5 Ways Apple Changed Retail

Apple operates more than 360 retail stores and employs more than 40,000 people, with more than a million visitors every day. Incredibly, Apple stores average $7,000 per square foot which is more than twice the former gold-standard Tiffany & Company. It is estimated that Apple's Fifth Avenue store generates more than $35,000 per square foot making it the highest grossing retailer in New York, and Apple stores are now the highest performing stores in retail history.
How did a company with no experience in retail become the fastest in U.S. history to reach annual sales of $1 billion during the worst financial crisis in modern times? Apple had to think differently about retail and make their stores more than just a place people go to buy things. They had to devise a way to enrich the lives of the people who shop at the Apple Stores and do more than simply deliver a transactional experience. In short, they had to reinvent retail.
Even though Apple is unique in selling a handful of products it designs, builds and sells through its own stores, these secrets can be used by any company to succeed in retail:
  1. Think different about retail. Every retailer should rethink the purpose of their stores and focus on the experience a new customer has during the shopping process.
  2. Don't just sell products, rather provide a first class retail experience that delights shoppers and visitors alike.
  3. Empower customers. Allow customers to touch and try everything, and stay in the store as long as they like.
  4. Enrich customer's lives. Retailers should take this important cue from Apple and ensure their associates is not focused on just selling products, but intent on building relationships and making people's lives better.
  5. Go one step further. Retailers should consider ways to do more than necessary to surprise and delight their customers.
The results speak for themselves. After just over ten years of retailing, on March 14, 2012, Apple's market capitalization became larger than the rest of the entire U.S. retail sector – combined. For a more thorough look at The Secrets of Apple's Retail Success, download the whitepaper.
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