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Best Buy may expand Mac pilot program

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Best Buy is prepared to expand a new Mac pilot program to additional retail stores if the concept proves to be successful, a couple of Wall Street analysts say.

The nation's No. 1 consumer electronics chain last week began evaluating a new planogram layout that prominently displays Apple's Mac line in a designated area of its personal computer department.

For the time being, the retailer is testing the program at just seven Best Buy locations in the Southern California region. Some 900+ remaining Best Buy outlets traditionally stock only Apple's iPod digital music players, and to a lesser extent, Mac mini desktop computers.

However, Best Buy has indicated that it is prepared to scale the Mac pilot program "rapidly" if it proves to be a hit, according to Steve Lidberg and David Niederman, two analysts with Pacific Crest Securities. They say a fortified relationship with the electronics retailer will present Apple with the opportunity to bulk up on its domestic retail presence.

According to the analysts, Macs are currently featured in about 650 storefronts throughout the United States. This includes 141 Apple-owned retail stores, as well as 225 Apple store-within-a-store boutiques inside CompUSA locations.

The opportunity to leverage Best Buy's exposure "could prove especially useful if supply-chain issues are worked out in the second half of 2006 and [Apple] is able to supply ample product to meet demand," Lidberg and Niederman say.

Although Apple's Macs are often touted as premium-priced computers aimed at graphics professionals, the analysts believe the recent proliferation of digital media sources amongst home users has raised consumers' expectations for new personal computer systems. And the Mac appears to have the advantage.

"Numerous industry 'shoot-outs' have compared the refreshed Intel-based Macs with their Windows equivalents and found Apple machines to perform equal to or better than competitors with costs roughly equivalent," they said. "A recent comparison of Apple's 17-inch flagship MacBook pro with a similarly equipped Dell XPS M1710 shows that the Dell machine costs $3199, compared with $2799 for the Mac."

Source: CNet News.com | Best Buy Mac Pilot Photo Gallery

Additionally, the analysts point out that Apple bundles its iLife '06 digital lifestyle suite of applications with each consumer Mac it sells. They estimate third-party Windows equivalents would cost around $360 -- assuming $40 for Catwalk Music Creator (GarageBand), $70 for Microsoft Frontpage (iWeb), $90 for Adobe Photoshop Elements (iPhoto) and $80 each for Pinnacle Studio (iMovie) and Roxio Creator (iDVD).

So far, Apple's digital strategy appears to be working. According to the retailers surveyed by Pacific Crest, an "increasing" number of Windows switchers are migrating to the Mac platform."

These consumers are said to be making the switch for variety of reasons, such as the Mac's dual boot option, improved stability and security. But they also dig the "aesthetic appeal" of Apple's products.
post #2 of 30
First poster, coool....

All I can say to this news is, its about time...
post #3 of 30
This all sounds very good, but we need some numbers so that we don't argue this back and forth endlessly.
post #4 of 30
Great news. Keep getting those additional retailers lined up... and I know there are some knowledgable geeks that work at Best Buy (not all of them, mind you), and those few surely appreciate the advantages of Apple's offerings.

Also... "The nations No. 1 consumer electronics chain last week began evaluating a new planogram layout"....

The word "planogram" is analagous to "layout" as far as store set-ups goes, so using both words is redundant is redundant.

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post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
Great news. Keep getting those additional retailers lined up... and I know there are some knowledgable geeks that work at Best Buy (not all of them, mind you), and those few surely appreciate the advantages of Apple's offerings.

What do they have to say about selling Macs? Or haven't you had a chance to speak to them about it yet?

Because, while this sounds nice, if the sales staff gives it the finger, as they always seem to do, then it won't go anywhere. Do you know if these guys get commission on sales? If they do, how would that affect their looking at a Mac sale, which is going to be, on average, more expensive then the PC sale (more commission)?
post #6 of 30
Yep, that's the problem, melgross.

