Although Apple’s existing stores are often in prestigious locations, the company’s approach to marketing the Apple Watch means that it is taking over retail space alongside luxury brands, inside high-end department stores and boutiques, writes Sam Byford for The Verge.
Apple Watch to be sold in Isetan, Tokyo
A perfect example of this strategy is the new Apple Watch shop inside the Isetan department store, one of the biggest and most famous in Japan. The shop is currently under construction, and its black hoardings are the first thing that customers see as they enter the department store. The branding is subtle, featuring an Apple Watch label followed by a subtitle which reads “Coming Soon” in Japanese.
The new shop covers a considerable amount of floor space, and counts fine jewelry brand Cartier among its neighbors, which is significant of Apple’s strategy for the Watch. The new product may be technological in nature, but it is after all a wearable, and its success rides on people wanting to wear it.
Taking on luxury brands
Apple has decided to take on fashion and luxury brands at their own game, and Tokyo provides further examples of this strategy in action. Apple opened a new store in the fahionable district of Omotesando last year, but does not have a store in Akihabara, which is known as a nerd hangout. This could point to Apple striving to be known as a premium brand rather than a tech company.
The Isetan store is scheduled to open April 10, the same day as pop-up shops at Selfridges in London and Galeries Lafayette in Paris. The three stores will sell the watch from April 24 onward, as will boutiques such as Colette in Paris, Los Angeles’ Maxfield, Berlin’s The Corner and Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo.
With the Watch, Apple is attempting to marry its status as a tech company with a new role as a luxury, trend-setting brand. If the company can pull it off it will be a remarkable success, but the stakes are high.