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Apple to expand Best Buy pilot to 50 stores

post #1 of 32
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Apple Computer said Wednesday it plans to expand a pilot program aimed at testing Macintosh sales at Best Buy to approximately 50 stores nationwide.

The nations No. 1 specialty electronics retailer will stock Mac notebooks, desktops, as well as some accessories and software at each store, Apple executives said during a conference call.

Earlier this spring, Apple began testing sales of its Mac line at 7 Best Buy stores located in the Southern California region, each of which featured a new planogram layout that prominently displayed the systems in a designated area of the retailer's personal computer department.

Apple, which had been evaluating the 7-store pilot, decided just this week on an expansion, executives said during the conference call.

Best Buy had previously indicated that it was prepared to scale the pilot program to the majority of its retail stores if the concept proved to be successful. The retailer operates some 900+ outlets throughout the US, each of which already stocks Apple's iPod digital music players.

Analysts have said a full expansion could generate as much as $400 million in additional Mac sales for the Apple each year.

Meanwhile, Apple said it continues to evaluate a similar pilot program at a handful of Circuit City stores, but had no new information to report.
post #2 of 32
This is very interesting. If more than 50% of mac purchases were made by Windows users in the Mac Stores, Best Buy might do better this time around. The Apple brand is much more known and it will be easier to sell to non Mac people who are used to shopping at Best Buy.
post #3 of 32
This is going to be really good for apple.
I can't wait til the day they have more than half the market share, which would be crazy.
post #4 of 32
Are they going to put them in Best Buys and/or Circuit Cities near Apple Stores? I sure as hell hope not!! I don't think that they will ever be able to provide the customers the expertise that you get from the Apple Store.

As far as the motivation is concerned, unless Apple gives the salespeople superior bribes (oops, did I say that out loud?!, I mean incentives), the Macs will languish on the shelves like they did last time around.
post #5 of 32
I have my doubts about this, unless its restricted to areas that have absolutely NO Apple Stores within say 25 miles or any other Mac dealers of note.

BestBuy and Circuit City employees tend to be underpaid, undermotivated pimply-faced teenagers/college students who don't know much about computers, period, and what they do know tends to run along the lines of, "Well I heard that PCs are better, and its got more games, so you don't want a Mac dude."

It's just not a great user experience. Maybe if the nearest Apple Store regularly sent out employees to CC and BB to help train the McKids on Macs, it might be okay?

.
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post #6 of 32
You don't even need to offer money. Give the sales people a MacBook to keep (so they can play with and and learn about the machine) or offer iPods as a reward for good sales. Example, every 25 Macs sold you get your choice of a 4 Gig Nano.

"Oh, you wanted an eMachine? Have you thought about one of these Macs over here?"
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave

Are they going to put them in Best Buys and/or Circuit Cities near Apple Stores? I sure as hell hope not!! I don't think that they will ever be able to provide the customers the expertise that you get from the Apple Store.

As far as the motivation is concerned, unless Apple gives the salespeople superior bribes (oops, did I say that out loud?!, I mean incentives), the Macs will languish on the shelves like they did last time around.

Here in LA we've got 3 Apple stores within 8 miles, but all the Best Buys and Comp USA stores I've been to sold Macs (the Apple stores too). I haven't seen any at Circuit City.

I believe they provide training or put an actual Apple employee in the store, at least with the program so far.
post #8 of 32
Too bad Best Buy 12% off coupons won't apply... stingy stingy.
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post #9 of 32
I am a little concerned about how this will chop up the money between Apple stores, Best Buys, and smaller "mom'n'pop" computer stores. Around where I live theres a small place called The Computer Lab and a little bit farther theres a Best Buy and then if I'm willing to go accross the entire state or go into RI then I can visit an Apple store. Frankly I prefer The Computer Lab just because of how well they know me there. But is there the possibility of them being pushed out of the way for Best Buy to grow even more?
post #10 of 32
Best Buy is unlikely to be an effective Mac vendor for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they don't currently sell Mac software!!

If you've been to CompUSA, you know what a problem this is - they have multiple aisles of PC software and PS2/XBox/GC games, but a pathetically small Mac software shelf hidden behind the tiny Mac section.

Unless Apple can convince Best Buy to stock a decent quantity of Mac software, it will appear that "there is no software available for the Mac."

Of course, Apple could also include CrossOver or some other Windows compatibility layer, but that is unlikely to produce a satisfactory user experience.

