A Lowell, Arkansas Walmart location is one of the first in the nation to roll out the Apple store-within-a-store, a dedicated space that is distinctly separate from the rest of the big-box retailer's other departments.
Photos of the new space posted on Apple retail blog ifoapplestore.com show a clean and industrial design that mimics the basic look and feel of Apple Stores worldwide. Products sit atop a wooden tabletop, in this case with shelf space for stock storage, and are paired with acrylic advertising placards that hold technical specifications, configuration information and pricing. Apple's own stores have since replaced most of this signage with iPads running specially designed software.
The main area consists of two large tables with corresponding backlit one-sheets for Apple's main product lines and is set apart from its surroundings with a dark carpet. Accessories and tertiary products are arranged outside the carpeted area on regular Walmart shelving.
In order to concentrate the maximum number of products into one small area, Walmart had to choose which item to feature as display models. Hot-sellers like the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone 4S units are available to test-drive, while other products like the iPod nano and iPod shuffle are locked behind glass security doors beneath the tabletop displays.
New signage prominently displayed at Walmart's Lowell, Ark. location. | Source: ifoapplestore.com
Security for the on-display items is said to be tighter than Apple Store counterparts and is most likely due to lack of staff dedicated to oversee the area.
Less popular products are locked behind security glass.
Walmart's attempt at an Apple store-within-a-store is likely the first of many, and other nationwide resellers like Target are slowly rolling out similar offerings later this year. Competing electronics outlet Best Buy already has an Apple section in many of its stores.
Acrylic placards are used in place of the iPads seen in current Apple Stores.
Internationally, Harrods of London recently opened its "Apple Shop" as part of the famous department store's new "Harrods Technology" section.
Apple first pioneered the store-within-a-store concept with CompUSA in 1997.