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RETAIL FOCUS MYSTERY SHOPPER


This Mystery Shop was conducted by infinite Field Marketing Solutions, a leading provider of field marketing services to the technology sector.


The solutions provided include Training, Market Research, Mystery Shopping, Demonstration Days, Roadshows, Merchandising and Compliance & Data Capture. Visit our website for details and to request a Case Study.


PC WORLD


ALL THE members of staff were busy as I browsed the store’s MP3 player section, but I was eventually approached by a sales assistant who apologised for the delay and offered his services. The display was somewhat limited in comparison


to the other stores I visited in Croydon, but it included a selection of iPods, a few Sony units and a discontinued Archos device. The salesman looked uneasy when I asked his


advice regarding the best option for my needs. “I would say an iPod,” he replied. There seemed to be a lack of certainty behind the recommendation, so I asked the salesman why. He then admitted that he did not have a great deal of technical knowledge as he hadn’t worked in store for long. “From my experience iPods are very popular choices and I have used them in the past,” he said. I changed tack and moved onto speaker docks. The


staff member took me over to the display, but unfortunately all of the products were unplugged, denying me the opportunity for a sound test. I thanked the sales assistant fand made my excuses. On a different day this visit might have been ten


times better. I found the customer service polite and honest, but it did not quite fulfill my needs.


[SUMMARY]


From the visits it is quite clear that Apple remains the dominant force in the MP3 Player market, and its position is helped by great live demonstration displays and accessories made by third party manufacturers for Apple products. To the Average Joe there wouldn’t be a need to argue. In the speaker dock market things are more


42 PCR November


complex with varying levels of price and a large variety of options all vying for your iPod, sorry, MP3 Player. If sound quality is important to you it seems a product under £250 would not be adequate with Bose proving the most popular choice.


www.pcr–online.biz SCORE 6/10


JOHN LEWIS


AFTER I explained my requirements to the salesman, he said there was nothing he could suggest other than an iPod as it was all they had in stock. He added that a Classic would be the best option for me. The MP3 players were all laid out and demo-


ready. He picked up the iPod Classic and demonstrated music and video playback to me. “Would you like to speak to the Apple expert?” the member of staff asked, but I declined. I asked my helper which brands he preferred. “Sony has great sound quality and Archos has amazing video playback and recording options,” he said. I then asked about the speaker docks. Retrieving


his own iPod Touch from his pocket, the sales assistant took me through the devices available, starting with products from B&W and Panasonic, and moving on to his favourite, the Harmon Kardon Go Play (£249). When listening to this speaker, the sound quality was far greater than the other brands. This was a great visit; I was well looked after and couldn’t have asked for better customer service. The assistant knew his stuff and showed great enthusiasm when talking about the products, despite the lack of MP3 player competition.


SCORE 8/10


TESCO


THE SOLE member of staff on the electricals section was busy as I entered, so I browsed the available devices. Once available, he was straight over to help. “I think an 8GB player would suffice for 100 albums; we have a number of iPods that would do,” he said. I asked if there were any other options and he


looked over the ticketing for some specs to recite to me. The product range was limited, with little to match up to the Apple display, but the sales assistant said I could find more products on the Tesco website. The Sony A-Series player was suggested as an alternative. “This one has a built-in FM radio and is 16GB,” the salesman read from the ticket. Once again I got that sinking feeling that all I was going to get was the iPod. We moved onto speaker docks. The section was large, but the products were all unplugged. I asked which had the best sound. “I don’t know, I’ve never heard them,” came the reply. Brilliant. “The JBL has a strong reputation, though.” I left the store not really knowing what to make of the visit. The salesman did pick out a suitable player, but with little product knowledge demonstrated I left more puzzled than when I went in.


SCORE 3/10


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