Trusted online stores for consumer electronics
Our online electronic stores review investigates the user-friendliness, special functions, and Covid-safe services offered by 5 consumer electronics web stores, including fnac, MediaMarkt, and Apple.
7 min read
Is your smartphone on its last legs? Are you shopping for your very first games console? No matter what kind of gadget you’re after, your best bet is to be on the lookout for special deals. Thanks to its speed and convenience, many Europeans are turning to online retailers these days to buy their laptops, cameras, and other electronic goods.
Nevertheless, it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin. To help make online purchases easier, we’ve reviewed the online shopping experience offered by five major electronics retailers to give you an overview of your options. From drones to subwoofers—find exactly what you want and buy it with confidence.
fnac is French for electronics
If it’s powered by electricity, this French electronics megastore probably stocks it. fnac’s European websites are almost exclusively available in Romance languages, so it’ll be easier to navigate them if you speak French, Spanish, or Portuguese—ok, or Dutch.
fnac is famous for its electronics and audio-visual products, as well as books, vinyl, homeware, and sport equipment. (Tip: if you’re in the market for either of the latter, we recommend checking out our articles about online homeware and sports equipment web stores.)
Once you’re on the website, the product categories in the side menu will help you start your search. Here’s a detailed list:
Books, E-books, Stationery
CDs, Vinyl, Music Streaming
Children, Babies, Toys
Laptops, Computers, Tablets
Smartphones and other connected devices, such as Smart Watches, Bluetooth Speakers, and Smart LED Lights
Cameras, Video Cameras, Drones
Headphones, Radios, Speakers, plus Home Studio and DJ Equipment
TVs, Projectors, Home Cinema Products
Home and Kitchen Appliances
Homeware and Décor
Home Improvements and Garden
Mobility, Sports, Fitness Equipment
The navigation menu also boasts eye-catching offers, such as flash sales, free ebooks, and free delivery for fnac card holders. The fnac card not only gives you free next-day delivery, but also 5% off countless products, discounts on services like TV wall mounting, out-of-warranty repairs, and tablet and smartphone data transfers. Plus, you’ll get several months of free access to cultural subscriptions (Deezer, ePresse, Izneo). A fnac membership costs €9.99 for the first year, and then goes up to €14.99 per year after that.
Hunt for bargains at MediaMarkt
This German multinational positions itself as a bargain hunter’s dream. MediaMarkt operates in 12 European countries, though it’s called MediaWorld in Italy. The website is displayed in the local language, so it’s a good idea to have a dictionary or translation plugin ready when shopping online, if you need it.
The product category menu is less overwhelming than the fnac multiverse. Other navigation options include Deals & Sales and a new Home Schooling section featuring special offers on tablets and other educational electronics. You can also join the MediaMarkt club to benefit from discounts, competitions, a newsletter, and various other bells and whistles.
If you need product advice, MediaMarkt’s new Covid-safe services can help. The Swiss site offers live video calls during business hours, while the Spanish site’s “Personal Shopper” service lets you make an appointment for a phone call or video call via WhatsApp. And if you do Click and Collect in Germany, you can ask the staff at the “Smartbar” for tech advice, get them to transfer data from your old phone to your new one, configure the operating system on your new laptop, or set up a virus scanner.
MediaMarkt offers all the usual payment methods, and most websites let you create wish lists and comparison lists. In Germany, standard delivery ranges from €4.99 to €29.90, and you can pay extra to have your new device set up and your old one taken away.
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No direct sales—Sony redirects you to other online stores
Sony is a global company with countless online stores. Head to the Electronics section to get straight down to business, or the PlayStation section to shop for gaming gear on a dedicated PlayStation website. If you need inspiration and advice, check out the “Sony Community”. Here, you can view photos taken by other customers of their Sony devices, post questions in forums, or browse their FAQs.
The product pages are bursting with information and images, but they’re well organized so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. There are detailed specifications, videos, slideshows, customer reviews, accessories, links to customer support, and more. You can view the price and add items to your Favorites and comparison lists.
However, although it looks and feels like a web store, you can’t actually purchase products directly from Sony. Each product features a Where to Buy button that shows you which online retailers sell the item, and whether they have it in stock. Click on your preferred retailer to navigate directly to the corresponding product page on their site.
If you want to pick up your product from a physical Sony Center, things get complicated. After clicking Where to Buy, scroll down to the Find Sony Center button that will link you to the Sony Center homepage. Here, you’ll have to search for the product you’re looking for all over again. You’ll need to set up a customer account to make a purchase.
Get Samsung product advice via live video chat
Samsung has online stores in most European countries, although only the UK and Irish sites are offered in English. Navigate directly to Galaxy 5G, Mobile, TV and AV, Home Appliances, Computing, Displays, Smart Home, or Offers by using the main menu.
Like Sony, Samsung has a community full of news, how-to articles, discussion forums, videos, competitions, and more. And just like MediaMarkt, it offers a live video call service. Click on Support > Contact > Video Chat or use the Samsung People Video Chat link in the footer to receive personalized advice about which smartwatch or tablet to buy, or to get help with a Samsung product you already own.
The Explore tab in the main menu is essentially a blog on subjects like photography, life hacks, wellbeing, and entertainment. Here, you can read stories about how Samsung’s products are used in real-life situations, rather than simply skimming through the technical specifications.
Not all products can be bought directly from the Samsung website. If an item cannot be purchased directly, you’ll see a Receive Stock Alerts button and a Where to Buy button, which brings up a list of online retailers. Click on a retailer to view the corresponding product page on their web shop.
Apple makes product comparisons easy
Apple has online stores in around 30 European countries. The stripped-back navigation bar lists the categories Mac, iPad, iPhone, Watch, TV, Music and Support. Once you click on a category, you’ll see a page with a banner of icons that visually represent the products in that category. It’s slick, and beautifully simple.
Apple accessories are cleverly integrated into the related product areas. For instance, if you’re looking for an Apple pencil or a particular cable, simply select the product that you want to use it with, then click on the Accessories icon. There’s also a handy Compare icon, making it easy to compare different models of a particular product without having to compile a list. The comparison page has links to the service hotline—available seven days a week—and an “Apple Support” website, offering professional input if you’re having trouble choosing.
The product pages are dominated by massive color photographs. You can view the price, tech specs, and delivery options, check “click and collect” availability, add items to your Favorites list, or chat to a sales representative.
Log in using your Apple ID or place and track orders as a guest. Standard delivery and returns are free, and you have 14 days to change your mind and request a refund.
Securely buy consumer electronics online with N26
When you buy consumer electronics online using your N26 bank account, your money and card details are always in safe hands. Because N26 is a 100% mobile, fully licensed bank, we offer the same top-notch security as traditional banks—without the fuss. 3D Secure technology encrypts your personal payment information when you shop online, while two-factor authentication offers extra protection from online fraud.
So when you’re ready to become an fnac member or create a Sony customer account, you can save your card details and place orders with complete peace of mind.
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