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Article: An Apple Store Catalog?

by on June 20, 2005

Why is it that my mailbox is flooded with catalogs from ClubMac, MacZone, CDW, MacConnection, Dell, and countless others trying to sell me a new computer and I still order my machines direct from Apple? Is it that I like having a simplified way of checking on my order and not having to deal with any hidden fees for installing upgrades? Could it be that I like customizing my computer just the way I want and still have it run Mac OS X? After pondering this for awhile, I don’t really have an answer, but I did get an idea.

Apple DirectWhy doesn’t Apple start their own mail-order catalog? They already sell their products over the phone and online, like any of the other catalog vendors. They also have the advantage of retail stores in many areas. The cost to print and mail such booklets would be fractional compared to the publicity and public awareness they’d get. Many people think of Apple as “the iPod company that makes computers nobody uses”.

Even though I have no intention of buying a PC, especially a Dell, I still thumb through each catalog just to get a glance at what’s out there. Sometimes they have special deals on non-Dell items. We ordered a Canon digital video camera from Dell, since it had a nice fat discount, making it cheaper than most other places. The free shipping was icing on the cake.

Apple already has a wonderful online store. The awards prove it. Their retail stores, although plain, are always busy. Apple needs to bring the store to people who haven’t made the effort. They could have a catalog formatted like this:

  • Part 1: Macs (each model gets 2 pages to highlight features, custom upgrades, and other models – different screen-sized models would share pages)
  • Part 2: iPods (somehow divide the iPod family across 4 pages)
  • Part 3: Other Apple products
  • Part 4: Printers, displays, scanners, and other large desktop peripherals
  • Part 5: Digital cameras
  • Part 6: Desktop Mac accessories
  • Part 7: PowerBook/iBook accessories
  • Part 8: iPod accessories
  • Part 9: Software

The overall approach is much like any other Mac-oriented reseller’s catalog. The emphasis is just shifted to the computer systems, and what you can do with them, not just selling you something. Think of it like Apple’s informational pages and the Apple Store web site combined.

Although the Mac sales are growing by 40% these days, increased public awareness doesn’t hurt. Besides, TV ads, like many suggest may be a start, but it only reminds you to check out A physical piece of paper lets you peruse your options anywhere.

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