Wal-Mart's new Apple section seen as precursor to Mac sales

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Wal-Mart's move to overhaul the electronics departments in many of its retail stores with Apple-designated shopping areas is being seen as a sign that the mega-retailer is making a pitch to eventually carry Apple's line of Mac personal computers.



The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter began revamping the electronics departments in approximately 3,500 of its stores this week -- including 2,600 Supercenter locations -- in a bid to capitalize on a large slice of the big-screen TV market vacated by Circuit City, which shut down its operations after filing for bankruptcy in November.



As part of the renovations, which should provide for a more spacious and interactive shopping experience, Wal-Mart will also be rolling out specialized in-store boutiques for popular brands such and Nintendo and Apple, similar to the Apple store-within-a-store layouts found in Best Buy retail stores.



Ben Reitzes, an analyst with Barclays Capital, sees the move as a precursor to Wal-Mart extending its reach beyond iPods, iPhones, and accessories to Apple's Mac line of computers.



"We believe Wal-Mart is actively pitching Apple to carry more products," he said. "With Wal-Mart improving its retail displays, we believe that the mega-retailer could eventually earn the right to sell select Mac products without diluting Apple?s brand."



Upon last check, Apple had under 10,000 distribution points for the Mac worldwide, so a move into Wal-Mart would increase Mac exposure significantly. Reitzes also noted that many of Wal-Mart's stores are located in rural areas not near one of Apple's own company stores.



That said, the analyst doesn't see the existing Mac line as a particularly good fit for the discount retailer outside of the $599 Mac mini and $999 MacBook offerings, but said he believes the company is working on more sub-$1000 products that may eventually appeal to Wal-Mart's customer base.



"We have recently stated that Apple could reposition the low-end of it Mac lines to be more affordable as well as eventually introduce an ultraportable touchscreen tablet device as early as this year," Reitzes said. He's likely referring to a couple of AppleInsider reports on those respective matters, including plans for more affordable Macs later this year and a Newton-like web tablet sometime thereafter.



Still, Apple has approached the Wal-Mart demographic with caution over the years, mainly out of concern that the big-box retailer could tarnish the company's reputation if its products aren't displayed and marketed with care.



For example, the electronics maker first tested the waters for iPod sales by providing Wal-Mart only with its budget $99 iPod shuffle. Similarly, it didn't extend iPhone sales to the retailer until the handset had been on the market 18 months and its sales first tested at another big-box retailer, Best Buy.



Best Buy began retrofitting many of its stores with Apple boutiques last year.



"Apple is very particular and exclusive with who sells its Macs (much more so than iPods) and any 'Mac experiment' with Wal-Mart would likely start very gradually via a pilot program at first -- just like Mac sales started at Best Buy," said Reitzes.



If done right, the analyst believes both sides would reap benefits: Apple would see increased distribution while Wal-Mart?s brand would likely see a boost in its attempt to compete with Best Buy as a quality electronics retailer.



"Note that Apple?s Mac sales growth accelerated markedly when it first expanded with Best Buy and more distribution deals may not be far behind if Apple wants to keep pace with the rapidly growing netbook category in its own distinctive way," Reitzes said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 167
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    But they can move boxes.



    And who know what Apple's product landscape is going to be even in a couple of years with mobile devices taking off.
  • Reply 2 of 167
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    does this mean there will be a redneck version of the iMac coming so the rednecks can feel superior now? the rMac? so



    someone needs to dig up that old screenshot of the redneck version of windows





    i bet these are the rumors of the cheaper Macs. Apple is going to make a box with entry level LCD or whatever screens they use like Dell does on it's entry level systems.
  • Reply 3 of 167
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Apple please don't do this.
  • Reply 4 of 167
    I'm an AT&T employee, and this just suprizes me due to the fact that Wal-Marts iPhone sales are just not cutting it, says our region director.



    Plus, are you really gonna buy a mac from somewhere that really has no idea about them?
  • Reply 5 of 167
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    I haven't shopped at Wal-Mart in eight years. It truly is "redneck central", and not somewhere Apple computers need to be sold.
  • Reply 6 of 167
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robotkirby View Post


    I'm an AT&T employee, and this just suprizes me due to the fact that Wal-Marts iPhone sales are just not cutting it, says our region director.



    Plus, are you really gonna buy a mac from somewhere that really has no idea about them?



    Apple typically never just throws Mac in a store. They usually throw their own Apple trained employees in if they're going to sell Macs in a particular store. I doubt Wal-Mart would be any different.
  • Reply 7 of 167
    harmswayharmsway Posts: 14member
    Soon as I saw the headline Wal-Mart may carry Apple computers, I was waiting for all the condescending comments about Wal-Mart and its customers. This is so arrogant, frustrating and unnecessary. As long as Apple?s quality remains high, it should not matter if their products are sold at Wal-Mart. Apple should not try to only cater to snobs, but gain as much market share as possible. I?ve been an Apple fan for years and feel this type of junior high discussion alienates a lot of potential new Apple customers.
  • Reply 8 of 167
    mr.scottmr.scott Posts: 124member
    I truly hope this does not come to pass. No offense too the folks that shop at Wal-Mart, but this is not an image that Apple needs to be associated with. Target, maybe but Wal-Mart is no place for a computer that most people who shop there (and I stress most) can not afford. I believe in getting the best product(s) to all walks of life, but this is just the road Apple does not need to take with their computers.



