The Shopping Experience: Electronics

Now that the format of these posts is familiar, dear reader, do allow us to cut to the chase :

 

Impressive : Bose

The sales assistants at the Bose store are good. They are polite, know the products and their features, and encourage you to take a look at the products. Even if you tell them that you are definitely not buying, they are enthusiastic about demonstrating the superior quality of the product through a demo (vital to convincing customers in the audio equipment category). You select a song from their list, they tune the system for maximum sound quality, let you hear the entire song and ensure that you walk away impressed with the equipment and their behaviour.

 

Satisfactory : Sony

We’ve also noticed that the staff at the Sony showrooms tends to be helpful. They patiently took us through all the features of a few laptop models, and simplified details when one of us asked a few doubts in a very confused tone. Point in their favour – they never smirked, even when asked to repeat simple details multiple times, or to simplify them further.

 

While I wouldn’t say that salespeople at all Croma stores are as good, one gentleman at the Kandivili (Mumbai) outlet did impress me. He was especially polite and reassuring to an elderly man nervously buying a laptop, explained all the details to him, helped him fill out the form for a data card and install it, and then gave the old man his personal cell-phone number to call in case there was any further help needed.

 

Not-so-good, a few examples of what we didn’t like:

  • Salespeople at some branded outlets seemed uninterested in actually speaking to consumers. In one outlet that we visited, one person was busy at the cash counter, two were chatting to each other and a fourth was standing outside the shop and speaking to someone on his cell-phone. ‘Sales assistance and us! Naah, we’re mannequins, part of the decor.’
  • Others had limited product knowledge, and did not show any enthusiasm to even try and find out the answer to a question, seemed a bit sulky too; maybe they felt the brand was a powerful enough draw on its own.
  • After-sales service seems to be one key feature that needs improvement. An anecdote from Nafisa below :

We wanted a certain not-in stock part and thought the salesman promised to call when it arrived and took down our contact details, we never heard from them again.

 When the unit needed servicing and I dropped it off at the service centre, no one said a word to me – I mean not a word, I had to ask multiple questions to figure out what was happening and what to do, when they would let me know, etc. They only promised to call when the unit was repaired so I could pick it up. Of course, they didn’t, I finally had to complain at the customer toll free number and even then they didn’t call up. I had to make multiple calls over 2-3 days after the due date, to the service centre before they told me it was ready.

 (S, you will recognise the similarity between the episode below and the one with your bag that you mentioned as a comment after our apparels and accessories post)

 

Grade given by the Escape Velocity team: A few exceptions that surpassed expectations; overall, a B.

 

Next Stop: To wrap up this series on shopping experience for premium branded goods in India, we’ll discuss some reasons for why the sales (and after-sales) service is in the state that it is in.

 

By,

 Escape Velocity Team

 [Disclaimer : This post deals mainly with one aspect of the shopping experience – interactions with the staff. Also, the list of outlets visited for the purpose of observation is not exhaustive.

Outlets mentioned in these posts will differ widely in terms of pricing, degree of premiumness and image; for the purposes of these blog-posts, we are still tackling all these outlets together.]

 

 

2011-08-30T05:51:03+00:00

10 Comments

  1. Automated forex trading September 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Great post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Cheers!

    • escapevelocityblog September 7, 2011 at 4:38 am - Reply

      Thanks for appreciating our post.
      Is there anything in particular that you would like us to elaborate upon?

      Best,
      Roshni

  2. Sanjana September 6, 2011 at 11:00 am - Reply

    Electronics are much worse – especially when you have to get something repaired under warranty. It doesn’t matter whether you bought it at a Croma / Vijay Sales… their service teams are quite useless too.

    • escapevelocityblog September 7, 2011 at 5:04 am - Reply

      Hi Sanjana,
      That’s exactly what Nafisa’s plaint is too. And of a lot of other people, judging by the reactions we’ve got.
      Regards,
      Zen

  3. Wilhelmina September 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    What a neat article. I had no ikilnng.

    • escapevelocityblog September 7, 2011 at 4:41 am - Reply

      Hi Wilhelmina

      Thanks, glad you liked our blog. Keep reading…

      Best,
      Roshni

  4. Rahul Jhaveri September 8, 2011 at 9:52 am - Reply

    How does home-delivered electronics with a personal vendor fit into the larger scheme of things? I tend to get most things delivered and do the necessary research from blogs and reviews. I find it a much more ‘democratic’ way of finding out what’s what rather than relying on one person’s opinion. Would automated FAQs, digital quick facts and reviews be useful for buyers in-stores or is the Indian consumer still unprepared for this?

    • escapevelocityblog September 8, 2011 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Hi Rahul

      Several readers who wrote into us on facebook also had a similar opinion about doing research online from multiple sources prior to making the purchase decision. That said, I think having electronics home delivered is done by a very small segment. Most people we’ve spoken to typically do their research before hand, before they visit a store, because typically they do like to touch and feel the product, actually see the size of the item, etc. People also like to be reaffirmed of their decision by an actual human interaction (i.e. salespeople at the store vs. reading reviews by face-less persons), especially when it comes to electronics and especially when they are from a slightly older demographic and particularly about the installation, particular compatibility questions and after-sales service that they may require.

      Automated FAQs and reviews in-store would surely be extremely useful for buyers, but we feel that maybe the market isnt ready for it just yet. Given how most new automated initiatives are typically manned with humans to direct users (be it the case of using escalators or parking in lots or swiping credit cards at checkout), the concept of self-service/ self-help is still quite alien to Indian consumers and if such interactive screens are installed, stores will also need to have salespersons assist shoppers with these.

      Best,
      Roshni

  5. Simple but interesting blog post I must say. I’ve just added your RSS to my google reader! =)

    • escapevelocityblog October 5, 2011 at 8:07 am - Reply

      Hi,
      Glad you liked the post; especially since you added us to your google reader. 🙂
      Regards,
      Zenobia

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