Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blu Ray Media Stores: TapeOnline Review

Best Blu Ray Media Online Stores Part 14: TapeOnline Review

 TapeOnline is another specialized electronic media site with an excellent reputation on the enthusiasts' forums as a trustworthy supplier of CD and DVD media, with high quality customer service. We always enjoy reviewing sites with a long and positive track record in similar industries, and were expecting TapeOnline to do well. It did.

 Site and usability
Blu Ray media can be found on the TapeOnline site under Disc Media -> Blu Ray.  Site speed is very good, with an average of 1.7 seconds per page to display a right-clicked SKU. Of our wish list of 13 types of sorting and binning, TapeOnline offers the least amount of capabilities in the category, providing the user with only 3:  it is not possible to select the manufacturer, speed, quantity or printability, user ratings are not displayed on the category listing page, and there is no sorting whatsoever. On the other hand, there is a Blu Ray media category, and it is possible to select type (BD-R/ BD-RE), and single/ dual layer. TapeOnline has such a narrow inventory (it all fits in one page) that sorting and binning are not as useful as they could be for a site with broad media availability.

Inventory and price
TapeOnline carries a tiny inventory of 28 Blue Ray media, narrowest in the category. It stocks 13% of our 89 Blu Ray test media, also worst in the category, even with B&H Photo Video. TapeOnline prices are on average 9.4% higher than the best price across our surveyed stores for media stocked by multiple stores, an excellent score which ranks second best in the category after MediaMegaMall. TapeOnline matches best price for three SKUs, for a media stocked by more than one store, in the lower half of the category. We are very pleased with the pricing offered by TapeOnline, but are disappointed in the very small inventory. TapeOnline only stocks one of the 6 media we selected as best Blu Ray archival grade media, which it sells 14.5% more than the best price across the category, an overprice we find reasonable.

User reviews
TapeOnline offers users the opportunity to submit user reviews, but we could not find one across all Blu Ray media on the site.

Customer Service
TapeOnline has an excellent reputation for customer service when selling optical media. Its customers count a lot of professionals who are demanding when coming to customer service. TapeOnline gathers over 150 reviews on ResellerRatings, with an outstanding 100% rating. On Google Shopping it gathers another 145 reviews, again with an excellent 98% rating. We gave TapeOnline an excellent 97% predictive CS rating.

Table: TapeOnline Blu Ray media review (see legend below)

TapeOnline turns out to be a small but clean site, with a narrow inventory but excellent prices and outstanding customer service. If it has the media you need, it is an excellent supplier for ongoing Blu Ray media orders. high usability, a large set of  user reviews, and a very good customer service record. Its very small inventory may not, however, give you the choice you need.

Next we compare all online stores for Blu Ray media and pick our selections... So come back soon! 

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 here

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