Have you read the book — The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty — by Carmine Gallo? Whether you are a retailer or a store designer, in either case, give it a read. If you are looking for inspiration to make your retail store successful, learn from the best. Apple can actually teach you how to stay at the top of your game.
In the US, Apple is the most profitable retailer — generating approximately $5,600 per square foot and attracting more than 20,000 visitors every week. Their loyalty rate has reached 90% in 2018. How? Apple had begun with concentrating on a seamless customer experience with the opening of their first store. And they have stuck to this commitment with every new retail outlet they opened since then. Check out these statistics:
Several online giants offer Apple merchandise at discounted prices. During online purchases, buyers can also often skip paying sales tax. Still, so many individuals prefer an Apple store to make their purchase, rather than getting it done within a few clicks. Why? Some factors are the store’s appealing design and architecture, product placement, customer experience, and knowledgeable, trained staff.
Yes, these are a few reasons behind Apple stores’ tremendous success. Let us try to decipher some of these secrets in detail. Let us also decode some important lessons that you can learn from this company that holds the largest global market value.
Giving Visitors the Chance to Physically Test Products
What’s the first thing you notice when you enter an Apple store? Macbooks and iPhones positioned at obtuse angles — slightly above 90 degrees — making it convenient for customers to touch the products. Employees will encourage visitors to try the notebooks or smartphones as long as they want. There is free Internet as well. This increases the sense of ownership and goes a step ahead in converting a potential buyer into an actual buyer.
“When you touch something, you instantly feel more of a connection to it,” says Suzanne Shu, a marketing professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, in the article – ‘Want to Save Some Money? Shop Without Touching’.
Apple doesn’t control the buying experience. The store doesn’t limit the shopping process by locking away merchandise from interested shoppers. In fact, they allow consumers to control the entire buying procedure.
Therefore, what can you learn from this strategy?
- As a designer, allow optimal space for customers to test products in your store. You can put up small signs saying the same.
- As a retailer, instruct your employees to approach shoppers and encourage them to try your items on display.
Creating a Simple, Spacious Store Layout
Most retailers today go for transparent windows to allow a glimpse of the store inside. However, glass displays only show those items that are placed just behind a particular window. But if you see an Apple store, you will be able to get a complete view of all their merchandise.
Such a visually simple architecture actually invites shoppers to enter and explore the store. Usage of more marketing signs and cluttered merchandise may prove unappealing at times.
Now, what do you learn from this?
- Try to do away with mannequins or signs that obstruct the view. If you do place any display, keep it minimal. You can put signs on the sidewalk in fact.
- Keep your store well lit and allow complete visibility from outside.
For further reading: https://www.smartsheet.com/store-layout
Hiring Employees Who Enrich the Store with Their Experience
Have you heard about the A-P-P-L-E Store Steps of Service?
In their training, Apple store employees are taught to listen to customers and solve their queries. Instead of hard-selling, they help out shoppers by recommending solutions and proposing the value that a purchase can add to a customer’s lifestyle.
Apple also doesn’t pay employees on a commission basis. This enables staff members to put their best in enriching the customer’s experience.
Therefore, as a retailer, try to pay your staff on an hourly basis without setting sales goals. Also, train them to listen to shoppers and help them with suggestions.
Translating Brand Vision into the Retail Environment through Design
Apple holds the leading stand in the industry of creating a complete retail store experience. One of the major strategies they employ is hiding the cash counter from direct view. You actually feel like walking into a gadget museum. They organise products according to context, rather than on the basis of type. Even their design in every outlet is consistent — across all channels. Their displays comprise of simple flat panels which allow easy and quick replacements when required.
Creating a Learning Environment
Have you ever given a thought about how you can convert your store into a learning platform instead of a selling area? Try implementing this strategy from Apple stores. Disseminate knowledge on subjects about which your customers possess minimal know-how. This, in turn, will generate loyalty.
Let us illustrate this with an example. The Apple store had launched the unique $99 one-year membership program to help people understand as well as enjoy their computers. Instructors give personalised instructions within the store premises on topics such as Mac OS basics, website design, editing videos and images, or making presentations. The main aim behind this program was to aid shoppers to understand a product. This, in turn, ensures that a customer enjoys the merchandise and builds a long-term relationship with the company.
In a nutshell, while Apple’s engineers guarantee you about the quality of their items, their stores ensure likability and trustworthiness. Even you can take inspiration from this retail giant and incorporate some of their ideas into your store. Give your customers a memorable experience, stick to your brand vision, and hire the right people who understand your culture. With a bit of innovation, you can create a space that embodies all your values within its brick and mortar walls.
For further reading:
There is always an assumption that Apple has a lot of money which is why they’ve built an amazing retail experience. What many people don’t realize is that they started working on this retail experience at the brink of bankruptcy. Apple focused heavily on retail experience, and this focus has contributed to their overall success today.