised price for the identical product. This does not apply to offers that include cashback, bonuses, bulk purchases, quantity limits or package deals, plus items on clearance or products delivered from an overseas distributor.
JB Hi-Fi says it will match the price of an identically-stocked competitor product, and states via its website that it is ‘open to negotiations’ when it comes to larger items.
Price comparisons for those who shop online must include the delivery costs, as well as exclude any additional offers such as cashback, store credit, bundled promotions, clearance products or limited-edition products. Full details are available via the ‘Pricing’ section of the JB Hi-Fi website.
Known for its wide range of stationery and office goodies, Officeworks also provides a ‘Price Beat Guarantee’, offering to beat an identically-stocked item by 5%. Shoppers simply have to provide proof of the price and contact their local Officeworks store for the price beat, although a number of conditions have to be met.
The item must be stocked at both Officeworks and the competitor’s store, and must not include any deals involving cashback, coupons, commercial quantities or stock liquidations. There are also some limitations for products found online, so be sure to either check out Officework’s website or contact your local store for full details.
For something a little different, The Good Guys encourages shoppers to ring up if they’ve found a better deal, with the retailer then offering a better price for the same product. If you’d like, you can complete the transaction straight away, meaning you don’t even have to step into a physical store! However, your purchase (and potential savings) will be subject to a few conditions, which The Good Guys will outline if you call up.
For those looking for peace of mind when it comes to their latest purchase, The Good Guys also offers a 30-Day Price Guarantee, but only if you add in ‘Gold Service Extras’ to your purchase. But with the Price Guarantee, if you notice the price of your product has dropped at either The Good Guys or an approved competitor by more than $5 within 30 days of the purchase, you’ll receive 120% of the difference as store credit. Approved competitors and full conditions are outlined on The Good Guys website.
With plenty of stores to choose from, finding one to spend your time – and money – in can be a tough decision, especially when it seems easier to simply stay at home and do your shopping from your couch. However, only 12% of survey respondents stated that they prefer to purchase electronics online rather than in-store – down from 24% last year – meaning electronics stores may have gotten the balance of pricing and customer service just right to entice customers through the door.
With all that in mind, it’s important not to assume that the first store you walk into will be giving you the absolute best deal. Sometimes finding the right store and the right deal requires a little patience, and a bit of research on your part. After all, looking into all of your options may not only help you walk away with the best deal, but the best product for your needs, ensuring you don’t feel any buyer’s remorse as soon as you get home.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Photo credits: Gorodenkoff/shutterstock.com, YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a product from an electronics retailer in the last 12 months. (excluding online-only retailers, and refers to stores that sell multiple brands) – in this case, 1,788 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 by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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