John or Jane Customer is likely walking into the Best Buy computer section dry. Billy Bestbuy is likely going to sell a Windows PC, and John or Jane will just go along with it.

Customers flock to Apple Stores because they're interested in Apple. They don't have to be existing Apple owners, but they're actively seeking more information about Apple products.

Customers flock to Best Buy because they're just browsing or are dead set on buying a new something, be it a computer or a DVD.
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel_Monkey
Yep, that's the problem, melgross.

John or Jane Customer is likely walking into the Best Buy computer section dry. Billy Bestbuy is likely going to sell a Windows PC, and John or Jane will just go along with it.

Customers flock to Apple Stores because they're interested in Apple. They don't have to be existing Apple owners, but they're actively seeking more information about Apple products.

Customers flock to Best Buy because they're just browsing or are dead set on buying a new something, be it a computer or a DVD.

This has always been the difficulty. Unless the store sets up the Mac section with sales people who have been trained for it, and who believe in it, it doesn't work well. After all, the computer salespeople are part of that 95% who use, and probably, like PC's. They don't want to sell Mac's.
post #8 of 30
If Best Buy supports these displays as poorly as they support the iPod displays then this will be yet another flop in the long, sad history of Best Buy trying to sell Macs.

I can predict it now:

Me: "So what can you tell me about this white Apple laptop here?"
BBY Guy: "Oh, I don't know. I really don't know much about these. You know, it's a Mac, so they're pretty cool."
Me: "How do they compare with, like, an HP or something like that?"
BBY Guy: "Well, these don't have Windows on them, but you can do the internet and stuff. You can put Office on it, but we don't sell that here, so..."
Me: "Oh, well what's your best deal on a Windows laptop?"

Game over.
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post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
If Best Buy supports these displays as poorly as they support the iPod displays then this will be yet another flop in the long, sad history of Best Buy trying to sell Macs.

I can predict it now:

Me: "So what can you tell me about this white Apple laptop here?"
BBY Guy: "Oh, I don't know. I really don't know much about these. You know, it's a Mac, so they're pretty cool."
Me: "How do they compare with, like, an HP or something like that?"
BBY Guy: "Well, these don't have Windows on them, but you can do the internet and stuff. You can put Office on it, but we don't sell that here, so..."
Me: "Oh, well what's your best deal on a Windows laptop?"

Game over.

It would be nice if they even said that they were cool. More likely, they'll shrug, and say; "It's a Mac, I don't know much about it. You really interested in that?".
post #10 of 30
The program will ONLY be successful if Apple has a specialist dedicated to selling the machines. The average Best Buy sales associate lacks the knowledge to push the Mac.

If the pilot lacks the Apple specialist, it has FAILURE written all over it.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by amac4me
The program will ONLY be successful if Apple has a specialist dedicated to selling the machines. The average Best Buy sales associate lacks the knowledge to push the Mac.

If the pilot lacks the Apple specialist, it has FAILURE written all over it.

How many times does Apple have to get its nose bloodied by Best Buy before it realizes they DO NOT WANT to sell Macs there? Whose idea was this, anyway? Did Apple approach Best Buy or did Best Buy come calling on Apple.

This has FAILURE written all over it no matter what kind of display or sales person is on site. If a trained Apple specialist is on site they will be hated by the pimple faced teenagers who man the PC displays. The Apple displays will be sabotaged. The Macs themselves will be vandalized. This will not work in any way.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by lkrupp
This has FAILURE written all over it no matter what kind of display or sales person is on site. If a trained Apple specialist is on site they will be hated by the pimple faced teenagers who man the PC displays. The Apple displays will be sabotaged. The Macs themselves will be vandalized. This will not work in any way.


Why would they be any more prone to vandalization than a PC?




Best Buy salespeople do not work on commission. So if they're told that they need to sell macs, they will. The previous report mentioned that there was an Apple representative training the employees, I think the success of this truly hinges on that representative's ability to convince the BB salespeople that Macs really are the better option and how to sell them properly.

