For many, part of the thrill of buying a new iPhone or MacBook is heading to an Apple outlet and enjoying the Cupertino company’s first-class in-store experience.
Friendly staff, great architecture, and a personal purchasing experience that’s unlike anything other.
After all, Apple’s staff know their products inside out, so can recommend the right hardware and software for your needs, whether it’s for business or pleasure.
But shopping has changed a lot in the past couple of years, and with the coronavirus crisis causing retailers to close their doors as local infections spike, many are now looking into alternatives when shopping.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the pros and cons of buying from third-party vendors….
PRO: Special offers and deals
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of buying from third-party vendors, whether that’s BestBuy or an independent technology store, is that you’ll often find special offers on Apple’s products.
That might be a direct discount off a new device, or a promotion such as Verizon’s recently-announced Apple TV+ offer, where subscribers will receive six months service free.
Depending on where in the world you are and what you’re buying, you can also avoid sales taxes, and you might even get some freebies like a pair of headphones or a new case for your phone.
Companies go the extra mile to deliver a good service (and earn your loyalty).
CON: Lack of product knowledge
As we’ve already touched upon, Apple’s in-store teams have extensive product knowledge and have personally used the Macs, iPhones, and HomePods they sell.
Chances are, if you’ve got a niche question, you can walk into a store or speak to an advisor online and get an answer there and then, whereas third-party resellers will need to rely on handbooks or trusty old Google to give you an answer. It all depends on the purpose of your purchase.
PRO: Access to retail outlets
Apple has 510 stores in its retail footprint, with 271 of those in the United States.
Elsewhere, you’ll find Apple Stores in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and more.
But the truth is, outside of the US and Canada, stores are only in major cities, and they can be hard to reach.
Third-party resellers bring Apple products closer to home, and they’re a great alternative to shopping online if you prefer to hold a product in your hand first.
CON: Returns policies may be different
Apple has a generous returns policy and offers amongst the best aftercare in the industry.
Although you can still access aftercare (you can walk into an Apple Store with a broken iPhone and have it fixed, wherever you originally purchased it), a reseller’s returns policy might not be as generous or lenient.
Speak to a sales advisor before you hand over your credit card so you understand your rights – if it can’t be returned, alarm bells should ring.
PRO: Supporting independent businesses
Apple is one of the wealthiest companies in the world.
Though it’s retail outlets make up only a very small portion of its revenue, supporting independent technology businesses is great. Sure, the vast majority of the purchase price goes back to Apple, but you’re also helping out the little guy, who relies on sales from locals in an increasingly digital-first world.
You might even find that you can build a better relationship with your local tech expert; they’ll be on hand when you need some help, and may even be able to personally deliver your new Mac.
CON: Bypass Apple’s educational discounts
Though Apple rarely runs special offers or promotions, its annual Back to School event is very popular amongst students and lecturers.
They offer a discount on a new Mac or iPad and throw in a free pair of AirPods as a thank you.
Third-party resellers don’t offer schemes as generous, but remember: these are only available for students with a valid ID. Third-party offers, like $250 off the latest MacBook Pro, will never be available at an Apple Store.
Has this guide helped you make a more informed decision about where to buy your next Mac or iPhone? Let us know on social media and check back soon for more handy guides.