Apple is undoubtedly one of the strongest brands in the world today. Its reputation as an innovative technology company is unmatched. The company has developed several unique products and has become the trailblazer in the development of technological gadgets for one’s personal use (Apple Inc, 2013). While Apple stands out in the area of innovation, its store-based marketing model is not that successful. The company was forced to close a number of stores after it had realized that consumers preferred a different retail model. The company has started the process of reopening some of the stores that were closed down before, based on the success of its recent products, such as the iPod. The iPod became a success after the introduction of downloadable music from the Internet. As such, the paper examines whether such strategy was to be implemented or not, as well as proposes a way forward for Apple.
Exclusive shops give a manufacturer several advantages in the market place. The two main advantages that Apple enjoys in its exclusive stores include its ability to fully control the environment of the store. Apple can achieve its branding ideals to perfection in its stores. Secondly, the company can be sure about the quality of the customer service in their stores. Marketers know that consumers do not just buy products because of their functional appeal. They buy products in order to have an experience about some product. In this sense, Apple can control the nature of experiences customers have in their stores, compared to the experiences the customers would have in an independent dealer’s store. The third advantage of running exclusive stores is that the company can beat counterfeiters more easily. It is easier to control the infiltration of counterfeit products by telling customers where to find the genuine items. This is easier than distributing products through independent dealers (Ab Hamid, 2008).
The success of an exclusive chain of shops for any product works best if the company is a monopoly. This means that consumers have no choice but to go to the company’s stores to buy the products. In a situation where the market is full of competitive products, an exclusive chain is a poor way of marketing the products. The main reason for this is that customers need to compare products in order to make a purchasing decision. An exclusive shop robs them of this option. The only customers who enjoy shopping from exclusive stores are those who have made up their mind in regards to the products they need.
Apple’s new push to reopen stores is not a good idea. It is clear that Apple is not a monopoly in the technological products market. The company has fierce competitors. The fight for market share is ongoing in regards to technological products. Therefore, the reopening of Apple stores makes Apple appear weak because it does not want to compete directly with its main competitors. Secondly, it is much cheaper for Apple to distribute its products through established dealers because the company will not need to meet the high costs of opening and maintaining exclusive stores.
The direction Apple should take is online commerce. The success of the online Apple store confirms that the company should take this direction to expand its footprint in the market. Online commerce takes away many of the costs associated with the maintenance of a physical store (Ab Hamid, 2008). The company will need a strong distribution network to support the online division. Instead of opening expensive shops in high-end facilities, the company will only need warehouses in strategic locations to act as supply points.
Ab Hamid, R. N. (2008). Consumers’ Behaviour Towards Internet Technology and Internet Marketing Tools. International Journal of Communications , 2 (3), 195-204.
Apple Inc. (2013). Learn More About Siri. Web.