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Mystery Shopper: Basildon

Laura Barnes
Mystery Shopper: Basildon

We sent our intrepid Mystery Shopper to look for network accessible storage devices, preferably with the hard drive included and a budget of £100 - £120.

5/10
This store was very bright and spacious, made more obvious by the lack of employees. After a few minutes searching, I spotted two employees who could be seen in the distance; one working on the Customer Services desk, the other manning the tills. There were no staff members available on the shop floor to help customers.

I walked aimlessly around the aisles for ten minutes before eventually coming across the section where I expected to find my chosen purchase, but did not find any stock at all. I decided that I was never going to be approached by anyone so I walked up to the customer services desk to ask someone for help. After explaining that I was looking for a NAS drive between £100 and £120, the young assistant showed me to the section that I had already looked in prior to my search for staff.

Before looking for any stock, he began by explaining that, whilst he understood the type of product that I was looking to buy, abbreviating it as a ‘NAS’, Currys did not actually stock it and recommended that I visit the nearby PC World. My shopping trip, to this store at least, had been cut short.

The store staff, albeit few in number, were well presented and confident in their approach but it was a shame that the store didn’t have any of the products that I was looking for.

6/10
This was another well laid out store with good signage and spacious design. Whilst there was a sales person on the shop floor, he didn’t seem to notice me as a potential customer, yawning as he walked past me several times, only talking to customers who approached him.

After spending ten minutes walking around, a different member of staff approached and asked me if I needed help. This was a good start and he was extremely friendly and helpful, although at first he wasn’t sure what network access storage was. This didn’t seem to put him off as he made the effort to ask another colleague to explain its features and how it was used. I thought this was great, but was then let down by the fact that the store rarely stocked the products and that I would probably find it in PC World or Maplins.

I left to continue my shopping quest elsewhere, and whilst it wasn’t the staff members’ fault, the two who took the time to talk to me had been extremely friendly and helpful.

9/10
Barely had I stepped foot into the store and taken in my surroundings when an eager salesman approached, greeted me and asked how he could help. After telling him that I was looking to buy a NAS device, he eagerly directed me towards the stock. Noticing that I had walked past the products, he approached again to show me exactly where they were and returned to his duties at the front of the store.

A minute barely elapsed before another salesman came over to ask if he could help. Again, I told him what I was looking for. He explained in detail each product individually, listing storage sizes, how it worked and prices – excellent product knowledge I thought. He asked me to tell him how it would be used, i.e. the type and size of files which would be stored and my budget. I said it was between £100 to £120, and he then, very knowledgeably, explained the features of two products that were suited to the specifications that I had given.

The first was an Iomega StorCentre 1TB at £109.99, which he believed was great for a small business. His personal recommendation was the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Network Hard Drive 2TB at £119.99, which had all the features of the first product but double the capacity.

This was a great shopping experience; I would definitely feel good about buying a product recommended by this member of staff. He was confident, enthusiastic and clearly showed he knew what he was talking about.

2/10
By comparison to other stores visited today, this was cramped with far too much stock in one space. There were promotional stands in every bit of available space, making the store feel much smaller than it was and making accessibility a challenge.

I walked around for ten minutes before approaching a free sales person who finished a conversation with a cleaner before talking to me.

I asked her if the store stocked network access storage devices. Her response was that she was new to the store and did not know what it was. Realising that she couldn’t answer my question, she asked me to follow her to the desk, where I had to wait for a break in customers for her to ask another staff member. He indicated to her where the stock was by pointing down an aisle. She took me over to where he had pointed, however the product was not what I was looking for. When I told her, she looked confused and I had to point to a product on the shelf. Pursuing the conversation, I asked for recommendations. Still uncertain, she told me that she would ask someone else to come over and speak to me who was currently on the tills.

I waited a further ten minutes whilst the staff member finished serving customers before he very hurriedly came over and although he did understand what I wanted he seemed rushed, and recommended one product, the Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive 1TB at £109.99. I felt that the staff were too busy to spend any time talking to me about their products.

 8/10
I was greeted as soon as I walked into the store by an enthusiastic employee who asked me if he could help. Moments after explaining my shopping quest, the salesman launched into a vast presentation of product knowledge, which was impressive. He explained in detail how they worked and that he owned one. He also showed me an app on his iPhone which could directly access his NAS at home. This confident recommendation was clearly based on experience. There was only one product on offer though, a Seagate GoFlex Home Network Storage System 2TB at £129.99. That said, the salesman did provide an explanation on another option where a ‘USB style’ stick could be plugged into the router.

The store was bright, clean and well signed. Staff members were ready and eager to talk to customers. Whilst the product I was looking for was not clearly situated, this was not an issue as I did not need to look for it myself.

The salesman was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and was the only one out of the visits today who gave me the product codes so I could look them up later on the internet.

SUMMARY
Whilst all of the employees that I spoke with were friendly and polite, I found that a number of them were so busy dealing with other duties that they were unable to help me or offer their advice, or if they did, it felt rushed. This was especially true for the employees I spoke with in Staples.

Staff in PC World and Maplins were not just prompt in assisting with my query, but took the time to explain the products fully to me, whilst their recommendations left me confident with the information I had learned, as I felt their expertise with the product was gained through experience.

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Tags: Retail, PC World, mystery shopper, currys, maplin, staples, Basildon, NAS devices, coment

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