Apple boutiques – multiplying like rabbits but may be losing brand equity!

Apple Boutique – Target Store

I am a fan of Target and also a fan of Apple; however, the news of Target opening up Apple boutiques in their stores leaves me wondering.  What about the aesthetic? What about the experience? What about the genius staff? Who’s going to answer questions?

Target uses their typical retail display system to merchandise one of the decade’s most innovative consumer electronic devices.  While this may be a display it certainly is not a Boutique! The rack system, known in the industry as a ‘gondola’ is ubiquitous in discount retailers.  No sense of space is created, just standard rows of gondola’s.  No natural materials, just peg board and hooks. No sense of technological excitement, just white on black signage. The one nod to the Apple store – a three foot long maple table with a Plexiglas cover! For a retailer who understands design, introduces innovative products and leverages brands to their fullest potential, it’s a surprising slip up.

Bottom Line:   I see this as a negative to Apple’s brand equity and wonder if either Apple or Target will benefit from the relationship.  As a consumer, if you’re going to buy a best in class, premium product wouldn’t you want to have the experience in an Apple store?

For additional reading on the retail roll-out see the USAToday article, photo credit AppleInsider.

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