I think this would be a bold move for best buy though. That picture looked like the Macs were in a very prominent position. They'd have to sell well to maintain a position like that.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by lkrupp
How many times does Apple have to get its nose bloodied by Best Buy before it realizes they DO NOT WANT to sell Macs there? Whose idea was this, anyway? Did Apple approach Best Buy or did Best Buy come calling on Apple.

This has FAILURE written all over it no matter what kind of display or sales person is on site. If a trained Apple specialist is on site they will be hated by the pimple faced teenagers who man the PC displays. The Apple displays will be sabotaged. The Macs themselves will be vandalized. This will not work in any way.

Well, at least on the PCs, Little Henry Hacker can upload the latest warez and virii from his handy thumb-drive onto the floor models.

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post #14 of 30
The sales associates at Best Buy will push which ever they are told to. It all depends on which product makes more profit for the company overall... If selling an HP brings in $300, and selling a Mac brings in $200, they will push the HP, and let the Mac get dusty.
It's all about making money for the company.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by OllieWallieWhiskers
The sales associates at Best Buy will push which ever they are told to. It all depends on which product makes more profit for the company overall... If selling an HP brings in $300, and selling a Mac brings in $200, they will push the HP, and let the Mac get dusty.
It's all about making money for the company.

It's also about personalities. Upper management can't control what happens on the sales floor. If the salespeople don't like Mac's, it will be difficult to get them to sell them.
post #16 of 30
Best Buy has, by far, the worst customer service in all of retail, and 99 out of times, I would be willing to bet that 99 out of 100 cutomers that have shopped there would agree. Just look at the store's rating on Price Grabber's site, and read the user reviews (Best Buy is towards the bottom of the page):

Price Grabber

For a retail chain this size, these ratings and reviews are unacceptable. This is supposedly the best electronics retailer in the country, yet no one is happy with them.

I have benn there a few times before looking at computers, and all the dumbass sales people continue to say Macs are bad, they can't do anything, etc. They will fail miserably selling the Macs.
post #17 of 30
sorry, here is the proper url:

http://www.pricegrabber.com
/p__Apple_iPod_nano_4GB_MP3_Player_Black
,__11612192/search=ipod

(Copy and paste it)
post #18 of 30
something about the mac section contrasting what looks to be surplus 2002 computers and CRTS really stikes me. Shame most people will still be like "this ones only $700! Apple are too expensive" and buy that 2 year old celeron with a CRT at a massively inflated price point.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider

Additionally, the analysts point out that Apple bundles its iLife '06 digital lifestyle suite of applications with each consumer Mac it sells. They estimate third-party Windows equivalents would cost around $360 -- assuming $40 for Catwalk Music Creator (GarageBand), $70 for Microsoft Frontpage (iWeb), $90 for Adobe Photoshop Elements (iPhoto) and $80 each for Pinnacle Studio (iMovie) and Roxio Creator (iDVD).

This is true, sort of, but iPhoto does not equal Photoshop Elements. iPhoto = Picasa by Google, which is free (and maybe better than iPhoto). Elements equals only Elements, which is why I have it on my Mac.
post #20 of 30
I don't know too much about BestBuy, but as the largest retailer, I think it is worth the experiment again. Some big retailers will keep product that sells, but corporate office v.p.'s don't like to work with computer manufacturers (ie Apple) who are big pains in the neck when it comes to delivering products in an equitable way.

I do know that the Fry's Electronic nearby that has a great area of Macs that attract a fair number of customers at least looking. That in itself is positive. The staff are very hit or miss regarding help, but I did find one guy who liked Macs. The main problem is that they are not used to Mac-geeks who know stuff so they seem to act in a unsophisticated way. But Fry's has a big Mac software area and they love to hang those Think Different Banners.
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post #21 of 30
Bestbuy will never push apple stuff for one reason and one reason only.

They personally don't make enough money off of it.

