advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Apple bites.

Saw an Ad Age piece on how Microsoft is taking on Apple at retail. AS FIRST REPORTED HERE. (Well, okay, it was more like photo of an unfinished Windows Cafe in Paris.) But it reminded me of Apple’s presence in Best Buy last time I was there. I can see the argument for Apple to extend their front into PC territory, and so trying to catch some of the overflow traffic from the PC section in Best Buy addresses that.

This is different from being in CompUSA retail locations when they were all over the country and Apple was selling through them. (They still have 27 brick and mortar stores.) Then, the expectation fit because it was strictly computers.

When you see it Best Buy though, you can’t help but wonder if it doesn’t dilute the Mac experience a little to be in that big box environment with washers and dryers. That image is not from the location I was at, but would’ve like to see Apple retain it’s bright color scheme and stand out against the heavier black and blue of most Best Buy locations.

Besides, I think a different type of shopper is hitting Apple than Best Buy. Look at the shoppers in that picture. Not quite who hits up an Apple location. Not that I’m judging. Much. Sure, you have some of the flip-flop and t-shirt crowd that wonders into real Apple stores, but the pristine matte aluminum environment washes away all customer sins. Not so at Best Buy where all are welcome. I said “all.”

The staff didn’t feel very Apple-like either. In a regular store, you have several Mac Experts floating around, and they’re easy to spot. While it’s impossible to replicate Apple’s retail experience completely (like having an appointment scheduled at the genius bar), I just wonder if the push into Best Buy takes a little luster off the... bite out of... (insert other cliché please).


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see what you’re saying, but wonder if the brand image and even shopping experience are overhyped – or at least given more credit than is due by us advertising/marketing types. These days, people are driven by price. And while they are driven by the brand, they ultimately want the product and what it offers. So if someone wants a Mac, and they can get it at a decent price, they won’t care if it’s purchased from a Mac store, Best Buy or some dude’s car trunk.

At this point, most folks are familiar with the Best Buy experience. We know it’s more hype than reality, and the Geek Squad is essentially comprised of ex-Gap employees with basic tech skills. So customers will forgive the surroundings if they can get the Mac they want at a decent price.

The other thing to consider is the basic fact that Mac wants to sell its shit to everyone they can reach. So they’re more than willing to place their products in Best Buy and CompUSA. Hell, they’d probably feel fine going into Radio Shack, Sears, Staples and anyone else who would take them. At the end of the day, Apple just wants to make profit too. And its products have gone beyond the early adopters. So now it’s time to reach the masses. The challenge will be working with more outlets while maintaining some type of cost control – otherwise, the Best Buys and other discount chains will ultimately put the Apple stores out of business.