John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Store Customers Satisfied Even If They Don’t Buy Anything

“I give [Apple] two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.”

A 2001 prediction by David Goldstein, president of Channel Marketing, about Apple’s then newly launched retail stores

In Apple’s history, there are many come-from-behind, or out of nowhere, success stories–the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. And then there’s the Apple Store, which though lacking that iconic “i” prefix, is no less remarkable.

Ten years after Apple opened its first two retail stores, there are 323 more, 91 of them overseas, and together they are generating upwards of $3 billion per quarter ($3.19 billion last quarter–up 90 percent year over year). According to Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe, who’s done the math, that means Apple Stores pull in about $5,000 per square foot in revenue per year, which far exceed not only Best Buy’s $1,000 per square foot, but Tiffany’s roughly $2,700 per square foot as well.

Little wonder Apple Stores are the fourth fastest growing retail business in the world, according to the National Retail Federation. Their patrons are among the most satisfied around–even if they don’t actually buy anything, a fact Howe noted in his recent survey of Apple Store customers.

“72 percent of consumers [said they] are highly satisfied with Apple products and services,” Howe explained. “Intriguingly, 84 percent of consumers who shop in an Apple Store say they are highly satisfied with its products and services, even if they don’t own any Apple products.”

It’s clear then that the Apple Store shopping experience does much to bolster the Apple brand. Which is why the company’s recent retail store upgrades–which include a new “Personal Setup” service and iPad 2-based Smart Signs–is so important.

With the Apple Store, Apple leapfrogged other retailers years ago and now it’s poised to do it again with an improved level of customer service and product signage that gives it unparalleled messaging and collateral consistency. As Howe notes, the company can change in-store product marketing at a moment’s notice or reinforce a new ad campaign the minute it runs.

“I think the bottom line is that the changes just set Apple’s already best-in-class shopping experience even farther ahead of its competitors,” Howe said. “And that type of differentiated shopping experience just drives customer brand loyalty up.”

[Image credits: AllAboutSteveJobs.com, Yankee Group]


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