I used to work at a bestbuy and I wanted to buy a mac mini on employee discount, which a little above scale(being what bestbuy gets it from apple for). A lot of the time the employee discounts would make it more expensive than buying it at full price and at best I'd save like max 2 dollars.

I priced it out for the mini, the imac, the ibook, and the powerbook back then.

Bestbuy makes next to no profit margin on apple stuff because apple sells it to them at such high prices. That's why bestbuy corporation doesn't give a crap about apple.
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post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by ecking
Bestbuy will never push apple stuff for one reason and one reason only.

Bestbuy makes next to no profit margin on apple stuff because apple sells it to them at such high prices. That's why bestbuy corporation doesn't give a crap about apple.

That is true! ... to an extent!

The Apple model for product pricing and margins is not the market norm. They don't treat computers as commodities in the same way as traditional companies like HP, which force low supply costs and a bigger margin for the middle man. Dell made its killing by eliminating the middle man in that system. Apple runs computer manufacturing and sales like Bose makes music systems with high end components (that is arguable of course), little profit to the middle man and most profit to Apple.

Where this business model works is in the add-on market. Just like with iPods and XBoxes, it is about giving customers all of those extras once they purchase the big ticket item. And that is why Best Buy COULD do well with Macs and probably why they are even trying it out. If they can make a mini version of an Apple store in one aisle, they can show off the Macs, sell enough to pay for the shelf space and reap the big money on printers, BT doohickies and 5-button mice! That may not seem like much, but look at the iPod economy and you'll see it is huge.

And the great thing about Apple products for them, is if the BestBuy store is in a market with few Apple Store or resellers and they sell one Mac to someone, give them decent service so they have a reason to return and upgrade - they have a customer for life! If I were BestBuy, that is the gamble I would be making. Besides as Dell has pushed other manufacturers out of business and as Sony and HP have pushed other venders off the shelves there is less competition and to be honest product on all of those shelves that used to have such a huge diversity of products. In short I believe shelf space in the computer section of most big electronics stores isn't as expensive as it used to be. Can anyone who works in one confirm that or am I just whistling out my eustachian tube?!?!

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...&ct=image&cd=2

Commoditization has created a much less diverse ecology out there and fewer species can survive. They either have to get big and bad like Dell or smart and nimble like Apple. BestBuy would do well to keep the habitat friendly for both.
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post #23 of 30
I agree with the majority of posters that feel this will be a failure. Look at CompUSA. CompUSA is and always has been very poor. Best Buy, even for PCs, has terrible service. It's generally a bunch of teenagers with attitudes that care more about what time they're off then advising customers with their purchases. I live in California, and I can tell you this behavior is commonplace. I guarantee that they will do nothing to help Apple by promoting Macs. A PC is much easier to sell for them.

Having said that, I'm going to be one of those that goes to Best Buy and fixes the Macs to make sure they work! I do this at CompUSA all the time. It's a shame though that those who sell these products can't even seem to get them working so users who are interested can test them.
post #24 of 30
When the Lafayette Indiana store set up a Mac Mini about a year ago, the f**kers TOOK OFF the keyboard and mouse and put it in screensaver scrolling through photos of the Geeksquad dorks making faces!

NO JOKE!
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post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
When the Lafayette Indiana store set up a Mac Mini about a year ago, the f**kers TOOK OFF the keyboard and mouse and put it in screensaver scrolling through photos of the Geeksquad dorks making faces!

NO JOKE!

also...when I asked about it, I was told that the KB and mouse were sold sepratly so they would not be displayed, so as not to confuse people, I then asked if it included the Sony monitor or Belkin security lock that were part of the display; he said NO and walked away nervously...
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post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
also...when I asked about it, I was told that the KB and mouse were sold sepratly so they would not be displayed, so as not to confuse people, I then asked if it included the Sony monitor or Belkin security lock that were part of the display; he said NO and walked away nervously...

