Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Update: Several sources wrote in to note that MarketSource, the company that handles the setup and maintenance of Apple’s demo machines at CompUSA, Best Buy, and now Sears, is slated to continue “detailing” (training employees, etc.) at Sears locations throughout the summer. One MarketSource employee noted that “things are a little rough right now [but] the future looks bright.” Another source also noted that Apple’s relationship with Sears will also expand to include P1, Apple’s consumer portable, when it ships in August.
As for promotional materials and such, it’s going to take a bit more time for every Sears location to receive the brochures, iMac demo disk, iMac fact-sheets, and promotional mousepads. One of the promotional items is “a cool translucent tower (approx 1.25′) with a mouse pad at its base. Set into the tower is a shelf where small take-one flyers are kept.”
As for pricing, one NoBeige.com reader noted that the pricetag becomes more tantalizing when “customers can use a Sears card to buy their system.” Interesting.
After sorting through dozens of emails, NoBeige.com staffers learned that the official rollout for iMacs at Sears is today, June 3rd. We’re not exactly sure how much hoopla Sears will generate for the iMac (Demo Days?) but expect to see some actual publicity this week or next. Sources said that Sears already has printed promotional marketing materials ready but they cannot be displayed until today.
As for pricing, the US$1299 pricetag for a Revision D iMac remains consistent in reader reports. Yes, US$1299 for a computer that should retail for about US$1199. Sears’ high command goons and sales representatives have admitted knowing that they are overcharging customers. A hundred bucks for the convenience of purchasing at your local Sears doesn’t cut it either. But before you call off that trip to Sears, Sears will match prices from other sales outlets, which is a good thing®. We’re expecting somebody from Apple’s high command to correct this sales glitch eventually. And to clear up any confusion in our previous report, Sears are not shipping 64 meg systems but their demo systems have virtual memory set to 64 megs.
As for customer service, the general consensus is that sales representatives are generally enthusiastic about selling iMacs and Sears’ high command is committed to push iMacs out the door. One NoBeige.com reader wrote in to say that he received a phone call from Sears and was offered a better (realistic) price after emailing Sears’ customer service about the high prices and lack of peripherals. That is what you call customer service!
This is not a call-to-arms to go and quiz Sears’ sales representatives in Mac trivia. It is too early to see how Apple’s new relationship with Sears will turn out. Check it out this weekend and be courteous. Get a copy of the “Phantom Menace” QuickTime trailer on CD and copy it onto the iMac to get some attention. If you need to pick up an iMac, be sure to have Sears match a competitive price. Let’s give them a few weeks to settle in.