Apple Authorized Resellers
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Apple Authorized Resellers are retail outlets that can sell Apple products via their physical store or online store with official permission from Apple. These retailers often have dedicated sections to Apple products called “Apple Shops” which act as miniature Apple Stores with an employee specifically trained on Apple products.
Apple Authorized Resellers
The following retailers sell Apple products in some capacity on Apple's behalf. Their specific support and return policies vary based on the store's policy. Sales and deals on Apple products are often specific to certain resellers, and those stores cannot discount Apple products without permission.
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Apple Stores vs Apple Authorized Resellers
Apple has over 1.5 billion active customers around the world, but only 510 stores in 22 countries. Steve Jobs started the Apple Store as a place where people could experience Apple products first hand, and have since become some of the most trafficked stores in the world.
Apple cannot serve all of their customers in their limited storefronts, so they have partnered with major retailers to sell their products in an official capacity called Apple Authorized Resellers. These stores can offer Apple products with personnel trained on the basics to help customers find the right device for them.
Some stores like Adorama, B&H and Best Buy could have entire sections dedicated to Apple Products. These areas are referred to as Apple Shops and act as a miniature Apple Store experience. Employees who work these sections are often more heavily trained on Apple products, and Apple will sometimes provide employees of their own to aid in sales and services.
The Apple Store is the only place you can go for a top-to-bottom Apple focused experience. Apple Stores can provide general services like support for software and hardware, device setup, and troubleshooting. They also have the ability to do on-site repairs or schedule more intensive repairs for broken devices.
Apple Authorized Resellers do not have the same capabilities surrounding support and repair. Customers who do not have access to an Apple Store would need to mail their products in or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider. Best Buy is one of the biggest partners for authorized repair, which means it is one of the few locations with dedicated Apple sales and support services outside of the Apple Store.
The third option for repair is Apple's Independent Repair Provider Program. These small repair shops exist across the United States and are expanding to Europe and Canada in 2020. The third-party repair sites have trained personnel who can perform repair services when an Apple Store is not available. These locations will only offer repair services and do not sell Apple products directly.
Expanding Apple Authorized Resellers
It is easy to forget that Apple doesn't just let anyone sell their products. As with the company's design and software, Apple likes to control the message by having their brand associated with certain retailers. The public application process is closed, but Apple does add retailers to their program from time-to-time.
In July 2020 Apple added Hodinkee to their reseller list for Apple Watch. The company has covered Apple Watch design in their interviews with Jony Ive in the past and it seems the company is a good fit for selling the Watch itself.
Apple is expanding their retail presence in India by adding 100 retail locations throughout the country. The authorized resellers will allow customers to visit a physical location and try out the products first hand. It is expected the stores will occupy 500 square-foot outlets and greatly improve relations between Apple and the country's government.
In November 2018 Apple struck a deal with Amazon to sell their products on the website. The deal forced small resellers operating on Amazon's website to shutdown, by design. Now only third-parties with direct authorization from Apple or buy $2.5 million in refurbished inventory can sell the products on the website.
In 2019, one reseller called Simply Mac changed hands from GameStop to Cool Holdings after claims of margins being "slowly strangled" by Apple's demands. Other resellers responded with similar complaints stating that Apple were basically requesting "free labor" and squeezing the profit margins for companies with every new change.
Apple Authorized Resellers are important to Apple's retail strategy and represent a large portion of sales of Apple products worldwide.