Apple opened its first Apple retail shops 20 years in the past on May 19, 2001 — and shortly grew to become one of the profitable retailers on this planet — at the very least, it was within the time earlier than COVID-19.What Apple did with retail“The Apple stores offer an amazing new way to buy a computer,” stated Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Rather than just hear about megahertz and megabytes, customers can now learn and experience the things they can actually do with a computer, like make movies, burn custom music CDs, and publish their digital photos on a personal website.”As ever with Jobs, he informed the reality. These weren’t laptop retailers within the typical sense. That wasn’t what Apple needed to attain.These outlets supplied experiences designed to bolster the importance of its merchandise. A number of Windows customers purchased their first Macs there.I can nonetheless recall critics who thought Apple’s resolution to launch its personal chain of retail shops was doomed to fail. “I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake,” then-president of Channel Marketing Corp. David Goldstein stated on the time.That wasn’t the neatest callInstead, the chain grew to become a retail success story, producing extra revenue per sq. foot than anyplace else and attracting 1000’s of every day guests earlier than the pandemic final yr.Apple turned these areas into flagships that exemplified the corporate’s model, labored them to construct connections with prospects and used them to offer the absolute best setting by which to discover its merchandise. Along the way in which, it noticed many rivals try and emulate its retailer experiences, whereas these past the Apple backyard borrowed these notions to assist them enhance their retail expertise.These days, notably on the premium finish of the market, you possibly can simply see the affect of Apple on retailer design. So, in what approach was Apple forward of its time?Apple’s six lessonsI spoke with Dave Bruno, director of retail trade insights at retail know-how firm Aptos, to search out out what Apple did proper.“Apple’s iPods completely reimagined the way we discover, purchase, store and consume music,” he stated. “iPhones completely reimagined the mobile phone experience. iPads defined tablet computing. And Apple Stores completely reimagined the role of the store in the shopping journey.”Here are the important thing classes he thinks Apple taught the retail trade:1. Unify the model“The iconic Apple brand was built on its ability to consistently deliver exceptional user experiences,” Bruno said. “User experiences are the North Star that has guided its development of every operating system, device and app for decades. Apple customers have responded with fierce loyalty and commitment to the brand. When Apple opened Apple Stores 20 years ago, the highly customer-centric, efficient and intuitive store experiences both mirrored and enriched Apple’s brand promise to its customers. And their stores became a natural extension of the relied-upon brand.”2. Offer friction-free commerce“Apple Stores essentially defined the concept of frictionless commerce. Once the iPhone (and later the iPad) were released, Apple Store sales associates began using the same devices that invented and redefined consumer computing behaviors to check inventory, create a shopping cart, accept payment and generate a receipt all without leaving the customer’s side.”This type of transaction may seem commonplace today, but when Apple introduced it 14 years ago it was revolutionary,” Bruno said. “Customers love the intimacy and efficiency of this retail moment, and many retailers have been trying to deliver similar friction-free experiences.”3. Focus on the expertise, not the transaction“While Apple certainly delivers frictionless transactions, its stores make you feel like the transaction is the least important part of your experience,” Bruno said.”Apple dedicates huge chunks of what many analysts consider “prime selling space” to something however promoting. Rather, Apple invests in areas designed to encourage you to discover, loosen up and experiment with its merchandise. Theaters, viewing rooms and playrooms give individuals the chance to immerse themselves contained in the Apple model. Selling is a seeming afterthought to expertise, interplay and schooling.”4. Trust is de facto, actually essential“Retail has long understood that the more people trust you, the more they buy from you. Apple Stores engender deep trust with customers by staffing their stores with knowledgeable, helpful and available experts. And while the Genius Bar certainly evokes deep support and expertise, associate expertise is by no means limited to the Genius Bar. Every store associate has deep training that leads to well-rounded product knowledge — and they have tools at hand to help answer many more questions.”5. Integrate every part“Apple Stores were omnichannel-aware from day one. Purchases made in one store or channel are and have always been immediately available to staff in the entire Apple ecosystem. Genius Bar appointments made online could be amended, changed or cancelled in store, and vice versa. Inventory availability has never been more than a tap away from customers and associates alike, and every Apple Store experience is also a (seamlessly integrated) Apple brand experience.”6. Data drives outcomes“Because Apple Stores have been omnichannel-aware from the start, the shops had entry to (and added to) a treasure trove of client knowledge. Apple was one of many first to truly notice the long-anticipated imaginative and prescient of ‘a single view of the shopper.'”By coupling that single view of the shopper with a single view of the enterprise, Apple may put that knowledge to work to drive buyer outcomes that led to better belief, extra gross sales and even deeper loyalty.”Please comply with me on Twitter, or be part of me within the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions teams on MeWe.
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.