Best Buy will be the first big retailer to sell Apple Watch outside of Apple's own retail stores starting in August. Adding Apple Watch to its in-store product lineup at Best Buy expands in store availability in a big way, which is good news for people who don't live near an Apple Store, and helps boost the idea that it's a product for everyone and not just the tech crowd or shopping elite.
Best Buy will offer the Apple Watch Sport and stainless steel Apple Watch in its stores, along with accessories. The company is already part way there because consumers can buy Apple Watch cases and compatible third-party watch bands in its stores right now.
For Apple, the partnership means potential customers who wouldn't otherwise consider an Apple Watch because they don't have an Apple Store near by can check one out. It also means Apple gets its new smart watch in front of more eyes leading into the holiday buying season.
Apple created an air of exclusivity around Apple Watch when it first launched inpart because inventory was so constrained that purchases were limited to the company's online store. You could try on on in Apple's own retail stores, and a handful of high-end retailers such as Selfridges in London and Colette in Paris.
The company was able to ramp up production enough to start selling watches in its own stores in June and now sells the device in 19 countries with more coming this week.
Adding Apple Watch to Best Buy gives Apple 300 more locations where shoppers can go, although it does have a potential drawback. Best Buy's smart watch display areas are little more than a plastic bar with several watches wrapped around them. The displays are ugly and don't help promote the watches they hold, plus they're tucked away with smartphone accessories so they aren't easy to find. Best Buy's smart watch displays are the antithesis of Apple product displays.
Apple does, however, have its own store-in-a-store displays in Best Buy, and that's more likely where Apple Watch will be displayed. That could make Apple's smart watch stand out from the meager competition and make it an easier sell.
Best Buy said it will start selling Apple Watch in 100 of its retail locations and online starting August 7. That will expand to 300 locations in time for the holiday shopping season.