Visiting an Apple Store is quite a unique experience. I don`t know any other shop being so “open” in all possible means. The lack of barriers can be seen immediately. There are no doors to open – the store is just there for you to go in. You enter and feel the atmosphere… It is reminds me of being at a bar or a party. Most products are on display and available for the customers to try and touch; Shop Assistants alert and ready to help or give advice in a friendly manner and bar stools prepared for the customers not to get tired and familiarize with the products. The environment in the shop is quite noisy, filled with lot of people most of the time. Apple attracts people and even though it might be difficult to orient yourself in the shop, there are always many Shop Assistants to help you in any way you could wish. The Apple Store is very straight forward and enables customers to get what they want either advice or product. Everything seems so harmonious… One don`t even feel the pressure to buy – everyone desires to buy something from this cool shop!
The processes in the shop are set quite strictly, even though it might not seem so. The customers are supposed to contact Shop Assistant in case they want to buy, the SA gets the product for them and then customer continues to the cashier to pay. I believe some customers would like to skip the “middle man” and speed up the shopping. It can be done to a certain extent, if the customer books the product in advance online and then the SA just gets the product for them quickly and they can save some time, but the customers cannot skip the contact with the SA completely.
If you have a problem with any Apple product or training session, you must pre-book appointment and wait for your turn (usually for couple days or you can be lucky and get one as you appear in the shop). So the customers try to get necessary information from the SAs. I presume the customers new to Apple products find it quite difficult to get used to it and in the beginning they are slightly confused – especially the older generations (and they were represented mostly at the training area of Apple Store). The young people were usually playing with the products on show.
Apple is famous for its innovativeness and a wonderful marketing strategy and so attracts mostly young people and the ones interested in new technologies. I personally believe most of the purchases are based on emotions than on reasonable thinking and comparing cost/value. The price of Apple products is relatively high and so the customers feel somewhat privileged to have them. As the result of that, there is some added value of the brand together with the satisfied customer need (e.g. to be able to use the computer and work).
Do you have different experience? Please share them with me.