Apple tests a mini-store at Wal-Mart
Photos show a clasically clean and attractive display amid typically cluttered aisles.
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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