My local Tesco contains an Apple Store as a proof of concept with potential to be rolled out nationwide. I just called with a sales enquiry and this is an approximate transcript of the conversation:
Tesco Customer Service: “Hello, Tesco Kingston – how can I help you?”
Me: “Hello, I understand you have a dedicated Apple Store within the store.”
Tesco Customer Service: “Yes sir, we do. Would you like to speak to someone there?”
Me: “Yes please.”
(… short wait …)
Tesco Electrical Department: “Electrical.” (imagine estuary English “am I bovvered” accent)
Me: “Hello, I understand that you have an Apple Store – please can you tell me is that just for new sales or is do you offer upgrades?”
Tesco Electrical Department: “Upgrades – what is that? [like]”
Me: “Can I speak to someone in the Apple Store please?”
Tesco Electrical Department: “There’s no-one here from that section – what did you want to know?”
(Luckily, after I was insistent that I wanted to speak to someone in the Apple Store, they suddenly became available and confirmed that they do not offer an upgrade service).
Let’s look at this proof of concept in a little more detail. Apple is a brand with a tremendous image and huge customer loyalty (albeit with less-than-brilliant technical support) looking to gain an increased market presence. On the other hand, Tesco is known as a supermarket monopolist (accounting for more than Â£1 in every Â£8 spent on the high street in the UK – hence the attraction for Apple) and (in my experience) also delivers shocking customer service. Not exactly a marriage made in heaven… at least not if Apple wants to retain its reputation.