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Apple has dramatically overhauled its premium reseller partner program (APR) by bolstering support for its top-tier channel partners while increasing requirements for entry.
The vendor has also begun co-funding renovations of reseller stores which are prepared to follow the formula of Apple's own retail stores. Apple representatives were strictly enforcing compliance to Apple's retail formula, right down to measuring the distance between displays on the counters.
CRN understands that the My Mac shop - located in the heart of Melbourne's Flinders St, opposite Federation Square - was Australia's first APR to complete the new program nationally, and possibly the first in the world. Apple does not currently have an Apple shop in Melbourne's CBD.
Apple was yet to announce the details yesterday when the Melbourne-headquartered My Mac, opened its doors after a three week renovation which saw it gutted and refurbished under Apple's new APR requirements.
Apple was contacted and did not confirm changes to its reseller partner program but directed resellers to the existing APR website.
CRN also understands that Apple planned to make an official announcement in the coming days but CRN can reveal that under the new program My Mac - and possibly all future APR's - will undergo the following changes:
My Mac Flinders St. shop owner Steve Bardel said that it was a fitting way to celebrate his shop's tenth anniversary.
"You can see that [Apple] obviously has stepped up. Before, I think the APR was only really branding, there was not a uniform [look] - Apple tried to make the shops the same, but they were all different.
"Now I can actually see why My Mac is an APR over an Apple reseller (AR). When you walk into my Melbourne store you can tell you're walking into a premium reseller."
Bardel said that the mandatory requirements in the revised APR program would not appeal to all resellers. "There are some premium resellers out there that probably don't care to carry out in that manner."
APRs in Australia include mass-merchants retailers David Jones, Myer and JB Hi-Fi as well as Next Byte, Mac 1, My Mac, Mac Centres and Computer Now.
Who financed the makeover? Click here for the full interview.
Bardel said Apple was in talks with him for about six months before he re-located next door to his service centre for the three-week refurbishment.
"It was a very easy transition with minimum impact on cash flow," he said.
My Mac had two other locations in Australia one in Sydney's Bondi where Apple recently opened up a direct shop and in Melbourne's Northland. Neither shop had begun the transition.
Bardel said the location was what probably prompted Apple to chose it as the flagship Apple premium reseller shop.
"I think it would probably be based on the location, being on Flinders Street opposite Fed's square. It's probably the best APR location in Australia."
Apple was yet to confirm whether all existing Apple premium resellers were required to join the updated program but Bardel said, "They're contacting every APR."
Are you an Apple premium reseller? Have you been contacted by Apple? Let us know.
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Issue: 315 | May 2013
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