Twenty years ago, Apple made a decision that was labeled “crazy and outrageous” at that time, but fortunately, the tech giant did not listen to its naysayers.
Many believe that the decision was to launch the iPhone, and while it definitely brought Apple unimaginable profits, it was actually the company’s choice to invest in a medium that was supposedly on the verge of being crushed by modernity – stores.
Marketing professor and author Scott Galloway told Business Insider that while Samsung opted to spend its resources on advertising, Apple believed in the power of strengthening the buyer’s relationship with the brand.
“So you have this temple to the brand which is this unbelievable experience called an Apple Store, and then you have this very mediocre experience called an AT&T or Verizon connect your phone experience for Samsung and the other Android players. The biggest value-creating decision in the history of modern decision: Apple’s crazy decision to forward integrate into stores.”
Steve Jobs put a lot of effort into establishing a distinctive line of Apple Stores. With the help of George Blankenship, who worked as the company’s real estate president from 2000 to 2006, Jobs was able to open 165 stores nationwide.
Retail stores were indeed closing that time in dramatic numbers, but Blankenship was firm that the key was to create a store that would “feature experiences more prominently.”
Instead of putting up a store crowded by shelves, Apple focused on interactive displays, which potential buyers will find useful. He believes that Millennials and Gen-Xers are eager to experience things more than ever.
The stores quickly became known for their casual approach to selling. With the stores’ airy interiors and unintimidating displays, Apple hopes to entice customers and make them feel that the brand understands both their needs and pains.
Wall Street Journal authors Yukari Iwatani Kane and Ian Sherr also emphasized the significance of the employees working for the stores whose goal above all is to delight the customers.
Training manuals reportedly teach Apple Store’s team members not to sell but to “understand all of your customers’ needs.” To achieve this, Apple makes it a point to recruit people who are not only skilled but are also fans of the products.
According to Forbes, experts frowned on Apple’s decision to focus on building stores because they were preoccupied by metrics. While they were busy going through the spreadsheet of other computer retailers, Jobs and his team “were visiting luxury hotels like The Ritz-Carlton to learn how customer service champions provide an exceptional guest experience.”
Two decades later, regardless of the volatile market, Apple seems to prove that profits follow when a company aspires to appreciate its consumers.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]