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Apple’s Lesson for Sony’s Stores: Just Connect

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aryayush

Aspiring Novelist
Apple’s Lesson for Sony’s Stores: Just Connect

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Customers at an Apple store in Palo Alto, Calif. Apple opened its first store in 2001 and now has over 180. More than half of each store’s staff works in post-sales service.

By RANDALL STROSS
Published: May 27, 2007


RETAIL is supposed to be hard. Apple has made it seem ridiculously easy. And yet it must be harder than it appears, or why hasn’t the Windows side of the personal computer business figured it out?

Of the many predictions in the world of technology that have turned out to be spectacularly wrong, a prominent place should be made for what the pundits said in 2001 when Apple opened its first retail store in Tysons Corner, Va. “It’s completely flawed,” one analyst said, and that was the conventional wisdom. Commercial rent and furnishings would be expensive, inventory tricky and margins slim. Experienced computer resellers were struggling, and no computer manufacturer had ever found success operating its own branded stores. Analysts predicted at the time that Apple would shut down the stores and write off the huge losses in two years.

That assuredly would have been the Apple store’s fate had Steve Jobs permitted aesthetic and design considerations to trump all else. But while guiding the planning for the stores in 2000 and 2001, Mr. Jobs took on a more ambitious challenge than building freestanding museums of design that would show the Apple flag and do little else. He set out to create the conditions most likely to convert museum visitors into actual customers, and then to make those customers feel that they were being pampered long after the sale was consummated.

At the time, retail stores seemed passé. Gateway Country Stores were trying to make a go of a combination of old and new, inviting customers to come in, touch, order — and then go home and wait patiently, because the stores did not carry any inventory. Dell’s build-on-demand model dispensed with stores altogether and seemed to embody the future.

Mr. Jobs understood, however, that his stores would sell not merely products but also gratification. He told the trade magazine Chain Store Age Executive in 2001: “When I bring something home to the kids, I want to get the smile. I don’t want the U.P.S. guy to get the smile.”

The stores were born fully formed and have not required any fundamental changes. The best innovation was present on Day One: the “Genius Bar,” with a staff of diagnostic wizards whose expertise is available in one-on-one consultations — free. Pure genius. More than half of the retail store’s staff is assigned to post-sales service.

Customer response is told in the numbers. Last month, Apple released results for the quarter ended March 31. More than 21.5 million people visited its stores, which now number more than 180. Store sales were $855 million, up 34 percent from the quarter a year earlier, and they contributed more than $200 million in profits.

For perspective, look at the parallel story of Sony, which in 2004 began its attempt to create a branded retail chain. That was the same year Gateway closed the remnants of its 188-store chain. Today, Sony has 39 Sony Style stores, built out from the flagship stores in New York and San Francisco. The company’s breadth of product lines in consumer electronics and related accessories, as well as computers, would seem to give it a significant advantage over Apple. But because Sony does not release data on the stores’ sales or profits, it is hard to assess how its retail venture is doing.

Last Sunday, I set out to have a look for myself. I began at Sony’s flagship in San Francisco, at the Metreon Center, the shopping and entertainment complex. The mall was crowded, but Sony’s store, measuring an enormous 20,000 square feet, was all but deserted. The two uniformed members of the store security staff matched the number of customers I could see browsing the store’s wares.

Then I headed for the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, where I could see a Sony Style store compete almost directly across from an Apple retail store. The weather was gorgeous, drawing the usual weekend throng to the shopping center.

Sony’s mall store was long and large — 6,000 square feet — and filled with curvy panels and chirpy taglines like “My Style” on the walls and plush theater nooks. Here, too, the sales staff seemed to outnumber customers.
A group of five young salesmen and saleswomen who stood near the door when I entered were so engaged in a private, and apparently amusing, discussion that my imploring presence failed to draw anyone’s attention. The only other customers in the store were at the far other end, near the PlayStations. I suppose that the employees near me had become accustomed to busying themselves with their own entertainments.

A few yards away was the Apple store, which is one of Apple’s newer “mini” stores, introduced in 2004 and only about an eighth the size of Sony’s Stanford store. It was simplicity itself: a rectangular space with products lining the two sides, laptops placed on a small table, open space taking up most of the room, and, of course, the Genius Bar. The store was packed, yet the sales people were alert and attentive.

Read more...


I found it to be a fascinating and insightful read. Give it a shot. :)
 
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aryayush

aryayush

Aspiring Novelist
Courting Consumers, Dell Takes Pages From Apple's Playbook

Courting Consumers, Dell Takes Pages From Apple's Playbook
05.29.07 | 2:00 AM

Several years ago when Dell was in its ascendancy and Apple was struggling, Michael Dell suggested that Apple should be shut down and the money given back to shareholders. These days, the tables seem to be turning, and Dell is starting to emulate parts of Apple's business model.

In an attempt to target consumers –- the fastest-growing segment of the computer industry -- Dell is suddenly showing a keen interest in design and in retail stores: pages right out of Apple's playbook.