    S
  • Reply 9 of 167
    slapppyslapppy Posts: 331member
    Thats interesting. I hope the sales people they bring it or that will work this area are not biased with certain companies. I know I'll sound stereotypical here, but just about every Walmart that I've gone too for the electronic sections are pretty much Windows Fanbois. I've always seen them trying to sell the Zune vs the iPod time and time again.
  • Reply 10 of 167
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    If this is true, I think it would mean that Apple will be pushing out less expensive Macs in the near future. This could be a premium netbook (though they?ll never such as such) or the continuing of the polycarb MacBook.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "Note that Apple?s Mac sales growth accelerated markedly when it first expanded with Best Buy and more distribution deals may not be far behind if Apple wants to keep pace with the rapidly growing netbook category in its own distinctive way," Reitzes said.



    The idea that Apple needs to keep up with netbook sales is like saying they need to keep up with $400 notebook sales. If they do a netbook will be at least double the current offerings.
  • Reply 11 of 167
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by harmsway View Post


    Soon as I saw the headline Wal-Mart may carry Apple computers, I was waiting for all the condescending comments about Wal-Mart and its customers. This is so arrogant, frustrating and unnecessary. As long as Apple?s quality remains high, it should not matter if their products are sold at Wal-Mart. Apple should not try to only cater to snobs, but gain as much market share as possible. I?ve been an Apple fan for years and feel this type of junior high discussion alienates a lot of potential new Apple customers.



    Agreed! What difference does it make where you buy your Mac? If you buy an iMac from Wal-Mart does it make the iMac lesser than the same exact iMac purchased from an Apple Retail Store? This is very asinine thinking. Almost like we have a bunch of 10yr olds here posting.
  • Reply 12 of 167
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:

    "Apple is very particular and exclusive with who sells its Macs..."



    ...except for that computer dumpsite known as "Fry's Electronics". Be careful what you wish for indeed (in terms of expanding marketshare).



    I don't think anyone here wants Apple to be as marginalized as, say Bang and Olufson, but it's a delicate walk when reaching out to more of the buying public. I don't think there's any doubt that more affluent customers are generally better educated, and the obverse is true as well. Let's hope that Apple walks this line carefully.
  • Reply 13 of 167
    shavexshavex Posts: 34member
    Seeing this cracks me up! It made me finally realize how much of a monopoly Apple wishes it could be. They are SOOOO great they cannot mingle with other computers they have to have their own "buffet" of computers seperated from all the others with is own special stuff hahahaha.



    Ridiculous.
  • Reply 14 of 167
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Who the hell thought you could class up Wal-Mart?



    Well, there you go.
  • Reply 15 of 167
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    EEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeuuuuuYYYYYYeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwWWWWW W!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Reply 16 of 167
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "Apple is very particular and exclusive with who sells its Macs (much more so than iPods) and any 'Mac experiment' with Wal-Mart would likely start very gradually via a pilot program at first -- just like Mac sales started at Best Buy," said Reitzes.



    I have only ever seen Macs / Apple, presented well in two other stores (iStore - dedicated to Apple products, and John Lewis in the UK) than Apple's own stores. It is depressing to see how bad Apple products look at Best Buy or other stores. There is no focus, the equipment looks out of place - like an after thought, and no-one cares or knows much about it. Wall-Mart / Apple? It seems a very odd mix but maybe Apple's presence there will help the general impression that Apple products are elitist and only for the well off. Which would be a good thing.
  • Reply 17 of 167
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr.Scott View Post


    I truly hope this does not come to pass. No offense too the folks that shop at Wal-Mart, but this is not an image that Apple needs to be associated with. Target, maybe but Wal-Mart is no place for a computer that most people who shop there (and I stress most) can not afford. I believe in getting the best product(s) to all walks of life, but this is just the road Apple does not need to take with their computers.



    S



    So do you have proof of this mythical perception that most wal-mart customers are poor?
  • Reply 18 of 167
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    ...except for that computer dumpsite known as "Fry's Electronics". Be careful what you wish for indeed (in terms of expanding marketshare).



    I don't think anyone here wants Apple to be as marginalized as, say Bang and Olufson, but it's a delicate walk when reaching out to more of the buying public. I don't think there's any doubt that more affluent customers are generally better educated, and the obverse is true as well. Let's hope that Apple walks this line carefully.



    As they must. It's not about Wal-Mart customers, it's about Wal-Mart's approach to retailing. I don't need to describe this to anyone who has actually been in a Wal-Mart store.



    Apple has had their share of bad experiences with mass market retailers. Does anyone remember when Apple products were sold in Sears? They tried this twice, and the results were terrible both times. The products were displayed poorly, and often as not, they didn't even work, not even plugged in a lot of the time. This is the primary reason why Apple started their own chain of retail stores. It's hard to imagine where Apple would be today if they hadn't aggressively taken control of their retail image.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shavex View Post


    Seeing this cracks me up! It made me finally realize how much of a monopoly Apple wishes it could be. They are SOOOO great they cannot mingle with other computers they have to have their own "buffet" of computers seperated from all the others with is own special stuff hahahaha.



    Ridiculous.



    Speaking of ridiculous, this remark could only be made by someone lacking the first clue about retailing.
  • Reply 19 of 167
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Well I suppose everything Apple and WalMArt comes out of CHINA so its only fitting.
  • Reply 20 of 167
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    I have only ever seen Macs / Apple, presented well in two other stores (iStore - dedicated to Apple products, and John Lewis in the UK) than Apple's own stores. It is depressing to see how bad Apple products look at Best Buy or other stores. There is no focus, the equipment looks out of place - like an after thought, and no-one cares or knows much about it. Wall-Mart / Apple? It seems a very odd mix but maybe Apple's presence there will help the general impression that Apple products are elitist and only for the well off. Which would be a good thing.



    Every MacBook/Pro here in NYC at Best Buy is dented or scratched.
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