Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blu Ray Media Stores: Beach Audio Review

Blu Ray blank media guide : Best Blu Ray media stores  
Best Blu Ray Media Online Stores Part 5: Beach Audio Review

Beach Audio often shows up on shopping engines with decent prices. We researched it in depth, expecting to see it appear among the best. After a thorough investigation, we were disappointed by some of its marketing and customer service practices.

Site and usability
Blu Ray media can be found on Beach Audio under Blank Media -> Storage Media -> CD/DVD Media. They share the category with CDs and DVDs, but can be isolated under the selections Blu Ray Recordable Media (BD-R) and Blu Ray Rewritable Media (BD-RE). By checking both categories you effectively select all Blu Ray media, which is the equivalent of having a Blu Ray category.  Site pages load comparatively slowly, with an average 4.5 seconds to display a right-clicked SKU. Of our wish list of 13 types of sorting and binning, Beach Audio provides 9: you cannot sort by best rating, most reviews or best selling, and you have to calculate unit price yourself. On the other hand, you have the equivalent of a Blu Ray media category,  you can select type (BD-R/ BD-RE), by single/ dual layer, printability, speed, quantity and manufacturer, you can view user ratings in the listing pages, and you can sort by price and manufacturer.

Inventory and price
Beach Audio's inventory totals 77 different Blu Ray media, an average inventory for the category. It stocks a low 18% of our 89 test Blu Ray media - 4th lowest before Provantage, TapeOnline and B&J Photo Video. Beach Audio's average overprice over best price across the stores we surveyed was 14.2%, which is low for the industry, and puts Beach Audio 4th in the category, after MediaMegaMall, TapeOnline and NewEgg. On the other hand, Beach Audio only has 2 SKUs match the best price across all stores surveyed, ranking 3rd last, even with SuperMediaStore, and before Rima and BHP Photo Video. Beach Audio stocks 3 of the 6 Blu Bary media that we selected as best archival grade media, with a low average overprice of 11.5% over the best price in the category for the basket of them.

User reviews
Beach Audio lets the user write user reviews, but so far very few have been written. We could only find 10 reviews across the whole site.

Customer Service
Beach Audio only gathers a bit over 300 reviews with ResellerRartings, with a very low rating of 78%. It does better on Google Shopping, raking up more than 4,000 reviews with a good rating of 94%. In our overall predictive CS rating, it scores a low 83%, even with and only ahead of MediaMegaMall. Most common issues had to do with advertised prices and canceled orders.

Table: Beach Audio Blu Ray media review (see legend below)

Beach Audio carries a average inventory of Blu Ray media, with overall good but not record prices, decent site capabilities, practically no user reviews, and a rather poor CS record. Its pricing is good for our basket of selected archival grade Blu Ray media. While do not see many reasons to shop there for Blu Ray media unless you already have a cart going for other purposes, Beach Audio is worth visiting for a price check unless service (delivery time, for instance) is an important aspect of the purchase.

Next we review for Blu Ray media... So come back soon!

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Table Legend:
Total inventory: total number of Blu ray media SKUs on the site
Inventory %: percentage of list of 89 Blu Ray media that can be found at the store
Inventory % for selected archival media: % of SKUs that we selected in our Blu Ray Media review for archival grade
Site sorting: how many types of sorts and bins are possible on the site (out of the 13 we listed in our wish list)
Average query speed: the average speed to display a right-clicked SKU  - measures browsing speed
Average overprice: How much % over best price, for all media present in more than one store

Average overprice for selected archival media: specifically how much % over best price for the media we selected for archival grade
# lowest priced SKUs: how many SKUs in the store equal best price (if more than one store carries them)
# user reviews: how many user reviews we found on the site for Blu Ray media
Predictive CS rating: our worst case analysis of the likely Customer Support rating for this store
, explained

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