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Lisa Malin, Marketing Manager

We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but a small company called Apple will shortly be launching their long-awaited new product – the Apple Watch. The first wearable device from the company has been hotly anticipated, so we take a look at how the super brand’s retail strategy for launching the Apple Watch into the market.

Product

The Apple Watch is the first new product from Apple since the iPad in April 2010. Although this is a new category for Apple, it is not a new concept for the technology market – put simply, it is a wearable device. If connected to an iPhone, the user will be able to receive information, texts, and emails and even receive calls via the watch. It is also a fitness tracker which can monitor heart rate measurements. Consumers will also be able to make payments via Apple Pay and it could be so much more depending on the apps that users could install.

Price

The price strategy that Apple is using is interesting. With the lowest price being £299 in the UK, when it launches on 24 April, going up to a staggering £13,500 for an 18-carat gold model – pitching it up against the premium watch brands like Omega, Rolex and more. This is a clear indicator of their premium positioning and helps create a sense of desire from consumers.

Place

In the UK, Apple will be previewing the Apple Watch in Selfridges on April 10 and will then be rolled out to Dover Street Market and other premium retailers for the full launch on April 24th.

As part of their retail strategy, along with the ‘standard’ models, there will be limited edition models which will be sold in ‘exclusive’ and specially selected retailers. This channel strategy supports the premium positioning that Apple are aiming for.

In terms of in-store space for the Apple Watch, it is understood that Apple will remove all other wearable devices from its stores to make room for displaying the watches. It is also reported that from April 10 (pre-order date), Apple stores will be offering consumers 15-minute sessions to test the watch. A shrewd move by the retailer – wearing something for long periods of time means that consumers can feel how comfortable the product will be and decide if it’s the right product for them.

There are also rumours abound that Apple will create dedicated stores, pop-up stores and concessions just for the watch in selected retailers. It has also been revealed that Apple will be making adjustments to the Genius Bar, which will be rolling out at the same time as the Apple Watch.

Promotion

Apple has taken a pretty unusual step in by placing a 12-page glossy advert in American Vogue for the launch of the Apple Watch. This further supports the positioning that Apple want to portray with this product – it is a luxury item – to be desired and wanted. Many are speculating that this could allude to Apple’s goal of making technology desirable. The test will be if this becomes a regular occurrence or just a one-off.

Apple Watch Vogue Advert

Summary

The Apple Watch is highly anticipated in the industry, and it is clear they have a well thought through retail strategy. There will certainly be a spike in demand from die-hard Apple fans when it launches. The test will be after this point when demand calms down. The marketing and channel strategy will need to be monitored and adjusted to reach their sales objectives.