Apple tests a mini-store at Wal-Mart

Photos show a clasically clean and attractive display amid typically cluttered aisles.

By Kim Peterson Apr 16, 2012 1:47PM
The next phase of Apple's (AAPL) retail strategy is clear. The company is moving small versions of its stores into Target (TGT) and maybe even Wal-Mart (WMT).

Target is building mini Apple stores in 25 of its locations this year. And now it appears Wal-Mart is testing an Apple display at a Wal-Mart store in Lowell, Ark., according to the IfoAppleStore site. (You can see the photos here.)

The Apple display looks clean and simple amid Wal-Mart's typical clutter. Apple products are turned on and working, allowing Wal-Mart customers to play with iPads, iPods and iPhones. The devices sit on bare wooden tables, and boxed items for purchase are stored underneath.

The display is essentially a playpen for grownups -- an oasis in a store that doesn't normally give shoppers much room to relax. Shoppers can take a break from Wal-Mart's ruthlessly efficient aisles to test iPads and iPhones.

Apple is trying to reach customers who might never order anything from its website or spend much time in its retail stores. Apple might be feeling some competitive pressure here as well, perhaps wanting to secure its presence in Wal-Mart and Target before new devices from Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) start seeking similar ground.

Wal-Mart gets to sell higher-margin items and give itself a little more electronics cachet.

Because the Arkansas Wal-Mart store is so close to the company's headquarters, the Apple display might be just an experiment. We've heard rumors of Apple opening mini-stores in Sam's Club, which is owned by Wal-Mart. The latest display might have been created with Sam's Club, not the typical Wal-Mart store, in mind.

At any rate, it's fun to see what a mini Apple store would look like inside a Wal-Mart.

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Apr 16, 2012 3:06PM
Reminds me of Gateway. Remember Gateway? Steve Jobs' body isn't even cold and Apple begins whoring out it's marketing. The best way to make your product non-exclusive and desireable is to make sure everyone buys one. Then your competitors will be ramping up production to take your place. I am not a fan of Apple products (reminds me of Beta-max), but at least their focus has been quality not quantity. How long before 7-11 stocks Apple track phones.., bad move guys.
Apr 16, 2012 3:19PM
If you want to check them out wear a pair of surgical gloves. Lots of germs floating around on those devices.

Perfect fit, Chineese made junk in the store that brought Chineese made junk to the masses.

Apr 16, 2012 7:53PM
Way to go Apple! This will totally kill the Apple cool factor and devalue the products. Wait until Wally World gets their hooks in , they'll demand discounts and Apple will come out with a more affordable (junk) line for the Big box stores and cannibalize the rest of their products. Walmart ruins everything they touch.
Apr 16, 2012 4:19PM
What a shame apple. Walmart, boo. Target now a boo. Maybe they will start to put nets up so people don't kill themselves. Steve Jobs is was a crook. How many ipads can they really come up with. The ipad will fail out in a couple of years. What a sad day. Even better, do not shop at Walmart, sadly Target also. Too much too fast. Sounds like my prom night. i'll see you in hell steve jobs along with the walton family.
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