I saw the same shit at a local bestbuy, except to make matters worse they mounted the mini on a shelf above the monitor and to the side! Even I couldn't figure out where the hell the continuous screen saver was coming from at first. Retards.
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post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by MacGregor
That is true! ... to an extent!

The Apple model for product pricing and margins is not the market norm. They don't treat computers as commodities in the same way as traditional companies like HP, which force low supply costs and a bigger margin for the middle man. Dell made its killing by eliminating the middle man in that system. Apple runs computer manufacturing and sales like Bose makes music systems with high end components (that is arguable of course), little profit to the middle man and most profit to Apple.

Where this business model works is in the add-on market. Just like with iPods and XBoxes, it is about giving customers all of those extras once they purchase the big ticket item. And that is why Best Buy COULD do well with Macs and probably why they are even trying it out. If they can make a mini version of an Apple store in one aisle, they can show off the Macs, sell enough to pay for the shelf space and reap the big money on printers, BT doohickies and 5-button mice! That may not seem like much, but look at the iPod economy and you'll see it is huge.

And the great thing about Apple products for them, is if the BestBuy store is in a market with few Apple Store or resellers and they sell one Mac to someone, give them decent service so they have a reason to return and upgrade - they have a customer for life! If I were BestBuy, that is the gamble I would be making. Besides as Dell has pushed other manufacturers out of business and as Sony and HP have pushed other venders off the shelves there is less competition and to be honest product on all of those shelves that used to have such a huge diversity of products. In short I believe shelf space in the computer section of most big electronics stores isn't as expensive as it used to be. Can anyone who works in one confirm that or am I just whistling out my eustachian tube?!?!

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...&ct=image&cd=2

Commoditization has created a much less diverse ecology out there and fewer species can survive. They either have to get big and bad like Dell or smart and nimble like Apple. BestBuy would do well to keep the habitat friendly for both.

Excellent point! Lets hope bestbuy has smartened up and realized this!
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post #28 of 30
Overall I'm excited about this because I don't live near an Apple store but I do live near a BB store so it will make it easier for me to get my hands on Apple stuff.
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

The sales associates at Best Buy will push which ever they are told to. It all depends on which product makes more profit for the company overall... If selling an HP brings in $300, and selling a Mac brings in $200, they will push the HP, and let the Mac get dusty.
It's all about making money for the company.

In response to this last comment I beg to differ. I am new to the company and even though I lack apple knowledge I wouldn't hesitate to ask a few of these kids for information. I've gotten to know these kids who work there and many are very knowledgeable in the area of mac's .Most who are out to buy an apple product have already done thier research and know what they want and no matter what a sales associate says they would never detour to a PC over a mac in the few weeks i've worked there the training has been in ensuring the customers needs are met by finding out what thier lifestyles are and fitting thier purchase to thier needs NOT the companys need for profit they are big enough to succeed without pursuading customers to buy things they don't need which causes returns and unhappy customers and loss in profit.So if a few of you have had bad experiences due to the lack of reading your service contracts and ASKING the proper questions don't blame it on the kids, I personally build rapport with my customers ask what THEY want and by thier needs make a suggestion and yes I offer service because I believe in them i've used them from many retailers and have always had a great experence because I read what my service covers and DON'T blame others for my mistake of not asking questions .I also have worked directly with APPLE reps and it is thier responsibility to ensure the store's employee's are trained to know what the new products entail and what thier capabilities are.So I am truely sorry for your unfortunate experience but instead of slamming others why don't you try taking the blame for your own mistakes instead of bad mouthing others for your lack in judgement, do your RESEARCH before you buy thats what the internet is for then make your purchase from your own perspective if you don't feel comfortable with purchasing from bestbuy go to an apple store.Good luck in your future purchases and please do yourself a favor and READ the brochure's that they have on the service before you buy not everyone has a computer brain and can remember every detail that a service contract covers thats why best buy has it in writing and has it displayed through out the store for you to grab and read up on it. Take care.
post #30 of 30
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