CompUSA is imploding. Independent PC stores have died. Yet 1,600 people waited online — correction, in line — for the opening of Apple’s new retail store in New York. Here are five reasons why Apple’s retail strategy is crushing the competition this holiday season, according to The VAR Guy.
1. Simplicity: Want a notebook? You’ve got the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Want an operating system? Try Mac OS X — one version for all. Unlike the PC world (where vendors introduce far too many products and Microsoft ships far too many variants of Windows Vista), Apple has a simple, clearly positioned product line. And the stuff works.
2. Quality: In the world of Windows, thousands of customers are demanding downgrades from Vista to XP because they want a six-year-old operating system. Seems they’re willing to accept XP’s security holes in exchange for driver support. (Other Windows users are holding out for MinWin, yet another Microsoft upgrade scheduled for 2010. Imagine if Apple customers were demanding downgrades from Max OS X to Mac OS 9. That would be laughable. Yet that’s the scenario in the Windows world. In stark contrast, Apple customers are eager to make the leap to the latest Mac OS X.
3. Integration: Ever purchase a Windows smart phone (like a Treo) then try to synchronize it with a Windows PC? After you wait in line to buy and activate the cell phone (a painful process if ever there was one), you may be left scratching your head as you try to make your desktop and your handheld talk to each other.
In stark contrast, buy the iPhone (five minute process), link it to your Mac (five minute process) and activate the iPhone online (five minute process) and you’ll be wondering why Apple’s approach isn’t the norm for the entire cell phone industry. The VAR Guy recaps his experience buying the iPhone here.
4. Expertise: Got a problem with your PC? Visit Best Buy and talk to a kid from The Geek Squad … just be sure you have your credit card ready. Got a problem with your Mac? Schedule an appointment online to visit the Genius Bar in a local Apple Store. You’ll be slotted in for a specific time and date. These folks are true Apple experts and evangelists.
5. Design: The VAR Guy is a dork with no fashion or design sense. He defers to Steve Jobs on all design, color and device decisions. So does the entire Mac world. And so far, the strategy seems to be working just fine for all of the Mac faithful.
Alas, The VAR Guy never did buy Apple’s stock during recent dips. Too bad. Apple Stores (both physical and online) seem to be ringing up strong sales this holiday season. Skeptical? Check out the buzz over on Fortune about Apple’s new NYC store.