Apple Store-within-a-Walmart: the future, or the end of days?

Apple Store-within-a-Walmart: the future, or the end of days?

There have been Apple Stores inside Best Buy -- and their subsidiary, Future Shop in Canada -- for a long time now, but Walmart? I haven't been to Walmart in years, but last time I did the only store-within-a-store they had there was a McDonalds. Well, times change, Apple Retail just keeps growing and growing, and it looks like Walmart is their next growth-vector.

Reader Jesse Martinez sent along these images from the Walmart Superstore in Rogers, Arkansas. Jesse says he was told by the Apple rep that this particular Apple Store-within-a-Walmart-store was a prototype and the first one in the country. Even though the Apple Stores proper are phenomenally successful, and Apple keeps adding more all the time, they just don't have locations in all the same places as Best Buy (recent closures notwithstanding) or Walmart. The stores-within-a-store help them project at least a little of the Apple experience to many more potential customers.

So is the the future, where Apple Stores-within-a-store armed with knowledgeable Apple reps-within-those-stores start popping up in more and more megastores? There aren't competing HP, Samsung, Dell, HTC, or Google retail stores, and there aren't competing HP, Samsung, Dell, HTC, or Google stores-within-a-store at Best Buy, never mind Walmart. Does this give Apple a significant advantage, or simply risk overextending their brand?

Source: @jmartinez301, thanks Jesse!

Apple Store Inside Walmart, Rogers, Arkansas

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 48 comments. Add yours.

Premium1 says:

I think this would be smart for apple to do. The current apple stores for many are much farther away than the closest walmart and could bring more people into apple stores and walmart alike.

Katrina S. says:

Honestly, I would love this. The nearest Apple Store is about an hour drive for me whereas we have a brand new Walmart less than a mile from me.

williamsbh76 says:

+1! I live in small town USA and we are lucky to have a Walmart. It just isn't feasible to drive over an hour to get to an Apple Store. Plus having dedicated Apple Store employees manning these operations is huge because most Walmart employees don't know enough to push sales (no offense to any Walmart employees!).

Gursewak S. says:

Well it might be the first one in the US but in New Zealand we have at least a dozen of them since we don't have an actual Apple Store.

Nunya Bidness says:

This isn't Rolex, Renee. I think it's a smart decision by Apple. For one, as above posters have mentioned, it increases retail availability within communities. It also allows some who would never have been to an Apple store to get in on the Apple experience, which as an Apple user I believe is probably Apple's strongest selling point.
I know that you're an Apple user yourself, Renee, and I have to ask you: Have you not found it the most difficult thing in the world to convince a computer savvy (or illiterate, really) PC user that Mac's are worth their extra dollar value? It all comes down to user experience, and that's a very difficult message to convey without demonstration.

Nunya Bidness says:

I apologize, I just realize I feminized your name. If you can edit that, feel free to. No offense intended.

drumsergeant says:

If I have to shop at a Walmart for Apple products, that will be the end of my 25 years association with Apple.

chirmer says:

Wow, elitist much? It's not about the freaking store -- it's about location. Most people can't just up and drive to the nearest Apple store, especially since most states in the US have only one or two. Grow up, man :/
(duplicate on purpose)

chirmer says:

Wow, elitist much? It's not about the freaking store -- it's about location. Most people can't just up and drive to the nearest Apple store, especially since most states in the US have only one or two. Grow up, man :/

N25000 says:

No one is forcing you to shop at walmart. You can still go to your local Apple Store if you wish. But personally it's easier for me to drive 5 minutes to get to walmart, than to take a 45 minute drive into the city.

wow says:

The point is this. In central pa the only apple store is in Lancaster. So if your from Williamsport you can drive to Lancaster, Philly, Baltimore or Pittsburgh. All while driving past 10 Walmarts. So having a local apple store is moot. There not all that local. Plus when you go there they have long lines and many dumb people there.

Trexwarrior says:

Really bro? Your loyalty is that weak?
Not everyone has a Apple store even remotely close to them. I live in Hawaii and there are three Apple stores on one island... (Oahu). I live on a different island (Kauai). What should I do, take a day off buy a plane ticket just to visit an Apple store? I already own the greatest smartphone made to date. I have experienced the awesomeness of Apple products. I don't need to go to an Apple store and listen to some teenager tell me the hardware and software specs of various Apple products. I think what your more afraid of is that Apple products will get into the hands of the "less desirable Walmartians" and you wont look so cool with your iDevice. If it becomes a common household item it will somehow lose its "sex appeal". Maybe you should right a letter to Apple and tell them to not expand their retail stores to Walmart... If they don't listen just go buy yourself a Android phone at one of those Android brick and mortar stores...

