The Mac Observer

Skip navigational links

You're viewing an article in TMO's historic archive vault. Here, we've preserved the comments and how the site looked along with the article. Use this link to view the article on our current site:
Apple's Retail Store Lesson: Connect with Customer

Apple's Retail Store Lesson: Connect with Customer

by , 4:00 PM EDT, May 29th, 2007

When Apple launched its chain of retail stores, most analysts predicted doom and gloom. Instead, Apple is teaching the rest of the industry, including Sony, how to do retail right: Connect with the customer.

Randall Stross of the New York Times went shopping in San Francisco. First he visited Sony's flagship store, the Metreon. While the mall outside was crowded, Sony's store itself was "all but deserted. The two uniformed members of the store security staff matched the number of customers I could see browsing the storeís wares."

The author found the same absence of customers at Sony's Style store in Palo Alto, where it was, oddly, hard to get anyone's attention. Not far away was Apple's store. Mr. Stross wrote, "The store was packed, yet the sales people were alert and attentive."

The secret has been more than Apple's fanatic attention to detail in the design of the stores. "... in 2000 and 2001, Mr. Jobs took on a more ambitious challenge than building freestanding museums of design that would show the Apple flag and do little else," the author noted. "He [Jobs] set out to create the conditions most likely to convert museum visitors into actual customers, and then to make those customers feel that they were being pampered long after the sale was consummated."

Apple did something else important, the company made sure the customer could go home with the product. Steve Jobs told the Chain Store Age Executive magazine in 2001, "When I bring something home to the kids, I want to get the smile. I donít want the U.P.S. guy to get the smile."

Apple Stores are designed to move goods, and this stands in contrast with Sony's boutique stores, according to Willard Ander, a senior partner at McMillan Doolittle in Chicago.

"Sony doesnít get retail," Mr. Ander said. "The stores are not energized and not shop-able. [Apple stores extend an] emotional connection to their customers that Sonyís do not."

That's why retail, so hard for every other PC maker, is ridiculously easy for Apple.

Recent Headlines - Updated August 1st

Fri,6:48 PM
Legal Mobile Phone Unlocking Bill to Be Signed into Law
6:18 PM
Brilliant ‘Apple Clickbait Generator’ Makes Apple-Doomed-Articles
6:15 PM
Microsoft’s Sobering Realization: It Can Never Win, Place or Show in the Hardware War
6:10 PM
Kensington X3 Bluetooth Keyboard/Case for iPad Air Can Also Partially Charge it
4:12 PM
Complete iOS 8 + Swift Developers Course (Pre-Order) for $79
1:07 PM
TMO Daily Observations: 2014-08-01
11:18 AM
Apple to Beats: Welcome to the Family
10:42 AM
BadUSB: Undetectable USB flaw Could Expose all Your Tech Gear to Hackers
9:48 AM
Apple Buys Vivendi’s Stake in Beats for $404M [Updated]
8:45 AM
OS X: Configuring FileVault
Thu,9:43 PM
U.S. Appeals Court Rules Microsoft Must Turn Over Email Hosted in Ireland
8:27 PM
T-Mobile Q2 Earnings Suggest Uncarrier Model Works
  • __________
  • Buy Stuff, Support TMO!
  • Podcast: Mac Geek Gab
  • Podcast: Apple Weekly Report
  • TMO on Twitter!