Apple dealers are frustrated by the vendor's decision to sell its products at David Jones stores, but believe their 'specialist knowledge' will give them the upper hand when competing with the mass market retailer.
David Jones is now stocking Apple computers at five of its stores using a store 'within-a-store' concept. The move follows Apple's failed foray into Harvey Norman stores in the mid-90s. This time, however, the stores are operated by Apple-trained staff.
Adam Steinhardt, managing director at Apple reseller Next Byte, said DJs is another competitor 'which is frustrating'. He said the interest-free financing and credit card options that David Jones offers would give the retailer an advantage over the rest of the Apple channel.
However, he said that David Jones isn't an Apple specialist, so claimed 'we're always going to have a competitive advantage'.
'Our stock management is going to kill theirs [DJs], he said, adding that the Apple reseller channel is better at identifying trends and which particular products to push.
Steve Bardel, the proprietor of Melbourne-based Apple reseller My Mac Australia, said Apple's decision to appoint DJs will have a negative effect on his business. 'They [DJs] have got very deep pockets,' he said, adding that the Apple channel also has to compete with Apple's Online Store, which undercuts pricing offered by resellers. 'I think long-term, Apple don't want a channel,' Bardel said.
He said that Apple had been very 'elusive' about its plan with David Jones. Bardel said the David Jones store-with-a-store in Melbourne was 'laughable'.
'It's a joke, it's the size of my toilet block in Flinders St at my store,' he said. 'I think they could have done it a lot better. I don't think the partnership between Apple and DJs will last very long,' he said.
'If they weren't employing their own staff in DJs they wouldn't even last a couple of months. I believe I've got strength in my business to keep trading on anyway,' he said.
Another Apple reseller, who wished to remain anonymous, said: 'It could work both ways for us. It's a good idea from Apple's point of view, [but] as a reseller, it's tough for us now that we have another competitor out there.'
The reseller agreed that the DJ's credit card, financing and extended hours would be attractive to potential Apple computer buyers. 'There's nothing as a reseller that we can do about it.'
However, the more people that buy Apple computers, the better off we are as a reseller, the spokesperson said.
Adam Connor, proprietor at North Sydney-based Apple reseller Total Recall Solutions, said he wished Apple every success with its plans to hit the [retail] consumer market. 'It was handled very badly last time but I'm sure they will do well out of it.'
However, he said: 'Australian consumers should know that if they want specialist advice, they should go to a specialist [reseller]'.
'We did check out the DJs site a month and half ago and found there was a fair few people in that [store],' he said. 'Now that they [Apple] have got more of a vested interest in driving foot traffic [in retail] the execution will be better,' he said. 'The problem is that if it does go well, they may get a bit of a brain fart and open their own [branded] stores, so we have to watch that carefully,' he said.
Apple marketing director Arno Lenior was unavailable for comment at time of going to press.
Apple dealers sound off about DJs
By Byron Connolly on Nov 13, 2003 12:00AM