Apple Store: Magic Place Where You Can Buy Your Favorite Gadget
The Apple Store is a chain of retail stores, dealing with iPhones, iPods, iPads, Macintosh computers, software and other electronics such as Apple TV. All Apple stores offer a Genius Bar for technical support and repairs, as well as workshops. Some stores feature a studio for training with Apple products.
Many Apple stores are located inside shopping malls, but Apple has a few stand-alone stores in high-profile locations in many countries in the world. In total, Apple has about five hundred retail stores in many countries. An online Apple store is available in more than 40 countries.
According to many experts, the Apple Stores have turned the boring computer sales floor into a playroom filled with amazing gadgets.
It was Steven Jobs who launched the idea of a new concept of computer store. He strongly believed that the Apple retail program needed to fundamentally change the relationship to the customer. Jobs began thus investigating options to change the model. In 1999, Jobs recruited Millard Drexler who supported Job’s retail stores initiative to serve on Apple’s board of directors
On May 15, 2001, Steven Jobs hosted a press event at Apple’s first store at the Tysons Corner Center mall in Fairfax County, in Tysons Corner, Virginia, US. The first two Apple Stores opened on May 19, 2001. More than 7,700 people visited Apple’s first two stores in the opening weekend, spending a total of US$599,000!
Many analysts predicted the failure of Apple Stores, but the new retail concept established its merits and the momentum provided by the introduction of the iPod drove enormous interest in the Apple brand.
Originally, Apple Stores contained a dedicated point-of-sale (POS) station. In 2006, Apple introduced a new store layout and design with surgical-grade stainless steel walls and backlit signage. Actually, a dedicated point-of-sale station still exists in most of these stores to facilitate transactions not paid for by credit card.
Globally, Apple Stores have changed the world landscape for consumer electronics retailers and influenced other technological companies to follow suit. The successful experience that Apple had with its retail stores has been applied to Disney Stores, since Jobs was elected to that company’s board of directors in 2006.
Every Apple Store employee is provided with a training manual that teaches him or her marketing and selling techniques.
Keep in mind that all Apple Stores feature a Genius Bar, where customers can receive technical advice or set up service and repair for their products. The Genius Bar provides software support for Mac OS X and hardware service on products that are not classified vintage or obsolete. However, in most cases the Geniuses will at least attempt to assist customers with older hardware. Curiously, visitors to the Genius Bar were offered free Evian water, but Apple dropped this amenity in February 2002.
To address increasing numbers of iPod customers at the Genius Bar, some new stores also feature an iPod Bar. Many stores also feature a station called The Studio, a Genius Bar-like setting where customers can meet with a “Creative” and receive help with projects ranging from organizing a photo album to music composition to film editing.
Apple Store openings have become special events among avid Macintosh users throughout the world. Opening day attracts thousands of customers who line up early in the morning or even the night before. Most openings are accompanied by giveaways of prizes such as t-shirts and “lucky bags” at flagship store openings.
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