In 2010, Apple and Costco parted ways. At the same time Apple’s divorce with Costco was being completed, dealings with Walmart and Sam’s Club were heating up. Coincidence? We didn’t think so then, and now we don’t believe that's the case now. But rumor is, Apple and Costco are putting aside their differences in order to team up once again.
An email that's been circulating the past week is claimed to be from the Wireless Advocates CEO (Wireless Advocates owns the wireless kiosk contract at Costco), which states:
Is costco a big deal for apple?
Despite Apple products being available at Best Buy or Macy’s and airport kiosks, Costco is still a major pickup for Apple. If Costco remains true to form they won’t be selling Apple products unless they can offer some form of discount over Apple’s traditional MAP pricing. Apple has already loosened its pricing policies for various Mac systems via Best Buy, and Costco’s core competency is bringing lower prices to its members. Without holding a price advantage over its competitors, why would anyone purchase a Costco membership, or more to the point, an Apple product at Costco? Many believe Costco's two-year electronics warranty covers phones. This is not the case via their kiosk contract purchases. Costco's membership dues are what drives their profits, not product sales, thus Apple's products will need to offer some form of price advantage over other retail outlets.
Samsung currently holds the poll position in all Costco's world-wide, and many of Costco's loyal patrons simply buy what Costco has to offer – including smartphones and tablets. Costco is a big deal for Apple as it eliminates an exclusive selling channel for Android partners and will only increase iOS sales.
It appears Tim Cook is more willing than Steve Jobs ever was to offer their products in virtually any channel that it's competitors like Samsung hold an advantage, thus Costco should be the prime target to engage. Costco selling iPhones and iPads for 5% - 10% below other retailer’s prices will be music to the ears of Costco's Clark Howard-like customer base.
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