JoeKiya says:

amen 2 u, i live on oahu and its a pain just to get to the apple store's, yeah we have 3 but there all close to each other, i just wish they had it in different parts of the island. :(

Coffeegrower says:

I live on the Big Island, so we're in the same boat. Last year, the mic on my 3 week old iPad 2 stopped working. This wouldn't have been an issue, had there been a mini Apple store on the island where I could have swapped it for a new one. I'd be happy to see one opened at my local (1 hour drive) Walmart.

HGG says:

But is this a real Apple Store, even if it's a mini store? Because what makes an Apple Store is not just that there is a place to buy Apple products, you can buy them in many locations, but the service offered by them.
Does this Apple-Mart has it?

Luis Dominguez says:

That's wat I was thinking. I mean, its the same stuff Walmart sells anyway. To me, for this to be a true store within a store, they would need to sell macbooks, imacs, etc... It's only iPads and iPhones like they have sold in the past.

Troy says:

Not a good idea. I get the convenience and the financial benefit to apple, but to me this just cheapens the brand. And apple stores are about the experience, I doubt if you get the same experience in a Walmart and certainly not an employee that is as knowledgeable as they should be.

wow says:

Yup. Now the fan boys can't claim that android is for poor people and apple for the well off.

dfb8085 says:

I think its a bad idea. The apple store is a place where you can try out, get the help you need and the environment is 2nd to done. The service you can get is very special and in noway will they ever be able to provide this level of experience inside a walmart. I hope the 2 didn't make this deal in China.

RuralBob says:

I live close to the middle of nowhere. I have a Wal-Mart within a few miles but the closest Apple Store is in St. Louis or Chicago, 3+ hours away. It is usually quite a hassle when I have problems with my Apple devices, and seeing Apple products in person is often a challenge as well. As much as I dislike patronizing Wal-Mart, I'd love to have an Apple Store in my local Wal-Mart. Alas, my fear is that my town/Wal-Mart is too small for such a luxury. But I can dream...

Jeremy says:

This would be ok at Target but not at Walmart. It does cheapen the brand. How can Apple be so choosey about where they build their stores and then make mini stores at someplace as white-trash as Walmart. Steve would not approve.
At least that's my opinion.

dloveprod says:

I hate to say this but it's like a rich guy and a chick from a trailer park getting together. No shade to people that live in trailer parks I know some are nice people.

Glenn#IM says:

It would be better if it was set up like the bank, or nail place. A separate store in Walmart. That way you walk into an Apple store, instead of it placed in the middle of the open electronic section.

Matt says:

I work in the Connection Center (cell phones) at a Walmart in a not-so-affluent area. I believe this project will ultimately fail. Why do people shop at Walmart? Because they're cheap. They complain about everything from selection to customer service to long lines. Why do they keep coming back? Because they're cheap. While the iPhone is a moderate seller in my store I seem to be selling a lot of the first Samsung Galaxy S. Why? Because the price recently went down to $0.97. The Apple display in my department is the 3GS display. We don't have any iPhones on display because people steal them. All of the other Apple products in my store are in the electronics department which I do work in but not very often. The displays are a mess. The selection is terrible. I can't speak to sales numbers of any non-iPhone Apple products but I doubt they're very high. What I'm getting at here is that the vast majority of Walmart customers don't have the means to pay the "Apple tax". Why buy an iPad for $499 when you can get another tablet made by some company no one has ever heard of for $129? If Best Buy is bleeding money why would an Apple store in a Walmart do any better? It's just going to sit there and look nice in the sea of cheaply made discount merchandise that is Walmart.

wow says:

You must work at horrible Walmart. I hate Walmart myself, go there 3-4 times a year, but wow. Either your trolling or serious. My Walmart has everything under glass. IOS, and android devices. And when I'm in Walmart I have the means to buy 5 iphones. I just dont choose to buy them. Your attitude drives Me away from apple. Most apple users think they are the s**t just for having one. When I can get one for 1 buck.

NotTellingYou says:

I make more than $150k per year and I shop at Walmart. I work hard for my money and if the same item is in Walmart for less I'll buy it there!
If you do work at Walmart you know that each store is merchandised a little different. Your store's "traits" and the assortment it carries, is largely dependent on the customer demographic. You sound as if you're in an older "Division 1" store and not a newer SuperCenter. BIG difference!
Walmart already sells this selection of Apple products and sells A LOT! They sell more than Apple iPads than all over tablets combined!
This is part of a 30 store pilot and we'll see how it goes! It's good for Apple, Walmart, and the customers, like me, who shop there!

