The Apple Retail Store program has created a consistent brand, product and service experience for its customers that is a more efficient and effective platform for increasing market share. The stores serve as a hub for consumers, providing a venue for sales, hands-on product displays, and in-store customer service and training that is designed with the same quality and innovation as Apple’s products. The stores have also helped re-enforce Apple’s position as a technology leader.
The stores are not mere sales venues; they have changed the relationship between the consumer and the salesperson. Staff is categorized as “concierges,” those who greet and direct customers to the appropriate solution; “specialists,” those who advise and sell; “geniuses,” those who provide service and resolve problems; and “creatives,” those who teach tutorials and provide one-on-one learning. The new design has also transformed the nature of the point-of-sale, making it mobile using iPod Touch mobile check-out systems to create a more personable, efficient experience. All product displays are hands-on and interactive.
Apple has one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the US, according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. The retail store program has contributed to its rating by creating a retail experience that brings more relevance to consumer needs and allows people to experience Apple’s products and life style firsthand.
By providing a high-profile, accessible retail channel, the company is better able to attract, engage and retain its customers. The stores generate 20 percent of Apple’s revenue. Store visitors have increased from an average of 56,000 per store in 2002 to an average of 553,310 per store in 2010. Brand recognition and sales revenue have also increased, from total sales of $5.4 billion in 2001 to $36.5 billion in 2009, and stock prices have soared from approximately $12 in May 2001 to $250 in August 2010.
Credit: Steve Jobs and the Apple Retail Team; Tim Kobe and Wilhelm Oehl, IDSA and team of Eight Inc.; Sylvia Bistrong of ISP Design; James O'Callaghan of Eckersley O'Callaghan and Peter Bohlin of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson for Apple Retail Stores
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