New Apple Stores Pose A Channel Challenge
No doubt that Apple's new stores, including the one that just opened in Boston, are cool places to visit with the latest high-technology goods on display. And they'll no doubt be a hit with consumers.
However,channel partners may be less sanguine about the stores' arrival in their communities. Boston reseller Michael Oh, a longtime Apple dealer, discovered the vendor's largest new outlet has opened right down the street from his own facility. To his credit, Oh has adopted the old notion of "when you have lemon, make lemonade." He trying to adjust his business to adapt to the neighborhood newcomer and is trying to develop ways to work together so both can benefit. That's highly commendable, but what choice does he have, really? Apple's going to do what it's going to do and not really worry very much about one local reseller.
Apple's had a long and somewhat rocky history with the channel, and the company's whole retail push is something that is bound to sting what's left of its loyal reseller base. Apple VARs have seen it all before. Apple's technology is cool, its marketing superb, its packaging elegent. However, the vendor can use a little help in maintaining channel relations. Not opening its own stores a stone's throw from its partners would be a good start.