When you’re looking for new household appliances or high-tech gadgets, compare electronic retailers with our customer satisfaction ratings.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Some things are so ingrained in us that we instinctively know what to do or where to go when a certain situation arises. And if you’re in need of a new TV, computer, laptop, camera, microwave, refrigerator, washing machine, clothes dryer or vacuum cleaner, you know it’s time to head to your favourite 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. This year, we’re pleased to announce that PB Tech has rated five stars for overall satisfaction and receives our Most Satisfied Customers Award for electronics retailers.
For many Kiwis, 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 up 13% in July 2015, compared to July 2014, according to the BNZ online retail sales report. The report shows that spending on international websites is growing at a quarterly rate of 23%, overshadowing domestic online sales growth at only 5%.
With the shift to online 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 potentially 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.
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 a GST of 15% is currently charged on physical goods worth $400 or more (though lower value items may exceptionally incur GST). There is, however, some talk of tax reform that will see GST apply to all online retailers and services for sales of any value.
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, in fact, 17% of New Zealanders we surveyed say they have purchased extra items to negotiate a lower price. 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”.
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 Kiwi consumers shows:
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.
PB Tech was founded in 1993 and says it is 100% New Zealand owned. With nine super stores nationwide, and over 12,000 technology products, PB Tech claims to be the largest computing and I.T retailer in the country. The retailer says it’s the one-stop-shop for technology needs, with a wide range of products and great customer service to help you find the product for your needs. As mentioned, customers rated PB Tech five-stars in almost every research category.
100% Appliances says it’s completely New Zealand owned. The retailer prides itself on offering expert advice and great service at competitive prices and offers the biggest brands across more than 50 stores nationwide, so you should never be too far from your nearest store.
Noel Leeming was acquired by the Warehouse Group in December 2012 and now has more than 80 stores nationwide, offering a range of technology products, as well as in-store and at home services. Noel Leeming also promises to match competitors’ prices on any product.
Harvey Norman is a large appliance, furniture and electronics retailer, with stores in six countries worldwide. Created by Gerry Harvey and Ian Norman (Hence the name Harvey Norman), the store has grown from relatively modest beginnings in Australia and today offers competitive prices across a huge range of products.
The Warehouse is a huge discount retailer, offering everything from clothes and jewelry to household appliances and electronics. Having several leading companies (Including Noel Leeming), the Warehouse has continued to grow with 88 Warehouse stores and 80 Noel Leeming stores.
JB Hi-Fi claims to be New Zealand’s largest home entertainment specialist, with 13 super stores across the country. It offers everything from car stereos, to tablets and televisions, to video games, music and cameras.
Dick Smith is an electronics retailer operating in New Zealand and Australia. Dick Smith has 75 stores across New Zealand, including its ‘powerhouse’ stores, and offers a huge range of electronics for both home and office.
Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 2,500 New Zealand 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 purchased a product from an electronic retailer in the last 6 months – in this case, 1,839 New Zealanders.
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 were compared in this survey.