Apple is defending its new online store for not offering cheaper deals than the resale channel.
Renaissance, which distributes Apple products in New Zealand, launched the new site last week but disgruntled users were quick point out that prices were no less than they would pay in the shops.
General manager of Renaissance’s Apple division Paul Johnston says Renaissance is caught between “a rock and a hard place”.
“If we offered a discount our channel partners would cry foul and if we don’t the end customers aren’t happy.”
Johnston says the aim of the site is not to supplant the reseller channel but to supplement it.
“We fully expect users will configure the gear online, print out the spec sheets and take it in to a reseller to buy the product there. We aren’t intending to replace the channel with this site, but to add value.”
Johnston says the reseller channel is very important to Apple and to Renaissance but it’s important to offer the user the choice of ordering online if they want to.
Johnston says Renaissance won’t be offering resellers a cut of online sales as other IT companies have done in the past when offering a direct selling solution alongside traditional reseller channels.
“This model is working exactly the same way as Apple would work it if they were in the country themselves. There is a cost involved in putting all this together. We believe it’s a complimentary offering to a customer who potentially would not go through a reseller for whatever reason.”
Johnston says the site will help sell Apple as a brand which will in turn benefit the reseller channel.
He says in coming months the site will be offering third-party products including instant finance.
“We’ll also be offering a configuration tool so users can choose the parts they want for their machines online.”