In Fortune’s article on, “America’s Most Admired Companies” (3/19/07), where Apple placed number seven on the list, Jerry Useem wrote that while Saks delivers $362/sq. ft. per year and Best Buy delivers $930/sq. ft. per year and Tiffany delivers $2,666/sq. ft. per year, Apple delivers a whopping $4,032/sq. ft. per year (or over 10 times Saks, over four times Best Buy and over 1. 5 times Tiffany’s sq. ft. numbers). That’s outstanding! In fact, it’s remarkable. So what’s behind those numbers?
- They own the value of design. You can’t look at an Apple Store and think it’s like any other store. You can’t help but be drawn in by the sheer beauty of an Apple store.
- They own the value of testing. Before they ever built a store, they built a prototype in a warehouse. Why? So they could experience what the experience would be for a customer. One of the things they observed is that they had created a store that fit their product lines, but didn’t reflect how their customers used their computers (i.e as a digital hub). So they completely reworked their layout to fit with how their customers actually used their products (what a novel idea). In other words, they learned to sell, not the machine, but what their customers could do with the machine. And though this redesign cost them six to nine months before market, they clearly believe it was worth the wait.
- They own the value of simplicity. Rather than overwhelm customers with shelves stocked with lots of “product”, they only stock a small number of items and they only put a few “samples” of each item out at a time. This leaves their stores looking clean and easily accessible.
- They own the value of service. Stories about Apple’s Genius bars are legion, but what drove Apple to create them was their desire to offer “concierge level service” in a retail establishment – where their “geniuses” weren’t trying to sell something, rather they were just trying to dispense advice (i.e. service).
- They own the value of excellence. As one of the suppliers for Apple Stores said, “Were used to working on projects with high standards. But with Apple Stores, everything is a few notches above.”
- They own the value of customer accessibility. In order to get people to switch from a PC to a Mac, they knew that people wouldn’t travel out of their way to venture into an Apple Store. Therefore Apple has worked to strategically place their stores in locations where their potential switchers might be located.
- They own the value of customer experience. You can’t visit an Apple store without realizing that the customer comes first at Apple.
Read the entire article from Bruce D. Johnson HERE.