I snapped this photo a couple weeks ago. It was around 6 in the evening. But it doesn't matter. The Apple Store looks like this morning, noon and night.
I've visited Apple Stores all over the US and it's always the same story. Jam packed, people playing with iPads, iPods, iPhones…oh yeah, and their rockin' computers.
Who wouldn't want their customers to flock into their place of business and just want to hang out, trying new products, showing their friends and buying a ton of stuff. (over 3 million iPads sold in the first 80 days).
So…what can we learn from Apple and how can we apply it to our business?
Let them touch the stuff: The Apple Store is basically a huge demo room. You can check out any item, you aren't rushed away when you're updating your Facebook status or creating a new tune on Garage Band. They want you to get the feel of their wares.
Nothing sells like sampling. If I can try it and like it… I can pretty quickly convince myself I need it.
Don't hide behind the counter: Look at the picture. Do you see all the blue shirts? Those are Apple employess…ready to show you how something works, answer your questions or just brag on the product.
If you're sitting behind your desk, waiting for customers to come to you — get off your lazy rear and go to where the people are.
Think about my convenience, not yours: You don't stand in line to buy something in the Apple Store. The blue shirt who was answering your questions can also ring up your order. They have little scanner/credit card readers on their belt. Voila…they can print or e-mail you the receipt. Need a bag? No worries, there are bag dispensers underneath the tables throughout the store.
What are you doing because it's how everyone else in the industry does it that way? What if you looked at it from your customer's perspective. How could you re-design it with them in mind?
Don't hire someone because they're breathing: At the Apple Store, the employees LOVE what they sell. They're aren't clerks or sales people. They are zealots. And that's infectious and effective.
Hire zealots…and set them loose on your customers.
We all have the opportunity to create an Apple-like experience. The question is — will you?
Other than Apple, where have you seen these techniques be employed?