Astrid T. has had enough of sitting around at home. Since her gym is still closed and she’s been fed up with online Zumba classes for weeks, she wants to do more outdoor sports. Hiking, jogging and occasionally biking are on the mystery shopper’s agenda. So that she also knows how far she has hiked, run or driven, and can measure her pulse and also her progress, Astrid is looking for a smartwatch that can measure all of this. The mystery shopper bought an iPhone 11 last spring. Therefore, an Apple Watch was an obvious fitness companion. Especially since the manufacturer is promoting the wearable as “the future of health on the wrist”. Astrid found it particularly exciting that, according to the manufacturer, the Apple Watch Series 6 makes it possible to measure the oxygen content in the blood. The Apple website also states that the new watch can create an EKG using the wearer’s finger. What stopped the mystery shopper from buying an Apple Watch right away was the price. She found 419 francs quite steep. That is why she asked Digitec Galaxus, Fust, Interdiscount, Media Markt, Melectronics and Microspot whether there were comparable products that were cheaper.
This time, Media Markt won the race for the fastest answer. The mystery shopper only had to wait a few hours for an answer, but it was not very informative. “Only our stationary stores are available for product advice,” wrote Media Markt. Astrid had already received this answer at the beginning of January when she was looking for suitable ANC headphones. But out of curiosity as to whether anything had changed in the meantime due to the renewed store closings in January and February, she tried again.
Fust answered the second fastest. The mystery shopper received her feedback after a day and a half. “The only alternative products that also have an altimeter built in are the Garmin Instinct and the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro,” wrote Fust. The dealer also sent the product information for the two aforementioned Garmin smartwatches in the email attachment. However, these two smartwatches cannot measure the oxygen in the blood or create an ECG. According to Fust employees, these functions are among other reasons why the Apple Watch “is priced in the upper segment”.
After a two-day waiting period, Interdiscount suggested a Garmin device, the Vivoactive 4s, to Astrid as an alternative. The retailer also had two other smartwatches up their sleeves, which, according to the customer service representative, have training functions, pulse measurement as well as height and distance measurement and are compatible with Astrid’s iPhone 11: the Fitbit Sense and the Suunto 3. Astrid received a brief description of each of the three models , in which the advantages of the respective smartwatch were explained, and the link to the respective product. The customer advisor wrote about Fitbit Sense: “This model comes closest to the Apple Watch Series 6.” Because the Fitbit also has an EKG function and can measure the oxygen content in the blood. The latter is also possible with the Garmin watch. Here Interdiscount informed the mystery shopper that in addition to the device there was also a chest strap with which the heart rate could be measured more precisely. According to the customer advisor, however, the Suunto smartwatch has neither an ECG function nor the ability to measure the oxygen content of the blood. The customer advisor also wrote: “Since you use the watch outside, we have also ensured that the screen brightness is high. So that you can see the data more easily from the watch even in direct sunlight.”
Melectronics reacted in a similar way to Media Markt. The dealer wrote to Astrid after two and a half days: “We recommend that you seek advice directly from a branch.” In the event that the mystery shopper did not want that, the customer advisor Astrid referred to the video advice offered and sent her the link to it. “Video just aa”, is also what the current Migros TV campaign attracts.
Almost simultaneously with Melectronics, Microspot replied. The customer advisor also recommended the Fitbit Sense here. She also presented the Garmin Venu Sq and the Garmin Forerunner 45S to Astrid. “With the models Fitbit Sense and Garmin Venue Sq it is possible to call up the oxygen saturation of the blood as well as an EKG”, it said in the email. In addition, the mystery shopper received the links to the respective products from Microspot.
This time Astrid waited the longest for the answer from Digitec Galaxus. Where, with two and a half days, you can’t really speak of a long waiting time. Digitec Galaxus apologized for the “late response” and justified: “At the moment we are receiving a large number of inquiries.” The Digitec-Galaxus employee sent Astrid a link that led her to a selection of three smartwatches: the Garmin Venu Sq, the Garmin Venu and the Apple Watch SE. The customer advisor wrote about the selection: “In terms of functions, they are all pretty much the same, i.e. the activities you want are included and various others.” However, the ECG function and oxygen measurement do not exist on the Apple Watch SE. “With other brands, these functions are only available in the higher-priced segments”, Astrid read on. When she took a closer look at the selection compiled by Digitec Galaxus, she noticed that at least the Garmin Venu can measure the oxygen content.
Astrid was pleased that, according to the retailers, there are some smartwatches that have very similar functions to the Apple Watch Series 6 (including the EKG function and oxygen measurement), but which are not quite as expensive. Although different models were recommended to her in terms of brands, there were two clear favorites: Garmin and Fitbit. The mystery shopper felt she was best advised by Interdiscount. The customer advisor not only sent her the links to the three suggested Apple Watch alternatives, but also summarized the functions of the respective devices. Astrid was disappointed with the feedback from Media Markt and Melectronics. Both dealers did not want to advise them via email. Something that Astrid actually took for granted due to the still tense Corona situation. Melectronics offered Astrid advice via video as an alternative to visiting a branch.