Not Going for Apple

When you work in retail and you are is passionate about Apple’s product there is no greater prestige than getting the opportunity to work for Apple retail.  With only 20 stores in the UK jobs for the Retailer are few and far between and when living in the North East you have no opportunity’s available to you at all.  Well that was until now.  The only problem is that it doesn’t feel very “Apple”.
When you think about buying an Apple product you want to make sure you are getting the best advise available to you and heading in to an Apple store is always the place to get it.  When you live in the North East of England you have to make do with the resellers; John Lewis, Fenwick of Newcastle, Carphone Warehouse, Currys and PC World to name a few.  When you buy from a reseller you don’t get the same passion in the products that you would get from individuals that work in the Apple stores.  Their product knowledge is reasonable but its diluted by the volume of other products that they have to focus on.  Apple staff basically, live and breathe Apple.  The Apple Stores surrounding environment match the company’s passion for great design and this rubs off on every person that walks through the doors of these stores.
My own passion for Apple products is so great that when a friend decided that when a job with Apple was not for them they thought of me for the role.  I live in the North East of England, so with no Apple Stores to be seen; what was the job position?

Design for the planned Apple Concessions at PC World
Design for the planned Apple Concessions at PC World

PC World are going to be rolling out Apple Concessions into their stores that are in locations outside of the catchment area of Apples own stores.  The difference in this compared to PC World’s normal Apple product displays is that they are going to be manned by Apple employees instead of PC World staff.  These “Lone Rangers” are going to be masters of their own space within the PC World stores.  Their role  “bring new customers to the Apple brand and increase the sale of computers to users who currently do not own a Macintosh computer and first time personal computer buyers”.
I do think that this is a good move for Apple.  Driving revenue and Brand awareness come hand in hand.  Having a higher profile for the Apple brand can be nothing more than a good thing for Apple.  These concessions will improve Brand awareness to people that may have not considered buying an Apple product.
So what about my application for the job?  Well, I won’t be applying.
My reason for not applying despite Apple being one of the only retailers that I would consider leaving my current employer for?  As one of my friends pointed out “would you take a job trying to sell fine wines in Lager World” The answer is no!  Apple does have a need to increase their outlet locations but I don’t believe that this is the way to do it.  People that shop at PC World, shop there because they want a bargain not quality.  Apple is quality and although I see a need to encourage new people to buy the Apple brand and these concessions will help towards that; if you’re the person on the front line being paid a commission on selling a brand that you love, to a customer base that is focused on budget; it just doesn’t work.
In time I do hope that this changes the PC World customer base and open their eyes to the same passion I have for Apple and its products but for now I will continue to sell Apple products the same way I always have.  Sharing my passion and excitement for Apple products to encourage my friends and family to make the switch.

Do you think I’m right in not applying?

Would you buy an Apple product from a PC World conssesion?

7 thoughts on “Not Going for Apple

  1. Well the reason for opening these stands is that there are no Apple stores around this location. Without those stores, someone who might want an Apple product has no option but to go to PC World (or travel!) and would rightfully expect the same level of expertise regarding the products.

    Wouldn’t you relish the ability to be part of a “beacon” pushing Apple products from a traditionally PC-based shop?

    I think (with the utmost respect) that your attitude is a teensy bit snobby, and sounds like you think the average consumer who shops at PC World wouldn’t be able to afford or appreciate a Mac. Never underestimate the power of a credit card, a screaming teenager and the fancy interface effects of Mac OSX when selling a product. On that note, I totally disagree with the whole “budget” side of your argument. People go to PC World because “dats where to buy dem peecees”. My dad is minted, and he knows naff all about computers; you could easily sell him a Mac if you talk about quality, security etc and the fact that it looks cool, even if it costs two or three times the price of a PC of similar spec. If you’re that passionate about something, it is entirely possible.

    The way to think about is that the IT market is driven by consumers. The only way to get a bigger slice of the market is to sell to those consumers. By putting a premium brand in an accessible place it allows those consumers to have the option, and that’s way cool.

    I’d love to be part of that tbh, so I have trouble understanding your point of view.

  2. the problem with selling a Mac there, based on the tried and tested proofs of security, stability and quality of manufacture is that there will be opposing salespeople saying exactly the same about PCs…I went in after Vista launched, and when my friend was buying a laptop asked them direct questions about Vista stability and bugs, not letting on that I work in the digital sector and knew the answers. They lied several times about known issues and when pressed about it apparently being ‘superior’ to Mac OS X, admitted they hadn’t actually ever used a Mac…

    And whether it comes across as ‘snobby’ or not, when shown the evidence for stability and security in Mac OS X, and despite him being able to easily afford a Mac…my friend still returned, and bought a PC under the influence of PC World sales technique ;-)

    Yet not even a year later, after one replacement, 2 complete reinstalls and a virus, he said those immortal words to me…”I should have bought a Mac”

    It’s an uphill struggle ;-)

  3. meant to say – those of us who wish for it can join together and beg Apple to open REAL stores here…we need one! (even if my bank balance doesn’t…LOL)

    Right decision mate…you wouldn’t be truly happy in that role. Hold out for the holy grail…that esteemed Apple logo above a storefront in the Metrocentre! :-D

  4. I think you have a very valid point of view.

    However, Apple, like Star Wars, The Beatles, Angelina Jolie etc. has a very strong brand name and may (illogically) leapfrog the barriers you suggest are there.

