Saturday 18 September 2010

Appliances Online - The Appliance Specialist

I was recently approached by Appliances Online to have a look around their website and tell them what I thought. So I thought I'd tell you too ! I'm going to be perfectly honest and tell you that this is a sponsored post - but that in no way changes the content of my review. If I don't like what I see, I'll still tell them - and you !

I'd never actually heard of Appliances Online but a quick bit of research reveals that they are a British white goods retailer and part of the DRL group founded by MD John Roberts in 2000, after making a bet in a pub ! They ship large kitchen appliances like washing machines and cookers across the UK and offer next day delivery 7 days a week. One of the first things that leapt out at me when I visited the website was the fact that they are currently offering free delivery anywhere in the UK seven days a week. For anyone who has ever had to beg with the boss for a day off work to get a new washing machine delivered, that means you can avoid the whole headache by opting for a Sunday delivery. Normal delivery is £29.99, plus extra for premium dates (presumably weekend deliveries), so that's immediately a pretty good saving if you get in quick while the offer is still running.

But what about the products themselves ? They offer a wide range of all the household white goods you could possibly want, including washers and driers, fridges and freezers, dishwashers, cookers, ovens, hobs and cooker hoods. I was impressed to see that they even have spin driers, which aren't always easy to find but that many elderly relatives prefer to "new-fangled" tumble driers ! The products are grouped into handy categories - for example, for the freezers, upright freezers, under-counter freezers and chest freezers - but you can also jump straight to the "offers" section to see what's on promotion.

Choosing the product you want is made really easy because you can browse the complete range of models on offer or narrow down your choices by using a multitude of search options. You can select by brand, delivery options (standard or next day), promotions (best buy or while stocks last), price, fit type, colour, customer ratings, energy ratings, standard warranty (two year or one year), height or width. As someone who inevitably gets annoyed wandering around electrical goods stores comparing all the little information cards and never remembering which one said what or finding the model with the maximum dimensions required to fit in the kitchen, I think that is an absolutely fantastic tool. Especially as, once you've narrowed down your choices to a select few, you can tick "compare" then go to the compare page (scroll down and look in the right-hand margin - I spent a while working out how to get to the compare page !) to see your favourite models side by side and compare each piece of information point by point.

From looking around the website, you really get the impression that they are offering you everything they can possibly think of to make the buying experience as simple and painless as possible. As well as the comparison page and the handy ways to refine your search that I've already mentioned, they have buyer's guides, glossaries to explain the terminology of different white goods and a free order and advice line, based in a call centre in Bolton (so, unlike many of the foreign call centre operators, they should actually understand your questions !). Having spent many a frustrating half hour waiting for hotline operators to answer the phone, I was really impressed to see that, as well as being free and using sensible hours (Monday - Sunday 8am to 10pm), they make the following promise : "Our target is to answer 90% of our calls within 20 seconds, though we’re often much faster". Yes, OK, the cynics out there are saying that you'll probably be one of the unlucky ones in the 10% but I'm still impressed !

Speaking of being cynical, a little nagging voice was telling me that with all these great deals and free delivery and free call centre and so on, they probably recoup their money by hiking up the prices. Well, they even offer a Price Match Promise. "We’re confident you can’t beat our price, but if you think one of our competitors listed has, call us on 0800 032 3249 and we’ll match their offer." Ever the cynic, I expected a list of expensive companies but no, they price match with Comet, Currys, John Lewis, Tesco and ASDA.

As an online reviewer, I always like to check out the product reviews on websites but when they only have faultless 5/5 reviews, I'm (yes, you've guessed it !) always a bit sceptical that they've censored the reviews or only allowed through the ones that say nice things. Well, I was reassured to see that on the Appliances Online website, there are good and bad customer ratings and reviews, as well as video reviews (although those are more like the demonstrations you see on TV shopping channels so I'd call them video presentations rather than unbiased reviews).

I have to say, the website is well thought out and really easy to navigate and all the information you could possibly want is there at your fingertips. The free advice line is also a huge plus point if you can't find out everything you need to know. And if you need another reason to check them out, I've discovered that they also have a competitions page and on their twitter page, they give away sweets ! What more could you possibly ask for ?!

star rating : 5/5 (please note, I'm reviewing the website and have no actual experience of the company - please feel free to leave a comment if you've got anything to add after buying from them !)

for more information :

Other reviews you may be interested in :

iPerfumer - free download from Apple App Store to help you choose your perfect perfume
Wikio Shopping - price comparison, customer reviews, cashback and discount codes all in one place

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