You will definitely not confuse Apple retail store with any other store when you see one. Much like the gadgets, Apple stores have a signature move, and for the most part, they are strongly appreciated by customers. However, judging from the comments on consumer message boards, not all people are impressed with them.
It is obvious that new retail strategies developed by John Browett, Apple’s senior vice-president in charge of retail operations and expansion, could be more efficient if he would simply look through consumer complains – and today there are plenty of them.
One of the biggest problems of Apple stores is puffed-up staff. They are too programmed and treat customers like newbies who need an explanation for basic knowledge. They are too arrogant, and that can also be explained by higher salaries in comparison with other chains, and, in addition, the fact of work for the mega-popular brand.
Next, not all locations are convenient for customers. For example, Las Vegas stores are all located in the middle of the strip, so there are always problems with parking and reaching the destination. You cannot count on a short pleasant trip to the store on your way home from work to purchase a new pair of earphones – every such trip turns into a real adventure filled with obstacles. It seems that all such stores are tourist-oriented, so locals find them difficult to reach. Another problem with the location is their concentration in a certain area – for example, there are too many stores in some regions of Chicago and none in others.
The design of Apple stores can be intimidating to many users. Tech-savvy users duly appreciate the look of these shops as they correspond the high-tech feel of all Apple devices. At the same time, this very look frightens off many customers, and they prefer to buy their gadgets in more friendly spaces. Also, they feel uncomfortable to communicate with too tech-experienced consultants who fully blend into surroundings and can be conceived like computer geeks. Not all people like to talk this way, so there is a distinct need to train Apple employees to be able to communicate with both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy people.
The other difficulty that Apple faces is too rapid expansion. Too many stores appear every day in different places, and it becomes challenging to maintain the same level of style and technologies. The need for new well-educated employees is tremendous as all Apple workers are known for the high level of knowledge and intelligence, and the process of preparation of such employees is time-consuming. Apple now tries to fix this problem by opening new displays in Target stores without opening stores in new locations – this alleviates extra costs.
One of the advantages that Apple has is that the company does not have a direct rival in the luxury/technology retail space, so the only target they have now is to maintain the level of performance and keep all customers happy. John Browett, former Dixons CEO, is known for actions that helped his brand to stand out from the crowd in the U.K. Apple has given him more possibilities to satisfy all customers and fix all problems – and we will see how he can handle them.
All in all, despite all troubles mentioned above, Apple remains the leader in the gadget industry as its advantages prevail over those inconveniences.