Apple Retail Stores' Secret to Success: 10 Big Factors

News Analysis: Apple's retail stores have celebrated their 10th anniversary. Now they feature a new look aimed at keeping the shoppers flowing in. What has made them so popular over the years?

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.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...