Anyone that knows anything about Apple Stores know that they are different and they have always been different from the very first store.
Many people say that they are not about making sales, but is that really the case? Is there something more, hidden beneath the surface?
Before I go on, I would like to state for the record that I have never worked in an Apple Store, and considering some of my postings in here I probably never will. At one time I would have gladly worked in an Apple Store ( I even went to a few interviews ), but I can no longer see that being a possibility now and as I post more about Apple I can see my chances diminishing.
So, Apple Stores are known for being light, bright, clean & airy stores with loads of products on view and enough staff so that you can get help whenever you need it, but the staff are not there to sell, they are only to help, advise and guide. Well that’s the theory. Some postings on Yelp have said that the staff have been so ‘hands off’ that they have struggled to purchase goods in the store.
Not many people realise that what Apple are really doing is what sales people have been trained to do for years. In my past (it’s not on my CV) I was quickly trained by a TimeShare sales manager during a period of unemployment, when I was trying to help a small Glasgow company create a new line of products ( Boxed teddy bears with high quality chocolates. An experience that slowly descended into selling electrical items around pubs & small shops – not my finest hour and something I wasn’t good at).
Some people reading this are probably thinking “what are you talking about, Apple don’t sell in their stores”.. Well lets look at my training:
- Find the customers needs and desires.
- Find out the barriers to the user purchasing the item.
- Get the customer to handle & use the product ( stimulates ownership).
- Get the customer to envision how their life would be better with the product.
- Minimise negative feelings about the product.
- Emphasise the positives and reinforce the customers ownership of the product.
If you have been into an electrical retailer you will probably recognise some of (if not all) these steps from being ‘accosted’ by sales staff trying to reach their monthly quota. Once you know about them you learn to be distrustful of the sales guys. I know I do, which is why I don’t do sales and don’t know (or associate myself with ) anyone who does.
So if you still can’t see how Apple sell at their Apple Stores here’s the reveal.
- Apple products are out on display and any customer can pick them up and use them (ownership  )
- The products are preloaded with Apple software and high end software from other vendors ( iPhoto, iWorks, iMovie, Final Cut, Toast, etc) ( , which allows customers to envisage how they use the product [ 3 & 6])
- iPhoto, iMovie is full of life affirming photos and movies of sunny, fun, exciting, healthy US trips, vacations. Everyday events ( Birthdays, graduations, etc) all well lit, bright and exciting. ( envision a [better] life with the product )
- Apple Specialists are then on hand to help guide you, finding out what you want to do, talking you through how the product works, finding common interests [1, 2, 5, 6]
- Then there may be concerns over repairs. Apple care is mentioned.
- If there are still concerns over how to use the product, or how to learn more about Apps then there are the Workshops or if it’s something more specific then One-to-One training is mentioned. [2, 5 & 6]
Even the store layout is geared to sales of Apple products. All the products are on the tables or at the side of the room as you walk in, no obstructions, distractions just the products. Everything is open, accessible ( unless your disabled – but that’s for another post) and ready to use. Non apple products are kept to the back of the store ( in the Mall stores that I have seen) or away from the main floor, possibly close to the Genius Bar ( on another floor like Glasgow Buchanan Street, London Covent Garden and London Regent Street)
Do you still think that Apple don’t sell ?
If you need further justification, check out the mention of A.P.P.L.E. on Five Things To Noted From Visits To Apple Stores Whilst On My Holiday and
How to be a genius: This is apple’s secret employee training manual.
Saying all this, was it really a surprise that a retail store ( after all that’s what the Apple Store is) is trying to sell to you? Personally I don’t mind, I prefer the soft sell ( or just using the Apple Store app to get what I want via EasyPay).