RENAISSANCE New Zealand is keen to mirror the Apple strategy currently being employed in Australia around mass merchants in the retail space.
Apple has just launched the new Solutions Consultant (ASC) programme and Paul Johnston, head of the Apple division at Renaissance, says it will be duplicated here. This means tweaking the current retail strategy the distributor has aggressively been pushing around Apple.
“They’ve got [the ASC] running over there and we’re mirroring the exact same programme already. We’ve got a couple of people on board at the moment and are still hiring new people. We had people over in Australia running through the training programme,” he says.
At the beginning of the year so as to ramp up Apple’s presence within local retailers, Renaissance put Black Shirts into stores, who are sales staff employed by the distributor but who work within the Harvey Norman and Big Byte stores. However, now Johnston says this strategy is going to be “fine tuned”.
“We’ve been in mass merchants a lot longer than Australia has. We’ve been in the mass market but not necessarily had the dedicated resource per store. So we’ve had our Black Shirts floating between the stores,” he says.
Apple Australia has a different approach, as there are stricter criteria to adhere to in the programme.
“They have to have a store within a store, and they have to have a dedicated resource whereas because we’ve been in there for three or four years, we’ve got a slightly different approach. We will definitely be adopting their approach,” Johnston says.
“We had made the product to let’s say every Harvey Norman store but we’ve only got a dedicated resource ASC in two or three stores. Whereas in Australia, if they’re going into a David Jones store they won’t give the pro-duct to all the David Jones stores they’ll only give it to the stores where they’ve got a store within a store and a dedicated resource. It’s a much more focused approach.”
The Black Shirts will be targeting specific stores over the next three to four weeks, Johnston says.