(Come to think of it, even Apple stores themselves seem to be gutting their Mac software sections and replacing them with aisles of iPod junk, but that's another problem...)
post #11 of 32
The weak link in this strategy is the minimum wage, "this one's popular," airhead who is operating at full capacity when pointing you toward the printer isle. Instead of discussing any options with me, the representatives I have met at BestBuy seem to prefer talking with other representatives at BestBuy. When roused from these conversations, they switch to conservation: they say and do whatever takes the least energy. With such reassuring phrases as "I think they're over there..." Even if properly trained, indoctrinated, and incentivized... something tells me the employees I've met at BestBuy simply could not discuss the Mac intelligently, and would fallback on decades-old, untrue generalizations.

On the other hand, lack of genius probably wouldn't stop the determined Mac buyer. If a wave of Mac popularity sweeps the nation... Who knows, maybe the increased availability will help Apple.
post #12 of 32
We have Macs available in a general electrical retailer here in NZ and it's a bit of a crap setup.

The Macs are in a seperate section, integrating them with the Windows PCs as another computer option would spark more interest (hell, even running Windows!)
The kit's just not setup right, no video, music or photo libraries, no sharing over airport not even iChat sessions over airport
The sales staff are just about able to demo very basic stuff, awkwardly, even I know more!

The only thing less effective is sticking them in Mac-only dealers where nobody's going to see them unless they've already made the conscious decision to look

Macs are all about doing useful stuff quickly & easily but poorly set-up retail outlets just revert them back to another PC in the $ per specification war. Surely selling them as a solution (HW+SW) is more important than more outlets

McD (rant over, thanks guys-feel better now)
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post #13 of 32
I saw an iMac setup at my local Best Buy store in El Paso, TX last week. I was very surprised because I heard no announcement of this happening. I guess they got an early start. Funny thing is, the had it booted to Windows XP with a crappy looking background (looked like some kid scibbled with the mouse in Paint). I went to Startup Disk, told it to boot OS X automatically, and restarted. I then, opened Photo Booth, took a silly picture, and left it on the screen.
post #14 of 32
I think just getting the Apple name out there in BB stores willl be good for the company.
post #15 of 32
Hmmm from 7 to 50. I guess that means its doing good but not pheomenal and needs more testing.

krankerz I'm like you when I see a raped mac at Best Buy or Future Shop here in Canada I fix it so it looks like in store.
People always pull almost everything good off the dock, put on a shitty back ground and leave safari saying that is can't display the page because it's not connected to the net, and have something random like address box and google earth open. Can't stand having people think that's what they're like so I fix them.
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post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins

I have my doubts about this, unless its restricted to areas that have absolutely NO Apple Stores within say 25 miles or any other Mac dealers of note.

That hasn't stopped Apple from selling through CompUSA, which in San Francisco are very close to Apple stores. In fact until the store closed recently, CompUSA was in the same mall as the Apple store.
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by blecch

Best Buy is unlikely to be an effective Mac vendor for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they don't currently sell Mac software!!

If you've been to CompUSA, you know what a problem this is - they have multiple aisles of PC software and PS2/XBox/GC games, but a pathetically small Mac software shelf hidden behind the tiny Mac section.

Unless Apple can convince Best Buy to stock a decent quantity of Mac software, it will appear that "there is no software available for the Mac."

Of course, Apple could also include CrossOver or some other Windows compatibility layer, but that is unlikely to produce a satisfactory user experience.

(Come to think of it, even Apple stores themselves seem to be gutting their Mac software sections and replacing them with aisles of iPod junk, but that's another problem...)

Unless Apple is willing put a store in most of the 270 or so metropolitan areas in the United States, Best Buy and Circuit City are there best bets. Users are not going to drive 3 hrs to Chicago to try out a Mac. If I were Apple, I'd contract with them for a separate Mac Space staffed by Apple employees who have to pass a Mac knowledge test.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig

Unless Apple is willing put a store in most of the 270 or so metropolitan areas in the United States, Best Buy and Circuit City are there best bets. Users are not going to drive 3 hrs to Chicago to try out a Mac. If I were Apple, I'd contract with them for a separate Mac Space staffed by Apple employees who have to pass a Mac knowledge test.

Probably the best solution. BestBuy already does something similar with Magnolia HiFi (a store within the BestBuy store)
post #19 of 32
I worked for a couple years as a trainer for one of the first five Magnolia Home Theater stores, which was Best Buy's effort to compete on the ultra premium level. My job was to train the other employees in the store about the advantages of high end home theater and help to give the customers a great experience. It was a true effort by the company to have their employees extremely knowledgeable about the products.

We were one of the test stores with the first mac mini and it was a terrible experience! They had to lock the beautiful unit in a modified protective case like the Creative Suite and Final Cut Suites are locked in, and then they had it connected to the cheapest Westinghouse monitor on the market (because it was white) and then they never could power it on in the mornings, since it was all locked in that ugly case. Needless to say, I honestly dont think that we sold a single one besides the demo unit, which another mac head in the Geek Squad bought for $95!

