Monday, October 25, 2010

Will the iPad save Christmas? reports today on the phenomenon of the iPad and the impact this consumer electronics device may have on the holiday shopping season.

In case you've missed it, the iPad is now or will be sold in big box retailers like Target, Sam's Club, Best Buy and WalMart, as well as at Verizon stores and on Amazon. For the retailers, it's a bet being placed on the pull of the Apple brand and the intrigue of this product. Yet, it's a gamble given the starting price point of $499 in a store like WalMart which does not seem to have an audience which fits the iPad/tablet sweet spot.

It's also a product which will stay behind glass, in most stores, for security purposes. That will place extra stress on sales associates who'll need to spend extra time with consumers interested in the device.

The distribution impact for Apple is huge--from roughly 300 of its own stores to over 8,000 across America. And, not surprisingly, Apple has negotiated strict terms with the partner retailers including a requirement to feature the iPad on a full page in holiday circulars, as well as in local retail TV.

Once again, Apple has done a masterful job of dictating how growth will be achieved for its business and, in the process, is blunting the introduction of expected tablets and other devices intended to go head-to-head with this iconic brand. All of this makes for an interesting holiday retail season over the next two months.

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