By LKENNED (LKENNED@DEAKIN.EDU.AU)
In cities such as New York City, Apple has 6 stores in Manhattan alone, not to mention the rest of New York state (Apple 2016). Each store has subtle differences in its architecture, but overall the layouts and emphasis on user experience remains similar. Valued at approximately $247bil last year, it is no surprise that Apple exemplifies Omnichannel marketing (O’Brien 2015).
This image was a 2009 artistic impression of how the centre of Melbourne would look with the newly built Emporium on the right, with a well lit Apple store on the left. In case you’re not from Melbourne or haven’t been to the centre of Lonsdale street for a while, this construction NEVER happened!
Apple went on to strategically place its distribution/ retail stores around Melbourne, in high end fashion malls, with the most recent being at Highpoint shopping centre. However none of them were in the CBD of Melbourne. Additionally there is a flagship store in George street Sydney, so it seems as though Apple is not totally against location of a store within an Australian city CBD (Moses 2009).
Having a number of resellers in the area could be a reason to suggest the immediate disincentive to place another retail operation in the heart of Melbourne, as they would be able to cover the distribution of the product in the area.
Apple Australia has its products available via its own stores and other channels collectively and reported sustained growth in the market with a $1.8Bill revenue gain (LeMay 2016). That’s a lot of tax being paid in Ireland…..
Foad Fadaghi told the ABC, “roughly 17 million Australians own a smartphone, and the market is reaching saturation” (Taylor & Clark 2016).
However, it was reported in early April that iPhone sales had dropped for the first time since 2003 (Taylor & Clark 2016). Mr Fadaghi commented “the drop in demand for the products was due to consumers waiting for the next generation of technology to advance”. Interestingly Samsung (Apple’s direct competitor) via vice president Prasad Gokhale exclaimed “Australia’s mobile business is booming for us”.
Is it no coincidence that Samsung has a retail store in Melbourne Central shopping precinct?
It would seem as though the retail channel and distribution of its products is an important marketing strategy for Apple developing more stores every year. In 2016, 463 stores were operating worldwide, 26 more than the previous year.
Location of these distribution centres may not have been an issue for Apple preceding this year’s revenue downturn. When directly compared with Samsung and their optimistic outlook, the distribution outlet in the Melbourne CBD could be reconsidered.
Rumours again or strategic placement?
According to The Australian Financial review representatives from Apple took a look at a Collins street building site, half-way between Swanston and Elizabeth streets respectively. In the mean-time they ruled out any venture of trying to set up in Bourke street mall, Emporium or any other arcade in the vicinity. It seems as though the area of Emirates House, next to high end Jewelry Tiffany & Co, and fashion store Hugo Boss was of particular interest. 3AW Breakfast rumour file also mentions that Federation Square may be on the cards.
This could be that Apple wants consumers to identify it as a brand of high value, surrounding itself in a retail landscape of other prestige brands. Time will tell if this is a direct reaction product placement strategy and distribution of products or just another media hype to call for Apple to build a flagship store in the CBD of Melbourne.
Apple 2016, Apple retail stores United States, Apple USA, retrieved 11th May 2016, <http://www.apple.com/retail/storelist/>
LeMay, R 2016, ‘Farce: Apple Australia pays extra $4m of tax on $1.8bn revenue gain’, Delimiter. Just Australia Just Technology, retrieved 11th May 2016, <https://delimiter.com.au/2016/01/26/farce-apple-australia-pays-extra-4m-of-tax-on-1-8bn-revenue-gain/>
Moses, A 2009, ‘Apple store set to gobble up art deco landmark’, the Sydney Morning Herald, 10th August, retrieved 11th May 2016 <http://www.smh.com.au/technology/biz-tech/apple-store-set-to-gobble-up-art-deco-landmark-20090810-efbh.html>
O’Brien, M 2015, Apple is the world’s most valuable brand, ClickZ, retrieved 11th May 2016, <https://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/2410349/apple-is-the-worlds-most-valuable-brand-study>
Taylor, J & Clark, S 2016, ‘Apple reports first-ever fall in iPhone sales, prompting end to revenue growth streak’, The ABC, 27th April, retrieved 11th May 2016, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-27/apple-reports-first-ever-drop-in-iphone-sales/7361990>