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BW: Apple, Respect Your Resellers

updated 07:05 am EDT, Thu June 17, 2004

Apple: respect resellers

BusinessWeek columnist Alex Salkever says that "Apple must craft a plan to . First, it needs to be honest and admit that Apple stores are hurting the resellers' business and that not all of them will survive. Second, Apple has to treat those that do hang on as integral parts of its organization and sales effort. Finally -- and most crucial -- Apple needs to ease the pain by coming up with programs to encourage these longtime partners to help it accomplish goals it can't achieve on its own."




by MacNN Staff

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  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Don't know if that't ri

    I personally don't know if small resellers are the answer for Apple and I don't know how much Apple should consider them. I have on visited a reseller once (small reseller that it) and I found everything way over priced (yes, even for Apple products). I don't think Apple as given up on the concept of gaining market share, but I think that will not be improved by small resellers. I am seeing a more educated sales staff filling the CompUSA chains, I have watched Apple develop and implement a national chain retail store. Granted that these small sellers where there during the fall of Apple pre '98, but they where not expanding the brand, they were serving a dwindling Mac populous not bringing new users to the platform. Most of my purchases have been through online resellers where I could actually find what I wanted for one and then find the best service and price. Apple needs stores, but it needs them with a clear focus and clear vision. I do feel for the resellers that have hung on all those years just to be pushed out by Apple when the threat of the disappearance of the platform has subsided and the future of it has so much potential. But as a user, I want the platform to grow and I don't believe small resellers serve that interest as well as large, central, Apple controlled retail strategy. Just my two cents from observation.

  1. cebritt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    No money in hardware

    As a former Apple VAR, I can personally tell you that the small margins on computers and hardware are not worth the hassles of dealing with Ingram, Tech Data, and Merisel. VARs are much better off buying computers from the mail order channel and charging for delivery, setup, and training. That way, VARs can charge for every minute of their time. If you sell the computer and something goes wrong, customers expect you to fix it for free. I've actually had customers ask me, "Won't Apple pay you for your time?"

    FWIW, Mr. Dell got to be number one by doing his best to put every PC reseller, large and small, out of business.

  1. fashizzle

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Here's why Apple Store'

    Regardless of your opinion on the indy reseller, one thing is certain - Apple is hurting the market by limiting the products that they sell and stock on their shelves. They don't even special order. What do you think those PCI slots in your Macs are for? How about the full range of of really cool products that are made for Mac, but aren't sold in the Apple Store? Many indy resellers had that stuff in stock, or could AT LEAST order it. Wanted a Sonnet CPU upgrade for that old 7500? Apple ain't gonna get it for you. How about a Radeon 7000 PCI video card for that old B&W G3? Nope, Apple won't carry that either. Sure, you could buy online, but not everyone shops that way. If you are a company developing those kind of upgrade or add-on products for the Mac platform, the reseller channel has been vital to your business strategy. When they go away, so does your damn sales channel. To make up for the lost business, they wind up selling on their own website and compete with their own channel. I wouldn't buy certain pieces of critical hardware without seeing or touching it, like a RAID for Mac, or a Xerox laser, or a Miglia PCI TV tuner card, etc. So online sales usually can suck it on that. Mac upgrades suffer as the market that carrys them dwindles, and it hurts Mac users. The Apple Store contributes heavily to that. It would be one thing if the Apple Store picked up the slack from the resellers, but they aren't. CLEARLY they aren't. Go into any Apple Store, and tell me how many machines have ProTools loaded on them to demo. Right.

  1. Dame Scribble

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    wow..

    And here I thought the Apple stores were a good thing.
    When there were no Apple stores, people bitched about that. Now they are in existence, people b**** about that.
    How odd.
    I know the resellers here aren't hurtin'. In fact, Springboard Media and Bundy both seem to do excellent business. Granted, those stores are located in downtown Philly while the Apple store is in King of Prussia, but most people have a car to get out to KoP.
    But then again...
    Maybe Apple really is thinking that it can sell its own computers better than anyone else can (what's wrong with that?) But I wonder if the resellers think that Apple owes them something.....any reseller care to shed some light?
    -d.

  1. brianb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    RE:Here's Why Apple Stor

    Why doesn't apple store carry all of those parts you ask.

    The first answer is Floor space. Apple has designed a look. The look is to make you feel warm and welcome when you walk into an Apple Store. Walk into a MicroCenter or something and most ordinary people feel overwhelmed by what they see. If they walk in and want RAM but see 36 diffrent packages they will probally pick the wrong one first. (Why not just ask a sales guy? Because 1 it makes them feel dumb or 2 they have been burned in the past). The Apple store you walk in and see categories of stuff. You want to do Digital Photography.. Look there is an area with 3 or 4 computers that says Photos above it. Want an iPod ohh look at the accessory display right next to it. So its all in an attempt to make the average Joe feel better about the experience.

