19 Sep How Apple Changed the face of commercial retail interiors
“What meets the eye, meets the heart.”
This statement is true in the context of the world’s most valuable technology company and its high tech products like iPhone, i Mac, iPad etc. Yes, we are talking about the Cupertino company, Apple. With multiple anchors attributing towards high generation of revenue and profit, its elongated distribution strategy has attracted a large number of customers and built up a great brand equity. It’s chain of brick and mortar retail stores has brought about a revolution in the face of commercial retail interiors; posing to be one of the critical element in Apple’s business model.
The brand, Apple has not only built itself as a luxury brand but also gives its customers a premium experience before making a purchasing decision. These steps taken by Apple account for its efforts to tap local as well as global markets. Apple currently has 400 plus stores around the world, with 200 plus of those located in the United States alone. Apple ranked number one atop the list of more than 250 companies, beating jewelers like Tiffany & Co. and luxury brands such as Coach & Michael Kors. It leads the US retail market in terms of sales per unit area and its success with its stores stands out. So far it has 481 retail stores in 18 countries including neighboring China. New stores are also being planned for the Indian market resembling the iconic fifth avenue like store clearly shows Apple’s intentions of company’s long-term strategy for the Indian market.
We can expect Apple’s smaller outlets to be akin to the ones in the US and may initially target the urban consumers. These outlets are likely to offer uniform design and experience to the customers. Customers do not come here only with a motive to buy a product but with a motive of getting answers to their questions and this is where Apple masters. Great customer service accompanied along with great culture is what defines it. ‘Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome’, ‘Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs’, ‘Present a solution for the customer to take home today’, ‘Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns’, ‘End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return’ are the high points of this technology brand. This is also the 5-step-mantra behind Apple’s training to all its employees while interacting with every customer, summarized with the acronym ‘APPLE’.
Steve Jobs’ vision and hard work turned into reality with prolonged search for testing the concept of retail marketing. Apple spent a year testing its concept before it opened its first two stores, in Virginia’s high-end Tyson’s Corner shopping mall and in Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California in May 2001. Some two years later, it had opened over 70 stores in locations including Chicago, Honolulu and Tokyo. Since then, there is no looking back.
The pioneering design, architecture and planning with phenomenal use of natural materials like stainless steel, stone, glass and wood has brought in simplicity with creativity to their store. Its spacious and clutter-free look, brilliant use of white color tones; Apple eyes strong business through interactions with their consumers by building specially designed ‘Briefing Rooms’ as well as by rolling out special programs for their business clientele and overhauling the end-to-end sales experience.