Frys.com first store was 20,000 feet and the first management team consisted of John Fry, Randy Fry, Dave Fry, and Kathy Kolder. The company is privately held and all the founders are managing the company’s daily operations. Fry’s prides itself on being the first Silicon Valley one-stop-electronics-shop for the savvy hi-tech business professional. There are over 50,000 items within each store and many more are available on the website. There are more than 30 stores in the United States, with the bulk of them being on the West Coast. The stores are different sizes, with the largest one being over 180,000 square feet.
- Great reputation
- Variety of products
- Customer service
Here are the things about Fry's that we liked:
- Reputation: Fry's has a great reputation as a privately held company. This family-owned business was started by a group of brothers who are still involved in the daily operations of the company.
- Products: Fry's has PCs, Apple Computers, iPads, Smart Tablets, e-readers, and even appliances. There are also software products, audio items, and toys/games available for customers. We felt like Fry's had one of the broadest selections of categories in this industry.
- Shipping and Customer Service: Fry's has a truly global reach, with both domestic and international shipping. Some items on the website ship for free, while others have shipping starting at $1.99. Also, there is a 30-day return policy, as well as a 30-day price matching policy.
Fry's also makes it very easy to pay for your purchase. While they don't take any online payment such as PayPal, we found that they were set up to do money transfers, money orders and personal checks (if you purchase an item via mail), and gift cards or Fry's credit cards. They also make it very easy to do business with tax-exempt businesses.
One aspect of their product line that was beneficial was their items for existing electronics. We found that we could find batteries for most MP3 players and other accessories. Fry's also offered a barebones computer system for customers that might want to purchase something basic to start with. It's also possible to purchase electronics from Fry's in order to create a custom computing system.
We also felt like they had a selection of Apple computing products similar to that of the Apple Store. We looked at some of their computers, especially their MacBook Pro 15" Retina. With other retailers, such as Best Buy, we only found a few Apple models. Fry's has the latest MacBooks and iMacs available for customers, offering the newest systems that Apple has to offer.
- Lacking software
- Support for Apple customers
- Lots of items are sold out
Overall, we felt like Fry's was a great company to do business with. There were a couple of things, however, that we felt that they could do better on. These are listed as follows:
- We would like to see more software available their website. For example, there weren't many Adobe products to choose from. Many of the standard products sold for graphic designers via Adobe were not available through their website. Also, some of their software titles are only available in stores.
- Support for Apple Computers: While we loved the number of Apple computers available from Fry's, we had some qualms about the limited number of Mac accessories that were available. There were only a few keyboards and mice available from Fry's, whereas the Apple website had a lot more.
- The availability of certain items was questionable. Due to the holidays, many items were sold out. For example, we found a great 16 GB Kindle Fire for $199. However, due to the high demand of this item, it was sold out. If an item is sold out on the website, then perhaps it should be removed from the catalog.
The most frequent complaint involved issues with products/service. Many customers had a hard time with the turnaround time on their repair. Other customers had an issue with trying to get in touch with a manager over their repair. Even though Fry's has a great reputation, better customer service can help address these complaints.
The Bottom Line
We recommend purchasing electronics from Fry's without reservation. Here is what we liked about Fry's:
- A family-owned business with a great reputation: Fry's has stores in most major areas in the country so it is easy to pick up an online purchase. There are also easy domestic shipping options to all 48 contiguous states.
- Free Delivery on Many Items: On the website, Fry's often indicates that they have free online shipping with a little logo next to the item.
- The high number and variety of products available: Fry's offers computing brands from every major brand name, from Apple to HP. They also sell the Kindle Fire, iPad, and other accessories.
- The 30-day price matching guarantee and the 30-day return policy are among the most generous in the industry.
Here are some things that Fry's could improve upon:
- The number of software products that are available on the website in comparison to the store, as well as an increase in the number of software types available (Adobe CS was not included on the website).
- Some customer service improvement might be warranted by the complaints we have read.
- When items become unavailable, they should be removed from the website. Also, for high demand items, Fry's should increase their inventory in order to get rid of the "one item per household rule," which we saw with the 16 GB Kindle Fire.