Apple Retail Stores' Secret to Success: 10 Big Factors

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-23

Apple Retail Stores' Secret to Success: 10 Big Factors

Apple on May 19 celebrated 10 successful years at retail. The company started its retail push hoping to get more consumers to think about buying Apple computers. Now, more than 10 years later, the company's stores have become destinations for people around the globe to try out new products and determine if Apple's devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Macs, are really best for them.

Apple's ability to be successful at retail where others, most notably Gateway, have failed is nothing short of astounding. The company had the cards stacked against it, but with the help of some neat ideas and highly sought-after products, it was able to win out. Now, Apple's stores have become the benchmark by which all other retail outlets are judged.

How does Apple continue to be so successful at retail? Read on to find out:

1. Simplicity

Apple made the smart move of making the retail experience in its stores simple. When consumers go into one of its stores they find a clean, simple look that invites them to try out products. Once they find what they're looking for, they can simply tell one of the salespeople and walk out of there in a matter of minutes with a new Apple product in hand. Simplicity reigns supreme in Apple retail stores, and Apple is profiting heavily because of it.

2. Do what you want on what you want

Unlike so many other stores that were welcoming customers 10 years ago, Apple realized that the best way to get folks to think about its products was to give them some freedom. So, the company sets up its Macs and offers free Web connectivity to customers. They can come in, check their email, surf the Web a bit and walk out without buying a single product if they'd like. If they find something they might want, they can try the Mac out and determine if it's right for them. Giving consumers that freedom is a smart move.

3. The Genius Bar

As consumers who have trouble with computers or electronics know all too well, calling customer service can be a pain. Getting something fixed by sending it away is even worse. To solve that issue, Apple has relied upon Genius Bars at its retail stores, allowing folks who have questions or issues to talk to one of the company's "Geniuses" to get their products fixed. That has helped Apple deliver some of the best customer service of any company in the market.

4. The classes

Because of the influence Windows enjoys, there are millions of folks around the globe who might be concerned about using a Mac. To address that, Apple holds special classes to give consumers the basics on using its computers. It also sets up products before consumers leave to make the experience as simple for them as possible. Combine that with the many other classes that go on at an Apple Store, and it quickly becomes clear that Apple has the educational aspect of retail perfectly in place.

Stores Mirror Apples Genius for Clever Design


5. A knowledgeable staff helps

When consumers or even enterprise customers go to the Apple Store to learn more about products, they find that the salespeople are knowledgeable and can instantly answer many of their questions. That's quite nice. In far too many retail outlets, including big-box electronics retail stores, salespeople aren't as knowledgeable about their products. As a result, consumers leave without buying a product. Apple's stores don't have that issue, and the company is generating boatloads of cash because of it.

6. Apple's computer design

Before there was an iPhone or an iPad, Apple relied upon its computers to lure customers into its stores. For the most part, the company did a fine job of getting those customers to come in. Apple's hardware is unique, and it inspires people to at least check it out. By making its store inviting and leaving its computers open to customers to try, the company was able to capitalize heavily on the appeal of its unique designs.

7. The mobile goods

Apple's iPod music player is arguably the most important reason its stores have been able to perform so well over the years. The device was the product that helped Apple become a huge presence in the technology industry. It brought people running to the company's stores around the globe to try out these unique devices. While they were there, they also tried out Macs and other products, and in some cases, bought those devices as well. Now, Apple has the iPhone and iPad to lure customers in. With the help of its mobile products, Apple's retail stores simply wouldn't be as successful as they are today.

8. Making the experience an event

When Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007, the company made the experience of buying the smartphone an event. In stores across the U.S., people who bought the iPhone were welcomed by an army of Apple salespeople, and when they left, they received applause and cheers. Apple has used other unique techniques to make the retail experience special. Along the way, it has only helped its chances of bringing more people into its stores.

9. Unique store designs

Apple is all about design. The company's computers and mobile products are some of the best-looking products on the market. To help attract customers, Apple has taken that same design-focused strategy to retail. Many of the company's stores, including those in New York City, boast such unique architectural designs that consumers just want to see it. The architecture of Apple's stores are just as important to the company's bottom line as its products.

10. The Apple brand

Though there are many unique features that make shopping at Apple's stores so appealing to consumers, the company's brand could be one of the biggest reasons it has been so successful at brick-and-mortar over the years. Apple is one of the most respected companies in the industry. With each new launch, consumers around the globe want to get their hands on what it's offering. The quickest, no-risk way to do that is in an Apple Store. As nice as its stores are, the Apple brand attracts more customers than anything else.

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