Apple, Best Buy and the Apple Watch: Retailing Time

apple watch with best buy for retailing time tech 2015

apple watch with best buy for retailing time tech 2015Much to the chagrin of the competition especially Samsung, Blackberry and Microsoft, Apple trumpeted its phenomenal sales of the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple published its sales numbers of the iPhone and didn’t mind the modest sales of its other products. Those sales gave it the confidence to launch something not-quite-new but was expected to be the next big thing—the Apple watch. Months after its April release, reception is seemingly meh. The foghorns have been silent and so far no numbers are available, just verbal cues from Cook and Co. To boost sales, Apple has taken to an unlikely partner.

Sure, there were still long lines from the Apple faithful and the curious. They came in with open arms to try it out but many came out empty either for lack of availability or lack of interest. It’s terribly difficult to interest people on an expensive watch that despite all its features, can only function 18/7 when Tony Stark’s limited-edition Dora watch can function without charging for at least a year. Plus, most of the features that matter are already available in other smart watches. Cellphones have made watches redundant and everyone’s wrist a little bit lighter. It’s been a while since most people looked at their wrists to tell time. It’s actually more okay to reach into their back pockets or fumble in their purse when someone asks what time it is.

But recently, the watch has been making a comeback, becoming second fiddle to the smartphones that evicted them from people’s wrists. As we know they do more than just tell time, they show the weather, where we are, the latest Facebook status from friends, their latest tweets, emails and all the messages and notifications from the phone we’d rather fumble for every time it chimes in. Hmm, maybe it’s time to get one. A Pebble Time Steel, an LG G Watch, Samsung Gear or just for kicks, an Apple Watch from Best Buy.

That’s right. Best Buy. The Apple Watch made it to the well-known retailer a few days ago. It’s hard not to think that the Apple Watch Gold could be bought there for just a fraction of its current ten thousand dollar price tag. But don’t get excited just yet. It’s currently at 100 major best buy stores and will be available in all branches by the holiday season.

“The Apple Watch is a big addition to our stores and website, and we know our customers want it, “

— Jason Bonfig, Best Buy Senior Category Officer

What’s next? Target? Walmart? Not really. It’s easy to think that the Apple Watch is a failure after such a move. After all, it’s only been five months in. It’s not like Apple’s immune to late bloomers. Microsoft’s been struggling for years on their Windows Phone. According to Tim Cook, there’s been a lot of demand last June and that sales for the device were more than expected. For Tim Cook, retailing the Apple Watch to Best Buy isn’t a sign that the device is a failure as many think the move suggests. For Apple, it’s more of a strategic move, a long-term positioning.

“We feel really good about how we did… Our Objective wasn’t primarily sales; we’re more excited about how the product is positioned for the long term.”

— Tim Cook, Apple CEO

It’s not such a bad idea. Manufacturers do it all the time pushing their wares to as many retailers as they can. The move just seems out of character for Apple and at the time when interest in the Apple Watch isn’t as explosive as expected. Then perhaps we could expect more Apple products to make their way onto Best Buy shelves in the near future. And what’s best about Best Buy? It’s the best deals. Getting an Apple product for less than what Apple geniuses charge is always a good deal. Plus, no more camp-outs.

But what could be better than buying a discounted Apple Watch at Best Buy apart from the change in scenery? Apple could do more research on the current product. Not to make a new version and write themselves off like Microsoft did with their first Surface units. But to come up with a patch. A new firmware or a new OS version that can extend the watch’s battery life to more than 24 hours and the ability to pair the watch down to the iPhone 4S. And lastly, shave at least ten percent off the price for the amount of time the device is worth.