    The Second Part of why they don't carry all of those parts is that the types of parts you see on the slef are User instalable. A end user can not put in a new ATI graphics card into thier system without voiding the warranty on the box. So instead you see a lot of USB and Firewire devices on the shelf.

    Third Apple stocks more than you see on the self. A lot of what you maybe looking for will be stocked in the back rooms. Why? So that it doesn't clutter the floor and overwhelem people.

    And Finally the apple store is a consumer store. Most everyday consumers buy a computer and never add anything to it. Sure the Apple Genius may add ram to the system before a customer leaves with the system but as far as adding on to the system thats as far as consumers typically go.

    In regards to the fact that who would buy a RAID without seeing it, or Pro Tools without using it. Those are Professional Tools that you are talking about. Apple thas Pro Video and Pro Audio Resellers for that. These companies are setup to install those types of Pro Level devices. Most of them also have demos available to work with before you purchase so you can get your hands on the systems and see how they work.

    Overall don't condem a Consumer store because they don't stock Pro level parts that 98% of thier patrons wouldn't buy or don't sell parts that if the end user installed them would void the warranty on the computer.
    Also don't condem them because you can't buy a custom order off the floor. This is a very odd statement because if you could by custom off the floor wouldn't that then be a STOCK item? You can order custom machines but when you order custom they use a web form and then have it shipped to your House.

  1. Orbit

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    cip

    video cards are considered "customer installable parts" and can be put in a computer without voiding the warranty. same goes for memory, hard drive, airport, and pci cards. this, of course, only pertains to desktop machines... laptops can only have airport and memory upgrades performed by customers.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Tough luck

    I don't have an Apple Store in my area. There are quite a few Apple resellers, and only one good one. But even that one doesn't advertise. I hear ads on the radio, see them in the newspapers, for mom & pop OEM PC shops. They work on razor thin margins and yet they help advertise and grow the PC platform. Where are the Apple resellers' ads? Nowhere to be heard or seen.

    Maybe if the resellers did their job, they'd have lots of loyal customers and wouldn't be in the mess they are in. They brought it on themselves.

  1. techguysteve

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re:wow

    Actually that's a pretty interesting viewpoint "apple resellers believe apple owes them something". The reality is Apple believes we resellers owe them something. They tend to do business the way they treat their customers, we have something you want so we can do pretty much as we please and you'll still want it. Before you jump on the "well don't sell them crybaby" bandwagon, I do like Apple products and we will continue to sell them. We take the good with the bad with Apple. There are no Apple stores to compete with in our area so there's no direct competition for me to comment on that side of things.

  1. z10n

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Hmm

    "Apple has designed a look."

    It facinates me how apple would be more interested in the look of their stores then selling product.

    "The Second Part of why they don't carry all of those parts is that the types of parts you see on the slef are User instalable. A end user can not put in a new ATI graphics card into thier system without voiding the warranty on the box."

    BS. The manual that came with my G4 SPECIFICALLY has instructions for installing a new graphics card. You're making excuses why apple can't sell product to professionals. As if apple is some kind of consumer company, just because iLife and the iPod are popular right now.

    I'm here to tell you, that's a load of c***. Maybe in the past, the average mac user was the grandmom that barely knew how to work a mouse. There's still a good portion of mac users who are like that (mostly the old OS 9 crowd I'd wager), but there are also a fastly increasing population of OS X users who are unix/linux geeks, graphics/media professionals, or even switchers already familiar with computers. These are people who know their way around computers and don't necessarly need daddy Steve standing over their shoulder.

    Such people are constantly annoyed at how apple does things that block out their users from doing what they need to do. Who is apple to tell me I don't have the brains to put in a new video card? Or to remove pro products from their stores as if those products didn't even exist? "No mac user, you don't need to buy any processor upgrades because we already make our computers fast." The whole thing is retarded. All apple succeeds in doing by these actions is pissing of a huge segment of potential customers by forcing them to go elsewhere to get what they need. (I'm talking hardware-wise, apple stores already sell a lot of pro-level software.)

    "Finally the apple store is a consumer store."

    Fortunately, you're wrong. Apple Stores sell G5s, which by apple's own declaration, are machines for professionals. Secondly, I've seen copies of Final Cut Pro and other high-end software in apple stores. These are NOT a consumer products. My beef with apple is that they don't sell the professional hardware at apple stores (except their own, of course) to go along with the professional software they already sell.

    "Those are Professional Tools that you are talking about. Apple thas Pro Video and Pro Audio Resellers for that."

    What are you talking about? The Apple Stores are increasingly "IT" as far as an apple retail presence. Resellers are dropping out in droves because apple is competing directly against them. I don't necessarily have a problem with that (though I wish apple would work with resellers instead of killing them off), but if apple is going to remove resellers from the map, then at the very least, the Apple Stores need to take up the slack. C

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