Why Apple Stores Are A Lesson In Retail – Competitors Beware

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Grand Central Apple Store Opens To Acclaim:

It would appear that the Manhattan Transport Authority who allowed this “takeover” to take place within their own “hub” that now sees some 100 restaurants and shops in the magnificent station, have finally got that “Anchor” tenant that they so longed for, the “real crowd pleaser”.

Apple Open New Store In Grand Central Terminal New York
Apple Open New Store In Grand Central Terminal New York

So we take a look at why the Apple experience is so in demand, and how their entry changes a retail space for better and worse.

Apple are in town so you better beware!

So when we reported that Apple were opening a store in grand central station, we found out that Apple in usual fashion, had got their own way with regards a typical profit share contract that other retailers abide by in the station, and also paid the last vendors a cool 1.5 million to depart early.

Now that seems fair game to me, because what Apple bring to a retail space is pure dedication to the art of making a customer feel appreciated, yes it can be nauseating sometimes, but overall you love it, and this shows in many areas…not least in the Apple bank vaults.

And because of this method of selling, Apples stores globally, are quite simply gadget Mecca’s for the converted, the curios, the perverted and the intrigued.

So being another Vendor within easy reach of the Apple store would surely make this pull convert to extra footfall your way?

Well yes, and no.

Let’s all buy an Apple:

Here is a case in point I would like to share that occurred here in the UK involving the purchase of an iPad 2 with my girlfriend the other day.

The schedule:


  • Arrive at the store cold.
  • Instantly get pounced upon, as you do, and tell a sweeping, squawking young Apple rep that we want an iPad 2.
  • My partner then goes on to get the “Apple” experience which bores the hell out of me, but it is sort of what you pay for, and my parter is enjoying learning about her new gadget and getting help setting it up, and making it work with her iPhone etc.
  • Not rocket science, but you know what, it is done for her with a smile, and it was a very pleasant experience by and large, nothing wrong with that surely.


Wireless keyboard please?

Now, she needs a wireless keyboard so she can do work easier and use it as a form of screen as opposed to just a touch screen.

Apple’s version is extortionate in price, so we move towards another UK retailer in the same shopping mall, that struggling giant called Currys/PC World.

Yes, they will have the one I have seen browsing on my phone while she was being “Apple’ed” up.

So we arrive into the other store to be met by a pretty, but vacant, looking young girl who was seemingly giving away paper with stuff on it, god knows what, no communication at all, just here you go….

I asked about wireless keyboards for an iPad and get a tour of the shop to find the right person, I look around and see stuff all over, a total mess, we find an affable young lad who probably wishes he was at the pub or the football (and nothing at all wrong with that, but it showed), and he shows us to an area where he points out two iPad 2 compatible keyboards (hidden).

I say, what about these to the side that I spotted underneath where he was pointing, he dismisses them, and so I again point out that I think this is the one we are after, he realises it is exactly what we are after and goes to get a box to show us.

I then ask is there any chance we can see the keyboard? His reply; not unless you buy it. The price of the keyboard was £40/50, seriously, I want to see the damn thing before we buy.

WAKE UP RETAILERS – this is not how you do selling!

Result = We walk away quicker than you can say, global recession.

Seriously how can these stores now compete if you have just spent roughly 8 x more and got the actual tablet along with all the help you need to set it up, you see it was not as if the keyboard was £5.

And in the Apple store, whatever you were buying would have been met with this type of help, and a smile, and the staff would have known exactly what you are after.

I know that a retailer such as Currys/PC World suffers from having a huge product range, but there in is my point, how can they compete, when the likes of Apple make them look idiotic, by doing what they do so well.

So the other vendors/retailers who also rent space at Grand Central station, beware, because Apple are lovely to look at, but damn do they like to point out your frailties with ease.

Better the devil you learn from I think.

Anthony Munns