No. Wait. What? Is there a company on planet earth that would not trade their current position with Apple? After all, the company has almost 1.5-billion devices in the wild, $250-billion it cannot figure out what to do with, products in demand, drool-worthy customer satisfaction stats, and stores which are filled to overflowing with customers.
Ah, there it is. Apple’s major problem. How would you describe it? How about, uh, oh, I don’t know– Success!
Ben Lovejoy finds much to love about Apple Stores despite their glaring flaw, which needs to be fixed ASAP because the previous retail honcho devoted far too much time attracting customers who bought things.
You can freely play with the products, without any sales pressure. If you have questions, there will generally be someone who knows the answer
Funny thing. True story, too. You won’t find that at Google Stores or Samsung Stores or Dell or HP Stores. What about Lenovo? Huawei? Xiaomi? Microsoft? Puhleeze.
You can get free, in-person support. To non-techies, who struggle to find and follow online support documents, that’s a massive benefit. And even techies find it useful on occasion.
Shame on Angela Ahrendts for creating such a beast. It’s so bad at the Apple Store that customers can walk in, find a product, scan it, pay for it, and never talk to an Apple employee.
The free workshops, one of Apple’s best-kept secrets prior to the Today at Apple rebranding, are a fantastic initiative. People can learn everything from quite basic ‘how to’ skills with their new product to very detailed help with complex software like Final Cut Pro X.
If only Apple served those iced lemon pound cakes you get at Starbucks. All would be forgiven.
So, what’s the problem?
Instead of a leisurely play with the latest tech, you have to fight your way through the crowds just to get near it, and are then hemmed in on all sides by other people waiting impatiently for their turn.
It’s likely that depends upon the store location, but I understand the sentiment.
And that free in-person support? Good luck getting to see someone anytime soon. Where you could once walk in unannounced and expect to see someone within 20-30 minutes, you now need an appointment in advance – and it can take a week to get one.
Again, that scenario depends upon where you live and how many Apple Stores are nearby.
In most cases, Apple can’t easily make its existing stores any larger. They typically occupy entire buildings.
Most are in malls, but I understand both the sentiment and the problem.
One thing Angela Ahrendts did was to push customers toward online sales, especially at times of heavy demand, like new iPhone launches.
That kept the crowds and lines down, and almost a thing of the past. So, what’s the solution to success?
Actually cease selling things in its stores. Instead of the stores being a place to buy products, they become places to try them, and to get support – including the Today at Apple sessions, of course. All sales would be done online.
Does anyone believe that will work? Anything else?
Open some more damn stores! Can anyone explain to me why Apple doesn’t do this? I mean, brick-and-mortar stores are really struggling these days: there’s no shortage of available retail units.
Apple has over 500 Apple Stores worldwide. Microsoft has what, four or five dozen? Samsung? Google? Dell and HP? See? Much of what makes a business successful is the balance needed to prioritize resources. Apple could afford to double the number of retail stores in a year. The company can afford it.
Yours truly with a solution:
Dear Tim Cook, stop with the stupid dividends and stock buybacks already, and do something to make customers happy.
Since Services has become such an important part of Apple’s financials these days, and Services success is dependent upon hardware sales, then Apple could open more retail stores, and cut prices here and there to stimulate demand and sell more products.
Ipso facto and alakazam. Problems solved.