Dilan says:

Here's my day at walmart:
I walk in the store and get a hamburger for the mcdonalds store-in-store. My hands are now all greasy after the burger. Now I go play on the new iPad. This is Apple product abuse!

wow says:

Not funny. All walmarts in pa have subways in them. Mcds left almost 10 years ago. Next stupid joke.

Simon Sage says:

McDonald's is still in the Wal-Marts here in Canada. Would love to see a switch to Subway.

sting7k says:

We are split here with the Walmarts in my city. One has a Subway and the other has McDonald's.

wow says:

See what happens with out Steve jobs. History is gonna repeat itself. But this time Google will bury apple a 5-10% world market share. Sell apple stock now.

TheUI says:

You guys whining about this are too funny. You already ARE able to buy Apple products at Wal-Mart. Even when Steve was alive you could, now your experience is enhanced by allowing you to talk to a company employee instead of some sassy chicken head smacking their gum. Geez.

J says:

Not sure if this counts but I live in a pretty high priced part of NYC and inside the target here they sell all apple products im pretty sure.
I've purchased iPhones and iPads and iPods from there before.
Although it would be convenient for some people I think apple should focus on building more stores instead of building a stand within walmarts.

Simon Sage says:

Smart move overall. Anybody complaining about the besmirched sanctity of their precious Apple products should remember that iPhones and iPads are commodities that need to be moved - nothing more, nothing less.

HGG says:

iPhones, iPads, Macs are good products. I like good products. I want Apple to keep making good products. To do so, they have to sell a lot of them. If Wal-Mart helps sell them, that's a good thing.
The elitism and snobbery on display with these news (and when Instagram was released on Android) is disheartening. I use Apple products almost exclusively because they are very, very good. Not because they give me some sort of illusory status over the 'common people'

curlyiphone says:

Apple is a great company. Wal-Mart on the other (at least the Wal-Marts in my area) are ghetto, packed to capacity and require you to plan your trip way in advance so you can avoid having a bad experience. I think having an Apple store within Wal-Mart is great for the brand and would definitely expose it to those who otherwise would not think about purchasing Apple products. For me personally, I will stick to the Apple Store.

Me.eliz says:

Wow! I really love being thrown in there with traier trash (thick thick thick sarcasim, by the way)!!!! I know that walmart isnt the nicest of stores everywhere you go, but i still shop there on a weekly basis, because it is the closest and cheapest place for me to get the grocies and household item i need.
I LOVE my mac. I LOVE my iPad. And i, at least, REALLY like my iPhone. But i really hate the snobby persona that apple users tend to give off, and this whole story doesnt really help the cause. Not everyone lives in new york, or uptown dallas, or chicago, or LA. The closest apple store to me is in houston, a good 2 hour drive. There is an apple kiosk in best buy in my town, and there is a little apple authorized retailer in town too. But i hate the snobby, elitist, attitude that apple should have a location in walmart. They practially already have one what with the ipod/iphone/ipad kiosk.
This would do nothing but conitnue to bolster sales for apple. Dont see anything wrong with that.

Me.eliz says:

elitist attitude that apple should not have a locatn in wm

richard_rsp says:

I'm not an elitist or anything, but I do think this will overall hurt sales with Apple's current consumers (however it COULD help sales overall). A lot of the reason that current consumers buy Apple products is due to the experience - specialty stores, knowledgeable staff, consistency across the brand. I would be afraid that Walmart wouldn't provide that experience. I have been in some Walmarts that are clean and well organized. However, I have been in some that are messes: Displays are broken/not working, DVD's spilled across the electronics department.
Now, I understand that it's not easy to get to an Apple Store. I have to drive over 100 miles (one way)to get to one. However, most people who HAVE to go to the Apple store do so because they need technical assistance. Do you think that they will be able to provide (or charge for) that same level of assistance at the Wal-Mart stores? I have my doubts that they would even provide service in these stores; it would likely be "sales-only". If anything, I see Apple trying to place their employees in Walmart for a while, then when they realize that it would be more profitable to contract the work out, they will - ultimately leading to reduced level of service and experience. But who knows...

jamie says:

Revenue US$ 421.849 billion (2011)
Operating income US$ 025.542 billion (2011)
Net income US$ 015.355 billion (2011)
Total assets US$ 180.663 billion (2011)
Total equity US$ 068.542 billion (2011)
These numbers don't lie! Lots of people shop at Walmart and it's not a bad idea to get your product in the stores!

iCat3GS says:

Jrev... I get your point and agree with your premise that WalMart is successful... But numbers ABSOLUTELY DO LIE.
I'm an accountant working at a LARGE public company... There are constantly numbers and facts being fudged, massaged and manipulated to better impress shareholders. This is just a fact of corporate life.

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