We travel to Bristol to test its retailers on their Sat Nav knowledge

Mystery Shopper May Part Two

Satellite navigation technology has permeated the consumer sector over the last few years, so this month our Mystery Shopper has navigated the city of Bristol to find out which store knows what direction to take. Today, in the second part of our May mystery shop, we see how the specialists faired.


This store was immaculate in appearance and layout, with clear signage for the products. A full range of items was stocked including TomTom, Garmin, Binatone and Pronav. An assistant approached me and I told him that I was travelling across the UK and Ireland, and asked which one was the most suitable and easy to use.

I was told TomTom was the best device for UK and Europe and he was quick to point out that this was feedback he had received from customers. He concentrated his efforts on selling the TomTom Go 730. Maplins’ Easter offer promoted two years of free map updates, worth £69.95. As I already received a year’s free map updates with the device, then I would have three years of worry-free driving. The store assistant was also keen to point out some of the key features, which included Advanced Lane Guidance (which points out which lane to drive in a multi-lane environment) and Hands Free Calling.

Whilst he didn’t dismiss the Garmin product his concentration on TomTom was evident and product knowledge impressive.



The first thing I saw when I came in was a TomTom Gondola, explaining the difference between the basic, XL and Go products. Leading on from that was another gondola, this time with a glass cabinet filled with TomTom, Garmin and Navman products.

TomTom devices were easier to use, explained a sales person, adding that the map navigation and menus were easier to follow than Garmin –something which I had heard earlier in the day. When I asked which TomTom device to buy, I was told: "Obviously all of them will get you from A to B, however, the Go Range has extra features such as Lane Indication, Bluetooth, MP3 Player and Google.


PC World

With retail suffering at the moment it was good to see customer service was the priority in this store. A member of staff stood near the store entrance greeting customers as they walked in, offering to get someone to help them on their respective areas of interest.

I asked which sat nav brand was best. He told me both TomTom and Garmin were the leaders in navigation technology. However, his focus was towards TomTom as he progressed into his sales pitch. Extra features such as Google Search and Hands-free Calling were available in the TomTom Go range, all of which were pretty easy to use. There was also an offer on map upgrades, worth £69.95, free for two years.



This was another quiet store with only a few customers looking around the desktops and audio equipment. After perusing the satellite navigation product range, I caught a salesperson’s attention. He was very enthusiastic about the products. When asking him to recommend one over the other, he opted for TomTom.

Despite this, he added that Garmin performed better in terms of getting a connection to the satellite when indoors. I am assuming that he meant when I was in a car park where satellite links are usually more difficult to establish. Despite his preference on Garmin’s satellite link, he personally owned a TomTom and was very happy with it.


Retailer Table

1 – Maplin
1 – John Lewis
2 – Currys
3 – Comet
4 – PC World
5 – Asda
6 – Tesco

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