To read part 2 of this series, click here
Let me tell you about my first couple of visits to the Apple Store while deciding to get my Mac. I still can’t quite put my finger on what it was about the ambiance of that place. I know ambiance might sound like a strange word to use to describe a computer store but it actually fits. Let me explain.
Most computer stores are filled with sales people that seem to know very little about about their product. They also seem to be more interested in the sale than in the customer. Neither of these were the case at the Apple Store. I know they really are concerned about sales, but they don’t act like it. Both times I visited prior to my purchase, I received absolutely delightful service from a young man in the business services area. He was not pushy or forceful but carefully listened to all my needs and concerns for probably 90 minutes.
This was impressive considering how many people were in the store. It was packed! It reminded me of a bunch of college students trying to see how many people they could stuff in a phone booth. Normally when you get that many people stuffed in one place it’s not very pleasant. This was different though. Everybody, including the employees, looked happy and actually seemed to enjoy being there. I think part of this comes from representing such a fun and functional product.
Apple has also figured out how to make the sales experience as high-tech and enjoyable as actually using the product. In spite of the store being packed to the limit, there is almost no waiting to get help from a salesperson or to buy something. Each employee is a walking point-of-sale Terminal. Each has an iPod with a special back that contains a card reader and is connected to the store’s computer network. So at time of purchase, your card can be swiped anywhere in the store and the employee simply walks a few feet and gets your receipts. You are also given the choice of having your receipt emailed to you. Even the signature process is done with ones fingernail on the iPod screen.
Add to this the fact that every product that Apple sells is on display. All are in full working order, come in various colors and configurations, and are just waiting for the customer to try out for as long as they like. Compare that to many stores where most of the displays are either broken or non-functioning, “empty” versions of the product that were never intended to work.
This whole experience is already very impressive before the customer even touches a product. And touching and using the product is where all the magic begins….
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See you tomorrow and thanks for visiting!