The Apple Retail Store

This is actually a great article about retail in general, though it focuses on lessons from Apple Computer and what it went through to build the perfect store.

“Sorry Steve, Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work,” BusinessWeek wrote with great certainty in 2001. “It’s desperation time in Cupertino, Calif.,” opined TheStreet.com. “I give [Apple] two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake,” predicted retail consultant David Goldstein.

Yet five years later, at 4:15 A.M., a light flickered on. Onlookers were bathed in the milky-white glow of the Apple logo, suspended in a freestanding cube of glass at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South in Manhattan. Dazzling in clarity and 32 feet on a side, the structure was likened variously to a temple, the Louvre Pyramid, Apple’s G4 “Cube” computer, a giant button, and even – in the words of NBC’s Brian Williams – Steve Jobs’ Model T. But it was, everyone could agree, manifestly a store.

If you’ve ever been in one of these stores you know why they successfully draw people in. There are very few style elements and lots of space. Things are designed around the way you live, not around the products per se.

The results? Apple earns more per square foot of retail space than any other retailer, including companies like Tiffany’s.

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Erick Erickson

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2 Comments

  • I have bought all of one thing from an Apple store in the last year, but that experience was fantastic.

    I went in, quickly found a guy in an Apple shirt to help, he found what I needed. I looked over at the checkout line, then he said that he could do my purchase for me on the spot. There I was standing in the middle of the store and this guy with a hand-held device scans my item, accepts my credit card, and I’m out of the very busy store in about 2 minutes.

    This is undoubtedly the wave of the future. Roving salespeople with the ability to follow through on a purchase without going over to the check-out line.

    Bravo Apple!