Apple Stores inside Tesco… not a marriage made in heaven

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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 Englisham 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 £1 in every £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.

3 thoughts on “Apple Stores inside Tesco… not a marriage made in heaven

  1. I visited the store today… this is no Apple Store – it’s a space about 3 metres x 5 metres in the furthest corner of the Tesco electrical department with cabinets on two sides. They don’t even stock all Apple products (no evidence of any Minis this morning) and all the staff I saw nearby were Tesco staff (i.e. not Apple). Although there is Apple merchandising on the display and there are Apple logos on the floor of the store leading to the display there is no real evidence that Apple are involved with this concept… a big disappointment.

  2. A couple of nights back I checked on the “Apple Store” in Tesco. It’s terrible. There’s no sales staff (the point of sale nearby is for the whole electrical department and usually has a queue), the display stock is strewn all over the place, the advertising boards include pre-Intel items like PowerBooks, it has old models of iMacs, Mac Minis, and MacBook Pros (didn’t see a MacBook), very few iPods (only some second-generation Nanos) and most of the stock appears to be iPod accessories.

    I guess the Tesco-Apple marriage didn’t work out. At least we should be getting a “real” Apple Store soon.

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