Living the Life

I set foot inside the Apple store for perhaps my first time earlier this week, and was quite impressed by the entire experience. While I am not a committed user of their products in general, I still found the trip into the store to be quite memorable.

The store was unlike many other technology stores i had been to – the devices were out to be used by customers, and every available device seemed to be in use. The store was crowded, though one staff member commented that this was actually quite empty. For a store their size (maybe 500 square feet in view) I would think having several dozen customers inside there would be impressive.

Additionally, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. People were looking at the merchandise, chatting away, and as far as I could discern there were no complaining customers. – at least, not loudly.

The staff was incredibly friendly. They were easy to identify, wearing large name tags and bright red uniforms (was that special for the season?) and there always seemed to be a couple available to help. In fact, I was astounded by the number of staff I could see in the store – at one point, I was able to see at least 8 people working, and there were probably a few I couldn’t see.

When it came time for me to make a purchase, I was assisted by someone knowledgeable about the products and who could help me choose between several options. Then, rather than wait in line to check out like I expected, she pulled out what looked like a souped-up iPhone and processed my order at one of the tables in the store, printing out my receipt and handling my credit card from her device.

Overall, this is a store that really understands it’s audience. If you want to come in and hang out, they’re ready for you. If you want to run in after work and make a quick pick-up they will get you processed quickly, without making you feel like they want to get rid of you.

Retail stores can learn a lot about how to handle customers by just watching what happens in the Apple store, and following suit. Make sure your staff know the products you sell, are equipped to deal with all types of customers, and are there in sufficient force to avoid long lines and wait times.

And don’t forget, make your [potential] customers want to come hang out in your store.