There’s money and perceived value. That explains why the iPhone is such a big seller at Walmart. The retail giant discounts a premium product, and combined with the low barrier to entry subsidy from the cell phone company, makes it an easy decision. Here’s how Apple works to ban mediocrity.
Easy vs. Difficult
Apple’s history as a technology company, at a general and somewhat high level, is hallmarked by making easy what was once difficult or cumbersome.
Arguably, the Mac is easier and more secure than Windows PCs, but priced higher, which makes the PC the epitome of mediocrity. Likewise, iPhone and iPad are considered premium brands, arguably easier to use and more secure than their Android copycats, and priced accordingly. It’s premium vs. mediocrity.
Somewhere in the mix is actual value and perceived value. If Apple products are perceived as too expensive by the masses, buyers flock to products with lower prices. So, lowering the barrier to entry is one of Apple’s prime objectives.
Actual value is a different issue, and remains the domain of those who actually buy and use products. Apple fares well, despite a higher initial price tag, because even used Apple products command a premium price, mitigating the total cost of ownership.
Recently, Walmart-backed MCX, a consortium of money-hungry retailers trying to take back a few percentage points from credit card companies, created a mobile payment product called CurrentC. It competes with Apple Pay, Apple’s new, secure, and simple mobile payment system.
Apple Pay is everything CurrentC is not, so MCX affiliates are blocking Apple Pay from their payment system, substituting a mobile payment system that is less secure and more complex to use, but one which saves the retailers a percent or two on the transactions.
In other words, Walmart and its gang of non-customer centric retailers prefer to give mobile payment customers an inferior mobile buying experience that contrasts with Apple’s simplified but more secure Apple Pay system (backed by most major banks who wish to retain the percentages that Walmart and MCX wish to keep for themselves).
For those retailers, mediocrity prevails and it shows in how they treat customers. How can the customer fight back and put pressure on a retailer to provide better treatment? Money. Or, rather, no money, as in ‘don’t spend money for a mediocre shopping experience.’ It is time to boycott mediocrity in favor of quality customer service.