As far as giving incentives, it would be pretty cool, but apple is NOTORIOUSLY stingy when it comes to incentives for any outside sales force or anyone besides their store and company employees. Our only discount EVER on a iPod product was one time when the nano had come out, they were offering a $20 mail in rebate on the old regular priced ipod minis. Nothing worth considering.

I was happy to sell products that I owned because of the company incentives that they gave us, like Pioneer Elite, they would run a promotion for magnolia once a year where you could get up to three $1500 recievers for around 75% off! Or when other manufacturers like Panamax (high end surge protectors) would blow up the competitors products the we would bring in, to show their superiority and then GIVE us their surge protectors which would retail for $500-1000.

I think there is alot of opportunity that apple has by putting macs back in the Best Buy/Circus City stores, only they have to negotiate to make it more of a Apple Store/CompUSA (Our compUSA makes you feel as if you stepped into a small Apple store) experience where there is a dedicated paid Apple Employee and a space where they can have the whole line on display.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by krankerz

I saw an iMac setup at my local Best Buy store in El Paso, TX last week. I was very surprised because I heard no announcement of this happening. I guess they got an early start. Funny thing is, the had it booted to Windows XP with a crappy looking background (looked like some kid scibbled with the mouse in Paint). I went to Startup Disk, told it to boot OS X automatically, and restarted. I then, opened Photo Booth, took a silly picture, and left it on the screen.

Very reassuring!
post #21 of 32
There seems to be some debate about whether BestBuy customers will be interested in Apple computers. I say that Apple doesn't have to sell a single unit through BestBuy to make the program a success. Why? Because the majority of BestBuy's customers would probably never walk into an Apple Store but will be curious enough to take a look at the Mac if they accidentally run right into the Mac section while shopping for other stuff at BestBuy. Once they see the Mac face-to-face, the trance is brokena seed is planted that, for a certain fortunate percentage of these former Windows dullards, will eventually flower into the purchase of their first Mac.
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcar473 View Post

As far as giving incentives, it would be pretty cool, but apple is NOTORIOUSLY stingy when it comes to incentives for any outside sales force or anyone besides their store and company employees.

This is how Apple is able to retain their premium brand status, while every other brand simply becomes another part of the din and clutter.

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post #23 of 32
We have Mac 'Podia' in our electrical retailers and the staff are hopeless. I overheard one of them saying the best thing about the Mac is that it now has Intel Processors so it can run Windows! - I bit my lip.

There is some value in having a Mac 'presence' but unless they're sold on their own merits they'll just be an expensive Windows machine to most consumers.

McD
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post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post

We have Mac 'Podia' in our electrical retailers and the staff are hopeless. I overheard one of them saying the best thing about the Mac is that it now has Intel Processors so it can run Windows! - I bit my lip.

You should have bitten their lip!

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post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

You should have bitten their lip!

Tried to PM you spammy, not accepting messages?

How about that CLWR?

CHA CHING!
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Tried to PM you spammy, not accepting messages?

How about that CLWR?

CHA CHING!

Holy $#@!!%! I didn't even know it jumped! Wow! I'm glad I got in early enough on that one. FTW!!!

(btw, I don't do PMs...I prefer to communicate on the public boards... )

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post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by alansky View Post

There seems to be some debate about whether BestBuy customers will be interested in Apple computers. I say that Apple doesn't have to sell a single unit through BestBuy to make the program a success. Why? Because the majority of BestBuy's customers would probably never walk into an Apple Store but will be curious enough to take a look at the Mac if they accidentally run right into the Mac section while shopping for other stuff at BestBuy. Once they see the Mac face-to-face, the trance is brokena seed is planted that, for a certain fortunate percentage of these former Windows dullards, will eventually flower into the purchase of their first Mac.

It would good for more than just the switchers. Before the Madison store opened I had to drive three hours to Des Moines, Chicago, or Milwaukee to so much as see a Mac. In other words, I have to plan my entire day and spend $50 in gas money for half an hour at the Apple store. Madison is better, but still pretty inconvenient. Best Buy is two minutes away.
post #28 of 32
Backtomac-

Wow. CLWR closed at 33.30! Hurray!

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post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Backtomac-

Wow. CLWR closed at 33.30! Hurray!

Booya, skee daddy!
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

You should have bitten their lip!

...to rip my shirt off revealing an Apple full back-tatoo and give him a 'Red Dragon' kiss before he could say anything else...


...but I resisted. Probably not a good look.
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post #31 of 32
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post #32 of 32
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Originally Posted by GregoryNP View Post

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Supported Operating Systems:

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Odd how some retailers decide not to support the fastest growing, affluent customer base on the web.

McD
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