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T.J. Maxx Mystery Solved: A Marketing Strategy

You remember T.J. Maxx and their brief iPad adventure, right? The popular apparel retail chain started selling iPads last week, at the curious price of $399 – which was $100 off Apple’s suggested price. Steve Jobs, of course, didn’t like the idea and allegedly confirmed a user T.J. Maxx wasn’t an authorized reseller. The Internet, on the other hand, went nuts over the news.

So why did T.J. Maxx sell those iPads in the first place? Well, it turns out it was all a marketing strategy to end up on tech blogs (like this one) and generate traffic in their stores. They bought the iPads from retail (perhaps an Apple Store, who knows) at $40.000, they sold them at $32.000 generating a loss of $8.000 but they ended up on all major blogs and thousands of people visited their stores hoping to find a discounted iPad. With just $8.000, they gained a huge visibility that would have costed way more with standard advertising methods. Very clever.

But together with visibility and cleverness comes Steve Jobs’ naughty list, Fortune reports:

“It’s obviously irritating to Apple that they’re getting used this way,” says PJC’s Gene Munster. “But for $8,000, it’s a brilliant marketing strategy.”

Maybe not so brilliant, if T.J. Maxx had hoped someday to become an authorized Apple reseller.

“Now they’re on Steve’s naughty list,” says Murphy. “And they’re never coming off.

So there you have it. Perhaps you’ll never see T.J. Maxx becoming an authorized Apple reseller in the future but hey, we heard they have some pretty cool scarves in there.

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