Daily Dose of iQ: Keys to the Apple Store Experience

Aug 31, 2011 — Allan Pulga

In May of this year, Apple celebrated the 10th anniversary of its highly successful Apple stores. How successful?

Apple stores rank number-one for delivering a superior shopping experience, according to RetailWire (April 2010). Apple stores have a "lofty" Net Promoter Score of 70 percent, according to Rob Markey of the Harvard Business Review (Aug. 9).

And just last week, RetailSails announced that Apple stores generate more sales per square foot than any other U.S. retailer: $5,626 per square foot, to be exact, wrote Don Reisinger of CNET News (Aug. 24)

To celebrate its stores' 10th anniversary, Apple created a poster identifying lessons it has learned in its foray into brick-and-mortar retail.

Bernhard Schindlholzer of Customer Experience Academy published the entire contents of this poster (June 9).

"(The poster) shows once again just how far ahead Apple is with regard to their understanding of creating remarkable customer experiences," he writes. "The poster is directed to all Apple employees, especially Apple Retail employees."

Because Apple's retail experience is worth paying attention to, for all retailers and people working on creating great customer experiences (like us!), here are some of the poster's highlights:

  • Treat every day with the same enthusiasm you had on the first day.
  • Give customers just as much attention as they give you.
  • Hire the right people for the right positions.
  • Adapt to the neighborhood rather than expect the neighborhood to adapt to you.
  • Pay attention to the details: Apple found out how to make steel more scuff resistant. The company also installed 50,000 tiles in restoring the Paris Opera store.
  • Creating an iconic and unique space makes it an attraction: The glass cube Apple Store on Fifth Avenue "can stand tall even among the giants of the Manhattan skyline," making it the fifth most photographed landmark in New York City.
  • The right store design is critical. Apple thought ministores would be the most convenient store type. "Then we built one. Which showed us that bigger can actually be better."
  • Listen to customer preferences: They like open spaces, glass staircases, and handcrafted oak tables.
  • Talk to your customers more. Face-to-face if possible.
  • Talk to your cusotmers while they play with the products on the tables.
  • Invite them in for a workshop -- They like your products, sure, but what they really want is to learn how to use these products to make their lives easier.
  • Allow customers to have fun in your store.
  • "Every staff member should be as fluent in the needs of a business customer as the needs of any other customer."
  • Ask questions. "And genuinely listen to the answers."
  • "We’ve learned that a visit to the Genius Bar can fix more than just computers. It can also restore a customer’s relationship with Apple."
  • For product launches, work hard to ensure supply meets demand.
  • Help customers as efficiently as possible.
  • At the center of everything you learn is your people. Hire the best people you can for each task, from every discipline. "Look for intelligence but give just as much weight to kindness."
  • "Why have we learned to be so selective? So careful? Because our people are the soul of the Apple Stores. And together, our team is the strongest ever seen in retail.

Topics: Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience

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