Case 4 – Apple store
Apple realized in the 1990s that stores will help sell more computers. Apple also concentrated on demonstration of products, so they put their employees in outlets and stores to educate customers. Apple does not want to be at the mercy of big box stores to sell Macs, so they designed their own stores. They designed the stores with the focus to match customer interest. Their first store was opened in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia in May 2001.
There two types of stores: in-mall and street facing. Storefronts are typically all glass with a backlit Apple logo. Store interiors use only glass, stainless steel and wood. The backroom areas include restroom, offices, and inventory area. Store layout display focus on placement of hardware for hands-on use. A small children’s area houses Apple computers running children’s software. The Genius Bar takes up the back wall with stools before the counters.
The layout is free-form which allows customer to browse according to their own interests. Lighting is used to draw attention and create a sense of excitement. One-on-one demonstration and face-to-face appointments are fundamentals of customer service at the Apple store. The company also offers free instructional workshop every day for new users.
- Have you ever visited an Apple store? If yes, did you make a purchase? Why or why not?
Yes I have visited an Apple store many times. I did make a purchase a couple of times for my laptop and phone. I also sometimes went into the stores just to see what is the new product and try it out myself. I also could ask any question about the interesting products. I am currently very interested in the Apple Watch.
- Why are Apple’s store layout and atmosphere important?
Apple’s store layout is important so that products can be displayed effectively, and employees can see customers even in the most crowded times. Customers can be easily spotted within an open space. Apple store does not have any decoration besides the products. This is to attract customers with the actual products to peak their interests and their want to touch, try and buy the products. That is why the atmosphere is very hands on and friendly. Employees at Apple do not wear suit and tie, they wear jeans and blue t-shirts to look casual and friendly to all types of customers.
- Is Apple America’s best retailer?
I believe that Apple is best retailer in terms of technology products. Iphones are sold out even on pre-orders. People lined up for a day before the release of new products. Apple is successful in getting customers to be loyal to the brand. So much so that customers are willing to wait in line for hours just to get their hands on the newest products of Apple. That is the story of a successful retailer to me. I do not see a lot of hype over new products besides Air Jordan or Black Friday crowds.
- Visit your local Apple store. Does the layout of the store help to provide you with an excellent customer experience? Explain.
The layout at the local Apple store helps provide me an excellent customer experience. As soon as I walked into the stores, I was greeted with employees who asked immediately for my needs. I said Apple Watch, they quickly fetched a Watch expert to walk me to the watches on display. The employee started talking about the Apple Watch styles. The display is so crisp and clean that I could see all available styles at once. The layout of the store is simple, most popular items are displayed at the center, others are around it. The Genius bar is in the back of the store but it is the most visible because it is above the level of the display. The layout helped me quickly see the product I want, and also quickly see where to get help if I need to.
Levy, Weitz and Grewal. (2014). Retail Management. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill