12/30/08
9:13 pm

What Walmart Selling the iPhone Really Means

Buy an iPhone at Walmart, save $2!
$2? What’s the big deal? Why is everyone so excited about the iPhone being at Walmart?
After all, it has been available at 250 Apple Stores in the U.S. since mid 2007. And it can be found at even more AT&T stores. But Walmart does add one very interesting aspect — besides the $2.
Walmart grew to become the nation’s largest retailer by starting outside of cities. Instead, Sam Walton but his stores in the thousands of small towns and cities across the country. They went where others wouldn’t go. Even today, when there are plenty of Walmarts in the big cities too, Walmart can be found in just about every small city and town in the U.S.
So, for Apple and the iPhone, this means that they can now reach places that the Apple Store and AT&T can’t. For instance, in my home state of Colorado, there are six Apple Stores. Five are in the Denver/Boulder area and one in Colorado Springs. But go west across the mountains and you get to Grand Junction where there you are a four hour drive from the nearest Apple Store and you were previously left with only one choice: a single AT&T store that sells the iPhone (at least according to the AT&T site). But you have three Walmarts.
Now go south to Durango, Colorado. A great place. But no Apple Store, no AT&T store. But 2 Walmarts.
You get the idea. With 5,700+ Walmarts Apple has significantly extended its iPhone sales reach.
Walmart has been known to make or break small manufacturing companies by simply deciding whether or not to stock their product. Apple’s OK with or without Walmart, but with this deal they move one step closer to dominating the smart phone market.