Gateway Stores Ranked #1 in Magazine’s ‘Mystery Shopper’ Comparison

My spin: Sometimes you go into a retail store and get a sales person that is so clueless about technology it’s not even funny. Even worse they give the WRONG advice to you and if you don’t know better you’ll follow it and spend money you don’t need to spend or worse!
POWAY, Calif., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ –Gateway (NYSE: GTW) stores outperformed all competitors in a “mystery shopper”
comparison conducted recently by Computer Shopper magazine, a leading consumer technology publication. Gateway stores — which last October began stocking a full selection of digital electronics in addition to the company’s award-winning PCs — was given a perfect score by Computer Shopper’s editors, beating “big box” retailers Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Office Depot, Staples, Wal-Mart and others.
The complete results of the comparison appear in the February 2003 issue of Computer Shopper.
Computer Shopper representatives posed as buyers and visited a variety of retail stores, asking a sales associate in each store the same five basic technical questions:
— How would I connect to a digital video camera?
— How would I connect a digital still camera?
— How much system memory do I need?
— What would the system need to connect to cable Internet access?
— What sort of connection would the system need for an old Epson Inkjet
The magazine also rated each sales representative on their knowledge of the store’s PC product line, as well as their responsiveness and manner. Each store was assigned a numerical rating, with 21 being a perfect score. Gateway alone achieved a perfect score. “Unlike the other locations, the Gateway store lived up to expectations with a knowledgeable associate who knew the products and the answers to all our questions,” Computer Shopper reporter Mitt Jones wrote in a rating of eight national retailers.
“These results illustrate the major advantages Gateway stores have over ‘big box’ retailers: highly trained sales people who provide expert advice, and the ability to try out digital electronics in a truly ‘digital’ setting — connected to a PC,” said John Lostroscio, Gateway’s vice president of retail merchandising. “Our sales representatives have undergone extensive, hands-on training to ensure they provide a superior customer experience. They work hard to satisfy our customers, and this ranking has made them very proud.”
Last October, Gateway began stocking some 150 digital electronics products including digital cameras, MP3 players, digital video gear, software, printers and accessories. Gateway has examined hundreds of these types of products and identified a best-in-class group for sale in Gateway stores on the basis of performance, value and interoperability with a PC.