Apple Compares Retail Stores to Five-Star Hotels

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Appleis Senior VP in charge of Appleis retail sales, Ron Johnson, compared their stores to five-star hotels, according to the Associated Press. The elimination of checkout stations, the introduction of the concierge service, and the store design, akin to a library, makes people feel like they belong.

"We try to pattern the feeling to a five-star hotel," said Appleis Ron Johnson. "Itis not about selling. Itis about creating a place where you belong."

The elimination of the checkout stands has made it possible to free up space for extra inventory that can be put on the store floor for easier holiday shopping access. It has also contributed to a less sales oriented feeling that has had the opposite effect of promoting sales.

Mr. Johnson also pointed to the growing personal training service that Apple introduced in 2005. For US$99/year, customers can go in and get personal training on various Apple subjects.

However, the most important contributor is the atmosphere in the stores and the care taken explaining to customers what the Apple products are all about. Mr. Johnson said that these stores are "the front face for Apple now. And weive got so many new customers that we really have to help them understand our services."

Appleis retail stores contributed US$4.2B in revenue to Apple in fiscal 2007. Thatis up from $3.4B in 2006. Most companies can only dream of 24 percent retail sales growth year-over-year.

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