I wish they all could be Apple Stores

Inside the Apple StoreOne of the first places I went in New York after checking into the hotel was the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. I had been looking forward to it for a very long time, and as I wrote that night, I was not disappointed. Sharon and I spent some time wandering around before I bought my iPod touch. The whole experience was really good, save for the cashier not knowing what to do with my Canadian debit card.

I’m not the only one who has been impressed with Apple’s retail experience this year.

Apple now derives 20 percent of its revenue from its physical stores. And the number is growing. In the fourth quarter in 2007, which ended Sept. 30, Apple reported that the retail stores accounted for $1.25 billion of Apple’s $6.2 billion in revenues, a 42 percent increase over the fourth quarter in 2006.

Not only has the company made many of its stores feel like gathering places, but the bright lights and equally bright acoustics create a buzz that makes customers feel more like they are at an event than a retail store.

In a way, I think Apple is "Starbucking" the technology retail experience. More than coffee, Starbucks offers a place to be. By allowing customers to sit and play with iPods and MacBooks, Apple is doing the same thing – selling community. The key phrase from above is "feel like gathering places".

Trust me, once you’ve been to an Apple store you’ll start wishing every retail experience could be so good.

It’s just too bad there aren’t more of them.

Read: NYTimes.com

5 thoughts on “I wish they all could be Apple Stores

  1. I’ve noticed that here in Vancouver, where we still lack an Apple Store (strong indications are that Pacific Centre is getting one in mid-2008), several local Apple resellers have stepped up their game since the Apple Stores opened in other cities.

    Major retailers like Simply Computing, Westworld, and Mac Station have a very Apple Store-like feel already, and they’ve also made efforts to branch out into areas the Apple Stores don’t cover (cell phones, HDTVs, etc.) so that they have something to withstand the onslaught once Apple does move in.

    They’ll have to do that. NYC has a successful example in <a href="http://www.tekserve.com/">Tekserve</a&gt;, still doing a booming business because they have a their own focus, including in-depth audio and video expertise, as well as lots of seminars and a very funky store that includes an electronics and computing museum of sorts.

    I’ve enjoyed my Apple Store experiences in Seattle and Honolulu, but I do have to say (other than flagships such as Fifth Avenue in NYC), once you’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all. Which, like McDonald’s, I guess is part of the point.

  2. You’re right Derek, that’s part of the appeal – you know exactly what you’re getting. I haven’t noticed the improvement in other retailers (Westworld in Edmonton) but I wouldn’t be surprised.

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