    Andrew Goulding

  5. Thanks for your comments Steve allow me to elaborate:

    SW – “there are no Apple stores around this location. Without those stores, someone who might want an Apple product has no option but to go to PC World (or travel!) and would rightfully expect the same level of expertise regarding the products.”

    This is very true however they are Apple reseller around in the area that stand out as retailers that customers would expect to get expert advice. John Lewis are the longest standing Apple reseller in the North East and although the level of service they give for Apple product isn’t as high as Apple stores they do hold up a very high level for professionalism. The kind of people that would “seek out” high end Apple product would more likely go to one of these outlets. Consumers that simply want an Apple product (iPod/iPhone) would go to the most convenient retailer (O2 Retail, HMV, Argos etc). Once the Apple concessions are open this will begin to change with more people wanting high end product heading into PC World; however this will take some time.

    SW – “Wouldn’t you relish the ability to be part of a “beacon” pushing Apple products from a traditionally PC-based shop?”

    Yes is the only answer I can give for this; but the thing that you have to remember is that I would be up against a large number of alternative products that will reduce sales conversion chances. I would have been taking a cut a basic wage to take this job and would be relying on commission payments to make this up. A good sales conversion for any electronic retail outlet is around 1.5% so the Apple concession would be looking for about the same. 1000 people walk into PC World, 1.5% buy then the Apple concession would be looking to sell Apple products to 1.5% of them people (0.225 vs footfall). So the concession would be look to sell around 1 MAC for every 4500 people that walk in to the store. Trust me they are the kind of retail sales figure that don’t scream volume sales or commission.

    SW – “I totally disagree with the whole “budget” side of your argument. People go to PC World because “dats where to buy dem peecees”.

    If you were going to buy a mobile phone you know that if you walk into Phones4U they are going to try and sell you something. If you walk into Carphone Warehouse you know you are going to get good advice. You just know that when you walk into PC World or Dixons they are going to try and sell you extended warranty. When you walk into Currys you don’t picture them pushing warranty’s or insurance. It’s about how the retailer is perceived. All of these retails main focus is to push sales as much as they can, but from a consumers point of view they are clear difference in each retailer. A customer that want to get a phone on the best deal ever will feel more at home in Phone4U because to sales person will be pushing to deal they can offer. Somebody that wants a quality product or a product with a specific function will go to Carphone Warehouse. Both deals are likely to be the same but the customer experience will be very different. PC World as a brand promote price, picture any of their adverts on TV; this in turn drive people into their stores looking for price, now picture an O2 advert; very little on the pricing. Although there are people like your Dad that shop at PC World; the retailer markets towards “Budget”.

    SW – “The way to think about is that the IT market is driven by consumers. The only way to get a bigger slice of the market is to sell to those consumers. By putting a premium brand in an accessible place it allows those consumers to have the option, and that’s way cool.”

    Brand awareness is from what I can see Apples main driver for these concessions. Accessibility to they products is key for increasing market share however these concessions will only convert a small amount of people; but will give Apple a better idea as to where to locate there main retail stores. I do believe these concessions are a good idea however I don’t think they are going to make that much of an impact inside of PC World. They would have been better shelling out on some small Apple locations on high profile high streets/shopping center.

  6. @ Andrew Goulding

    “Apple like Star Wars” – :-)

    I hope they do leapfrog it mate. As always thanks for your comments.

  7. i was recently looking at the same job near where i live and am still very undecided. my main concern is the same as yours. brand perception of PC World is that they have awful customer care and limited product knowledge and will just box shift and trades on cheapness rather than quality. there sales force will chase cheap quick wins rather than spend time to try and convert someone into making a expencive investment. this is a problem with staff attitude and training. Also DSG is really strugling in the current climate and there sales have droped off a cliff. very soon this year BestBuy Europe lanches, there stores will probably dwarf anything DSG has as the ones in the US at least are the ssize of a large IKEA. bestbuy is the largest electronics retailers in america and claims its strength is customer service. i think the biggest challenge wouldn’t be from convincing customers, because a knowledgable, smart, and enthusiastic mac employee would be like a breth of fresh air. my main concern is convincing PC world Staff to change there whole sales process and relying on them to get sales of macs. also the margins are pretty tight on macs macs so they probably get a better return on selling a cheaper sony vaio compared to a macbook. at the same time i would really like to work for apple and it could be a good foot in the door so that if a full apple store opens nearby you could probably transfer in quite easily or work for a different dept. short term pain for long term gain maybe?

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