Supermarkets were rated below par when it comes to buying tech with customers experiencing much higher satisfaction levels from Richer Sounds and John Lewis according to the latest Which? retail survey.
Three of the UK’s biggest supermarkets finished bottom of the rankings in the latest Which? retail survey of the best places to buy tech products. Asda was bottom, just behind Sainsbury’s and Tesco, with shoppers underwhelmed by the supermarkets’ tech product range, availability and quality, as well as customer service.
Which? surveyed 7,000 people who have recently bought tech products such as phones, TVs or laptops on all aspects of their shopping experience. Those surveyed were asked to rate retailers for value for money, product range, deliveries and product quality.
The highest-rated shop in the Which? survey was specialist retailer Richer Sounds (customer score 92%), with John Lewis (87%) coming in a close second. Customers told Which? that these shops offered top service, great value for money and an extensive range of tech items.
Asda found itself bottom of the survey, achieving a customer score of 67 per cent. Shoppers gave the supermarket a modest three stars across almost all categories, but praised the retailer’s value for money.
Tesco (68%) and Sainsbury’s (68%) languish alongside AppliancesDirect.co.uk (69%), HP.com and Ebuyer.com (71%) in the bottom six.
At the top of the Which? table, Richer Sounds almost had a clean sweep of five-star ratings, with customers praising the retailer for its value for money, customer service and product warranty.
Nearly a quarter of Richer Sounds shoppers included in the Which? survey were first-time customers since the initial nationwide lockdown in March – and they were impressed. Almost all of those surveyed (98%) were positive about the way Richer Sounds communicated changes to the normal shopping process.
John Lewis was also commended for doing a good job of communicating with customers during the pandemic. Shoppers were also impressed by the 156-year-old retailer’s guarantees, after-sales service and returns policies.
The survey found that more people shopped for tech on Amazon.co.uk than anywhere else, with many citing speed of delivery as a key reason for choosing the retailer. Survey respondents also rated its range and availability of products. Overall, a customer score of 78 per cent put Amazon at a respectable fifth place in the rankings.
However, Which? has found that the quality of shopping experience consumers get from some third-party sellers on Amazon and other online marketplaces can vary greatly. The consumer champion recommends doing some research and buying from official retailers and reputable sellers where possible. Deals that look too good to be true often are – especially on tech products from unknown brands with an unusually high number of positive reviews.
Nearly nine in 10 people buying tech products had bought from the same retailer before. For those using a retailer for the first time, three in 10 said it was because of circumstances relating to COVID-19.
This was part of a broader shift in shopping habits during the pandemic, which may have favoured retailers in a strong position to focus their efforts on online sales over those based on the high street or retail parks.
Separate Which? research found the proportion of people who shopped on their local high street more than once a month also fell from 51 per cent pre-pandemic to 38 per cent in September. City centres, indoor malls and retail parks saw similar drops. Meanwhile, three in 10 people said face-covering regulations had put them off shopping in store.
Says Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services:
“When it comes to shopping for tech products, our research shows how highly people rate retailers they can trust to deliver excellent customer service, as well as an impressive range of quality tech products at a good price.
“With the Black Friday sales season in full swing, anyone looking to grab a bargain should not only consider price but also how the retailer treats customers and what support is offered if they experience problems with their products further down the line.”