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To sell the Apple Watch, Apple may go where it has never been before

Published Feb 20th, 2015 8:00AM EST
Apple Watch Release
Image: Apple Inc.

One of the more interesting facets of the impending Apple Watch launch centers on where the device will be sold. While Apple traditionally sells consumer devices which fit right in at brick and mortar retail shops like Best Buy, the Apple Watch represents an entirely different type of product altogether.

With the high-end models rumored to cost thousands of dollars, the Apple Watch is as much about personal luxury as it is about technology. To that end, one of the looming questions surrounding the Apple Watch launch is whether or not Apple might try to place select models in high-end department stores and watch boutiques.

In an indication that the answer to that question might be a resounding “yes,” 9to5Mac reports that Apple may be planning to do just that in Paris.

According to multiple reports out of France, Apple is constructing a dedicated display for the upcoming Apple Watch in some upscale Paris-based retail outlets. The reports say that the size of the display is close to the length of a few small balconies and that Apple Retail Senior Vice President Angela Ahrendts has been directing the construction of the booth at retailer Galeries Lafayette on Champs Elysees.

At this point, it’s unclear if the display is intended to be permanent or, perhaps, simply a temporary set up to be used solely in conjunction with the Apple Watch launch. That said, it’s worth pointing out that Ahrendts, in her role as CEO of Burberry, was instrumental in ably transforming Burberry stores into more modern and luxury-oriented shopping destinations.

While it remains to be seen if Apple plans similar displays in the U.S., Ariel Adams of aBlogtoWatch touched on the topic of Apple Watch points of sale this past Fall.

What is more interesting is where Apple Watches will be sold. All of a sudden, Apple has created a product that might not be ideal for sale only at the Best Buy stores of the world, but rather, high-end boutiques and department stores. Apple didn’t confirm anything, but they did offer an enthusiastic hint of “that is an interesting idea” when I brought up the topic of selling the Apple Watch in non-traditional outlets such as jewelers, watch stores, and department stores. Literally nothing is out of the question at this point in regard to where people might be able to purchase an Apple Watch, outside of buying directly from Apple.

Marketing wise, positioning the Apple Watch as a luxury item deserving of placement in high-end boutiques makes a whole lot of sense. Best Buy may be perfectly serviceable for items like DVDs, TVs, and iPhones, but a multi-thousand dollar watch? Not so much. Now this isn’t to say that Apple shouldn’t sell its upcoming watch at Best Buy at all, but rather that additional retail shops should also be taken into consideration.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.