What it is: Target reported a 20%+ drop in sales of Apple products.
Sales of Apple products at Target stores has dropped by 20%. What could be the reason? First, look at the Apple product display at any Target store and compare it to an Apple Store. The main reason why Apple started their own stares was because retail stores did such a poor job highlighting Apple products.
Back in the old days, Macintosh computers would sit on the shelf while PCs sold like crazy. Sales people would generally steer people towards a PC because PCs were more popular and they were more familiar with PCs so they could better answer questions about which PC would be best for someone.
Because of this poor sales experience, Apple decided to create their own stores so they could focus on showcasing the best features of their products and let potential customers try out the devices themselves for as long as they wish.
Now if you visit a Target store, what do you see? The Apple Watches are trapped behind locked glass cabinets, the iPhones and iPads may be out and available for anyone to use, but there’s nobody around to answer questions you might have, in contrast to an Apple Store. Target might offer a slight discount on Apple products over buying directly from Apple, so you could be better off trying out a product at an Apple Store and then buying it at Target.
However, if you don’t have a nearby Apple Store, then you’ll be stuck trying the products in Target with no knowledgeable sales person around to help you. Is it any wonder why Apple product sales are so dismal at Target when Target makes a minimal effort to sell Apple products in the first place?
If Target wants to sell more Apple products, they have to do more than just put a handful of demo models on display and hope people will buy them. Beyond the slightly lower price, there’s no compelling reason for anyone to buy an Apple product from Target. Since Apple offers so many different models (iPhone 6s, iPad mini, iPad Air, iPad Pro, etc.), buying an Apple product from Target probably isn’t a good choice for novices because they won’t know what they need until they know all of their options.
Target specializes in selling products that need no explanation. If you want a blender or a pair of pants, Target’s the place to buy them because you know for certain if the product in front of you is what you want. If you’re not sure of which iPad or iPhone model to buy, Target won’t help you. Since there are so many different models of Apple products, chances are good that those choices simply confuse the average Target buyer into not buying any Apple product at all.
The real problem isn’t that fewer people are buying Apple products but that Target is simply not the ideal place to sell anything that can’t be easily identified by novices. The idea of selling Apple products might make sense to Target since so many people like Apple products, but Target either needs to create a better buying experience for Apple products, or they need to cut out Apple products altogether.
Given the hassle and expense needed to improve their customer experience, Target will likely just drop Apple products altogether. Apple products can sell themselves, but when you have different sizes and memory options, then these multiple choices simply confuse people. Target is best for selling commodity products that are easy to understand. Apple products are best for either tech-savvy users or people willing to ask a lot of questions to someone, and that location likely will never be a Target store.