Apple’s revenue has grown 42% in the quarter ending Sept 07, compared to the same quarter Sept 06. The Apple Store in NYC at 2 AM was filled with tourists straight from the airport, and last minute shoppers with their families in tow. It was a PARTY that required no invitations and staffed by smart happy people. Jupiter Research’s VP for Research Michael Gartenberg called them the “Nordstrom of technology”
You can read all about it on the first Business page on the New York Times.
“Inside Apples Stores, a Certain Aura Enchants the Faithful”
Because it requires a subscription, I’ve highlighted some of the points made there related to Customer Experience:
The contrast of Apple Stores with a 42% sales increase, compared to what is happening to other formerly “recession-proof” brands is showing that CEM – Customer Experience Management may in fact be emerging as a “survival” issue for retailers.
“a sad flourish, not a strong one” as Kim Caughey a Pittsburgh analyst speaking about retail Christmas sales posting a 2.8 % increase when the economists estimated 4-5% sales increase over 2006.
What are some of the things going on in Apple Stores that are notable?
“Throughout the night, cheerful sales staff stayed busy”
“late one night … parents pushed strollers…tourists straight off the plane mingled with nocturnal New Yorkers”
“clicking through iPod playlist, cruising the Internet … touch-padding their way around iPhones”
“the party inside that store…halo effect (of the iPhone and Pod)”
“many of its stores feel like gathering places”
“brght lights and bright acoustics create a buzz that makes customers feel more like they are at an event than a retail store”
“the secret formula may be the personal attention paid to customers by sales staff”
“smiling employees roam the floos, carrying hand-held terminals for instant credit card swiping”
“technicians work… administering to customers ailing iPods, MacBooks and iPhones”
“personal trainers give one-on-one instruction and lead workshops”
“personal shoppers are available by appointment”
“concierge teams are stationed throughout the store”
“what (customers) really appreciate the most is that undivided personal attention”
“the result is customers … paying premium prices… making (the New York City 14th St store) “the most personal store ever created”.
“encourage lingering with dozens of fully functioning computers, iPods and iPhones for visitors to try – for hours on end.”
“The people who work there are cool and knowledgeable”
“They have the answers you want and can sell you what you need. Customers appreciate that.”
“They’ll email you a receipt… makes you feel like you’re in a store just a little bit further ahead of everyone else.”
“these stores are going to become iconic places that people go to see when they come to New York”
While its not clear what the future “Nordstroms” of retailing is going to look like, here’s a vision of Customer Experience that is hitting the mark for Apple Inc. Read the linked NY Times article to judge for yourself.
Happy Holidays everyone.
Please accept my very best wishes for your success in Enchanting your customers in 2008!