What Does the Apple Store Do Differently (And Why Should You Care?)


In terms of an in-store experience, absolutely no one surpasses Apple. But you have to be careful, because replicating the experience may not work for your customer.

Being unique in any way is important because that captures consumers’ attention. You have to know why this approach works for Apple, and why it could or could not work for you.

What Does Apple Do?

Maybe you’re an Android person, and you don’t quite know what it’s like to be in an Apple Store. Some of the highlights:

  • Apple Stores have far fewer SKUs than most similar major retailers, and less than almost every other major leading brand of any kind. Store associates have less product to memorize. Customers get better service as a result.
  • Employees use their iPhone scanners to make product returns possible in less than a minute.
  • Apple employees are among the best anywhere. They’re knowledgeable, polite, like their jobs, and deliver fast service.
  • You can only find certain high-end products, like the Apple watch, at Apple Stores (and a few select high-end retailers).
  • You schedule an appointment, get what you need fixed almost immediately, and then go about your day.
  • Technological adaptations, like taking in-store payments, happen way before any other store does them.
  • Big glass windows, bright lighting, and birch tables make the store feel like it’s a nice, clean, and comfortable place to be.
  • You can purchase from anywhere in the store because employees have point-of-purchase software on their iPads.

Would Any of This Make Sense for Your Store?

Remember that Apple doesn’t succeed just because it has a different experience. That’s part of the reason for its success.

But the real reason it succeeds is that it understands its customer better than most other companies. When Steve Jobs was CEO, he was well-known for his ability to know what his customer needed even before they knew they needed it.

We’ll see how Apple continues to do with CEO Tim Cook at the helm. Since Job’s passing, Apple’s done well.

But Apple’s in-store experience may not work at all for your business. It focuses on customers who believe they get a higher-quality product when they spend more money.

If you have a different type of customer, you might scare them away with a high-end experience. So it’s all about knowing who you serve, and delivering them an experience that connects with who they are.

With technology, the sky is the limit as to what you can do. Perhaps, the lesson in this case is to get clear on who you serve first.