Apple and Circuit City team up for new Mac pilot program; Apple may pull out of CompUSA

“It didn’t work five years ago, but a rejuvenated image and fast-approaching holiday shopping season have returned Apple Computer to Circuit City, where this month it will again try its hand at selling Macs,” Kasper Jade reports for AppleInsider.

“Starting next week, a handful of Circuit City stores in the eastern U.S. will feature a selection of Macs including MacBooks, Mac minis, MacBook Pros and iMacs, AppleInsider has learned. The initiative is part of a new pilot program, which if successful, Circuit City hopes to expand to many of its retail stores, people close to the electronics retailer have said,” Jade reports.

“Last week, select Circuit City employees were sent to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. where they were paired with Apple Solution Consultants (ASCs) for a week-long training expedition. The goal of the program was train Circuit City reps to effectively market the Mac and its strong-points, rather than lure prospective buyers towards their own familiarities in the Windows PC isle,” Jade reports.

“In July of 2000, the two companies announced they were teaming to offer Apple’s iMac, iBook and AirPort products throughout Circuit City’s then 570 retail stores. But with Mac maker cutting the ribbon on 27 of its own retail stores the following year, the two companies mutually decided it would be best to go their separate ways,” Jade reports. “Things could play out differently this time around, say insiders. With its brand now booming and the first signs of Mac market share gains peering through the clouds, Apple is reportedly considering a move that would pull ASCs from CompUSA boutiques — a deteriorating model — and reassign them to trendy Circuit City posts. Insiders say the Mac maker’s relationship with CompUSA has been waning with each new Apple retail store it launches.”

Jade reports, “Earlier this year, Apple began testing a similar pilot at select west coast Best Buy locations. Like Circuit City, Best Buy has indicated that it is prepared to scale the pilot program ‘rapidly’ if results prove strong. During a conference call in July, Apple said was ‘evaluating results’ of the program but had nothing new to announce at that time.”

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “mango” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
You want back into the Mac market? Apologize to Mac users first – September 04, 2006
Best Buy test-selling Macs using Apple-trained Best Buy employees – June 21, 2006
Analyst: Best Buy may ‘rapidly’ expand Mac pilot program – June 05, 2006
Best Buy now selling Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook, and iMac models – May 31, 2006

31 Comments

  1. I haven’t seen any Mac’s in my local Best Buy. I haven’t really looked, but you would think that if Best Buy were really behind making a success of the program that you really have to look hard to find the Macs. Also, there is a Circuit City just down the street from the Best Buy. Is Apple going to have an East Coast/West Coast division on retailers?

  2. I think Apple in Best Buy was just a pilot program on the West Coast. In my local Best Buy, they don’t carry any Mac hardware or software. (Except Pixar-licensed games, and Blizzard games, of course, which are Mac/Win)

    I love making pilgrimages to an Apple Store (about an hour and a half drive) but I await the day when I can buy software and accessories for my Mac in any computer retailer.

  3. God no, not Circuit City! I’ll never shop at a Circuit City again after two visits where the employees’ anti-Mac bias or sheer ignorance was obvious. The first time, I asked whether they had any software that would run on a Mac and was told “sure, as long as it’s running Windows” (this was long before intel chips, Parallels and BootCamp). The second time, I asked whether a wireless router would work on my Mac and the salesjerk said I should switch to a Windows PC. I walked out. They’re gonna have to do a whole lot of reeducation in Cupertino if the attitudes I saw were indicative of the chain as a whole.

  4. This didn’t work at Best Buy, and it won’t work at Circuit City.

    Why? Three reasons:

    1. Apple doesn’t offer these salespeople commissions, whereas the other PC companies do. Nobody at Best Buy or Circuit City will push any product that they’re not getting a commission on.

    2. There is no Mac software available for purchase at any Best Buy or Circuit City.

    3. Nobody that works at Best Buy or Circuit City uses a Mac.

    These are the facts, and this is why it will never work (and hasn’t worked up to now).

    Thank God Apple opened up its own retail stores, so the truth about their products can actually be revealed to the public.

  5. Kind of a shame about CompUSA, really – I bought my first powerbook there. We now have an Apple Store, but back then the only place I could see a mac and look through mac software and talk to a “mac guy” was at CompUSA. I never experienced a fraction of the ignorance there that is so evident at Best Buy and, to a slightly lesser degree, Circuit City.

  6. I’ll be sorry to see Apple leave CompUSA. The Apple guy who works in the Albuquerque store does a really good job of keep everything running, and it’s always very busy. Oh well, our Apple Store should be opening any time now, so he can just go work there. My only beef with them is their Mac game section hasn’t been stocked well for the last year or so.

  7. People, people. I’ve seen the comission or spiff thing thrown around in these arguments time and times again please come to modern times.

    Circuit City and Best Buy are non-commission for their sales. So Employee A does not get paid more for selling an HP and Creative then an Apple product.

    As for CompUSA they are spiffed on extended service plans.

    Welcome to 21st Century.

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