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

Mystery Shopper May Part One

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, we see how the non-specialists faired.


This Asda superstore boasts thousands of square feet of prime selling space filled with grocery, clothing and a dedicated electrical section located at the rear of the store. Passing from one area to another, it was almost like going into another store filled with TVs, DVD players, mobile phones, cameras; all things electrical.

The satellite navigation devices were located on a back wall display near the counter. Whilst TomTom was the primary device, there was a large bulk of dummy boxes promoting a Binatone X350 device for £50. Other Binatone models included the European version for £99 and the X430 Widescreen priced £109. TomTom products included the Go 530 and Go 730, priced at £249 and £299 respectively.

The assistant told me that it was personal preference which one to go for. She owned a TomTom device and had used it extensively when travelling in France and other parts of Europe, I was told, while her colleague owned a Binatone and had experienced a few ‘user error’ problems. Neither of the ladies offered clear differences between the models other than to explain Asda’s 28-day return policy.

Tesco Homeplus

THIS STORE is a new concept to the Tesco estate, with heavy concentration on all things for the home. I walked through an impressive array of products in the electricals section including televisions and cameras, before getting to a long gondola display with a huge range of satellite navigation devices including products from TomTom, Garmin and Navman.

When probing for a specific recommendation, the salesman found it difficult to answer. I had to lead the conversation a little in terms of asking him to explain various functions. That said, he showed a helpful and positive attitude towards my enquiry, adding that if I needed more help to return to the counter.

John Lewis

TOMTOM products were displayed first followed by Garmin and Navman and there was a stand-alone TomTom display nearby.

When I asked for a specific product recommendation, I was told: "It depends on your personal preference. Both TomTom and Garmin are popular devices." The assistant explained that whilst Garmin devices (Garmin 205T – £117 and Garmin 255WT – £156.35), included traffic updates, the introductory TomTom devices did not. However I could get free traffic updates with the TomTom Go 940 using its FM frequency to deliver this content.

As expected, some great advice from this long standing name on the High Street.

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