Newegg is one of the companies that we reviewed that is strictly an online marketplace, selling primarily computer accessories, computers, and other hardware. We also found, however, that they offer significant other products categories, including women's jewelry. Often, in the case of the pearl necklace, the prices and quality of goods were significantly better than what a customer might find in the traditional storefront.
We saw that Newegg has a special premiere membership, costing customers $49.99 per year after a 30-day free trial. The premiere membership gives customers access to the following:
- Free expedited shipping (3-days) for free.
- Free returns with no restocking fees (on select items)
- Expedited customer support.
- Special email alerts.
- Exclusive deals.
In the online electronics industry, we didn't find a comparison for Newegg's special online resources. Newegg was primarily a private company for several years. Newegg had its IPO in 2009, after posting several years of profitability.
Newegg is not without controversy. In March of 2010, Newegg accidentally sold several counterfeit Intel processors. Initially, the company claimed that they were demo units. Upon further investigation, Newegg discovered that the units were counterfeit and offered replacement items to customers.
- Great chat feature
- Generous return policy
- Point of sale category
We liked several aspects of Newegg's catalog and online storefront.
- The Newegg Premiere subscription was a great feature. For $49.99, after a 30-day trial period, a client gets expedited free 3-day shipping, exclusive deals, and email alerts.
- Newegg offers several different refurbished laptops and other accessories. We found a "first-generation" white MacBook with 2GB of RAM and Snow Leopard OS for $399.99. Newegg was one of the only companies in the industry that offered refurbished older model computers, essential for the low-end computing user.
- We found that many online retailers in the industry also had a marketplace for individual sellers. Generally, buyers and sellers in the marketplace were covered under Newegg's guarantee.
- UNLOCKED PHONES: We found that NewEgg offered several unlocked products, including the latest model of the iPhone. For some individuals, unlocked phones are great for switching SIM cards, rooting the phone, and doing other modifications that made the cell phone experience more user friendly.
Newegg also has one of the best chat features in the industry. We found that the live chat let us work with making an order on the website. We were able to ask questions about how the marketplace worked, how certain products function (such as the unlocked iPhone 6), and about the return policy. Generally, in the industry, most electronic retailers only offer live chat after you have placed an order.
For an online only storefront, Newegg also has a pretty generous return policy. Whereas, with Best Buy, you must return an item within 15 days, Newegg lets you return an item for a refund, after a 15% restocking fee. Of course, some items, such as advertised items or limited availability items, are not eligible for the standard return policy.
We also liked the Point of Sale category. We found barcode scanners, printers, and other items for small businesses that weren't necessarily available with other online electronics retailers. Best Buy, as well as Fry's, did not offer any point of sale items for businesses. This makes Newegg a viable retailer for businesses that might need an item beyond a printer or document scanner.
We also liked Newegg's mobile app. We downloaded this on the Google Play Store and were able to find products very easily. The mobile web site was also optimized for our tablet device.
- Refurbished models
- Customer issues
- Counterfeit products
There were a few things that we disliked about the Newegg online marketplace. For example, we questioned the efficacy of some of the refurbished models that we saw in the computer category. Some of the refurbished first generation MacBooks, for example, seemed a bit overpriced. These machines, while in good condition, are old, and may not run some of the newest operating systems or software.
We saw that some customers had bad experiences purchasing combo units from Newegg. One client had purchased a motherboard set to build a new computer. The combo included a processor that did not fit on the motherboard. When the customer sent the product back, the processor had not been refunded and labeled as damaged. The customer was given in-store credit when they asked for a refund, but ultimately accepted Newegg's offer.
We were also concerned about the counterfeit Intel processors that Newegg sold in March 2010. The counterfeit issue makes one wonder about the quality control standards at Newegg. Overall, however, Newegg seems to have a high quality assurance standard in both its catalog and its respective marketplaces.
We also looked at Newegg's software selection. When we looked at the various versions of the Windows operating system, we saw that not all versions were downloadable from the website. While Windows 8.1 Pro is more costly on the Microsoft website, clients can download it there. Newegg should work to provide downloadable copies of all of its latest software.
Also, we had some issues with the academic software. Many of the software brands, such as Adobe Professional, were out of stock, and it was unclear when new product would arrive for customers.
The Bottom Line
Here is what we liked about Newegg, leading us to recommend them as an online electronic storefront:
- We liked the Premier membership, as the 3-day expedited free delivery was well worth the $49.99 per year.
- The various models of unlocked phones, especially the latest iPhone 6.
- The customer support experience, as the online chat feature was particularly helpful.
- The generous 30-day return/refund policy, even though there is a 15% restocking fee.
- The variety of products available, including non-electronic items.
Here is what we didn't like about Newegg:
- The return policy and the ambiguity regarding "combo" products and deals.
- The 15% restocking fee on the return policy and lack of refundability/return for certain items.
- The lack of downloadable software for certain products.
- The issue with the counterfeit Intel processors in March 2010.