Apple Retail is not Like Gateway Retail

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Date: Tuesday, August 28th, 2001, 23:38
Category: Archive

In response to our story “Apple Retail Store Hits Chicagoland,” a long time reader writes:

I want to take issue with the statement, “Apple is in unfamiliar territory, in the middle of an economic slowdown which is hitting retail especially hard (including models for the Apple Store like Banana Republic), and with a retail concept that has failed for manufacturers like Gateway.”


In response to our story “Apple Retail Store Hits Chicagoland,” a long time reader writes:

I want to take issue with the statement, “Apple is in unfamiliar territory, in the middle of an economic slowdown which is hitting retail especially hard (including models for the Apple Store like Banana Republic), and with a retail concept that has failed for manufacturers like Gateway.”

Lets start by comparing the show floors:

Gateway had about five or six desktops and a smattering of laptops and peripherals on display, none of which are available for use, or internet ready. Additionally, none of the units were in stock, all purchasing had to be done over the phone, or online. Gateway’s retail concept essentially wasn’t one at all.

The Apple Store has over 30 machines on display, and every one is internet ready. Additionally, there are machines set up to demo particular software, games, printers, digital cameras, DV Camcorders, scanners, CD burners, and DVD burners. You can go to the apple store and make a DV film, burn a CD of your favorite tunes, or just check your email.

Additionally at the Apple retail stores, pretty much every Apple product is in stock, and available for pick-up that day, from a pro keyboard to the Dual 800 MHz G4. There are also 30+ third party peripherals, and almost 600 software titles all in stock. Apple has also stated that any new hardware demoed at an Apple event will be available for pick up the next day at the Apple stores.

The staff:

Gateway stores had four to six sales staffers, a tech guy or two, and some sort of management at any given time. None of the staff were terribly tech savvy, and the stores offered little to no tech support outside of the training seminars held in the store.

At the Apple store, the 20 or so sales associates all have extensive knowledge of computers, Apple products, third party peripherals, and many applications. There are graphic designers, programmers, and long time Mac enthusiasts on the sales staffs in the stores. Each store also has a team of Genius’ who are all Apple certified technicians and can perform upgrades and tech support in the store, or just answer any questions the staff can’t handle.

Gateway’s retail concept was more like “Here’s what we’ve got, and if you like how it looks, call 1-800… and get one!” Unfortunately, everyone already knows what a PC looks like, and no one needs to be shown again. It was a mail-order business in retail clothing. Apple’s strategy, among other things, is about the most complete, interractive [Apple] computer experience you can have short of flying to Cupertino and sitting down with Steve for a few hours.

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