Apple Australia has launched a renewed presence in the consumer and small business retail markets with a partnership program for specialist resellers. Calling themselves AppleCentres, the selected resellers are expected to provide a higher level of service and support to consumer and small business customers in return for support from Apple in terms of marketing, promotion and finance programs. Other Apple reseller partnerships, such as the Masters of Media for publishing specialists, are not affected.
Earlier this year, Apple drastically reduced its presence in mass-market retail, a move which was interpreted by many as a withdrawal from the consumer market. Apple Australia's Ben Bowley refuted this, saying that chains such as Myer and Harvey Norman were only providing about 4 per cent of Apple's revenue, while not providing the kind of shopping experience Apple wanted for its customers. The new AppleCentres will be Apple-only stores, divided into solutions-specific areas such as home office and small business, learning and multimedia, and carrying a minimum of 100 different software titles at a time. By grouping under one brand, the AppleCentres will have considerable buying power to keep prices competitive.
Initially there will be 51 AppleCentres nationwide, with a national television campaign to raise awareness of the brand.