Read more...
 

gxsaurav

You gave been GXified
Re: Courting Consumers, Dell Takes Pages From Apple's Playbook

aryayush said:
Courting Consumers, Dell Takes Pages From Apple's Playbook
05.29.07 | 2:00 AM

Several years ago when Dell was in its ascendancy and Apple was struggling, Michael Dell suggested that Apple should be shut down and the money given back to shareholders. These days, the tables seem to be turning, and Dell is starting to emulate parts of Apple's business model.

In an attempt to target consumers –- the fastest-growing segment of the computer industry -- Dell is suddenly showing a keen interest in design and in retail stores: pages right out of Apple's playbook.

Read more...

So, now if any Computer manufacturer is opening a retail chain, they are copying Apple. GR8 Logic.
 
OP
aryayush

aryayush

Aspiring Novelist
Did you even read the whole column? Let me guess - no, you didn't.


Dell was the one which criticised Apple's step into retail the most, predicting that it will fail. And now when Apple is making one billion bucks every quarter, by far the highest among tech companies including even Microsoft, they suddenly love this retail thing. Everyone had predicted that the iPod will fail, look where it is now. Every seemed to suggest that Apple's step into retail was a misstep, look what the world is saying now.
 

gxsaurav

You gave been GXified
Dell was the one which criticised Apple's step into retail the most, predicting that it will fail. And now when Apple is making one billion bucks every quarter, by far the highest among tech companies including even Microsoft, they suddenly love this retail thing. Everyone had predicted that the iPod will fail, look where it is now. Every seemed to suggest that Apple's
step into retail was a misstep, look what the world is saying now.
1st ) Lolz :rofl: LMAO. Wasn’t it already proved that what Apple makes in a quarter, MS makes in 2 weeks :D

2nd ) Do you know about iPod's history boy? No you don't. It failed the first year when it was Mac only product & iTunes was also Mac only. iPod survived because Apple made it Windows compatible cos they knew they need Windows support to survive. iPod started sailing only when Apple made a deal with Music Match to bundle it with iPod support & bought iTunes Music store to Windows.

Stop speaking lame, admit that fact that Apple needs Microsoft to survive in the market. You are using Apple products for less than a year, you don't know anything about history & how much Microsoft helped Apple to survive.

Going into retail isn't wrong. This is 2007 & not 2000. Time has changed & the computer companies need to interact directly with the consumer to show them what their products hold. HP has been doing this since ages with franchise based shops, so is HCL. Just cos apple also did it later, you saying that everyone is copying Apple is pure lame.

This is nothing Apple innovated, this is a very old marketing method used since ages. BMW has retail shops, Ford has...Maruti has, Pantaloons has....(example)
 
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aryayush

aryayush

Aspiring Novelist
LOL! This guy can be so ridiculously dumb, it is amazing. Are you sure you are twenty-two? The way you talk, it seems it is a six year old posting out here.

gx_saurav said:
1st ) Lolz :rofl: LMAO. Wasn’t it already proved that what Apple makes in a quarter, MS makes in 2 weeks
I was talking about the retail stores, jerk!

gx_saurav said:
Stop speaking lame, admit that fact that Apple needs Microsoft to survive in the market. You are using Apple products for less than a year, you don't know anything about history & how much Microsoft helped Apple to survive.
LOL! I don't know about Apple's history? I! :lol:

You'll soon come to know how much I know about Apple history. And Microsoft has never, ever helped Apple, unless it benefited them in some huge way. And that is pretty obvious, given that they are competitors. Now, STFU and get lost. And stop hijacking threads with your nonsense for God's sake!
 

i_am_crack

HAF 922 Owner
Why in the hell you guys...do this...Not all page is a fight club for god sake..If you think i am hijacking...the thread...Give me a brake...

Everyone knows ipod was failure in the first..Only after compatibility with windows made them to survice in the market...Go ask any one out there...But this thread isn't about it right....

My 2 cents

eBro
 

shantanu

Technomancer
Microsoft on Right ways to help Apple from degrading..

aryayush said:
LOL! This guy can be so ridiculously dumb, it is amazing. Are you sure you are twenty-two? The way you talk, it seems it is a six year old posting out here.

first of all, reading your posts arya makes me think that you dont have anything to do other than to post at forums, its ok but mind your language, or you didnt even ever learned manners or logical talks..
aryayush said:
I was talking about the retail stores, jerk!

LOL! I don't know about Apple's history? I! :lol:

retail stores are running from ages... i think HCL was having a reatil store from 1997.
and not only HCL, IBM etc are from ages in this retail store thing..

oh.. i forgot , do you even know what is a retail store ?

aryayush said:
You'll soon come to know how much I know about Apple history. And Microsoft has never, ever helped Apple, unless it benefited them in some huge way. And that is pretty obvious, given that they are competitors.

Microsoft gives proper support to Apple.
Microsoft never advertise negatively.
Microsoft makes Apple supported Application and makes it legal to have it installed on MAC.


Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple...

WebTV of Windows was the $450 million platform.. which was rather given to apple for iTV..

i think its quite helping Apple..

aryayush said:
Now, STFU and get lost. And stop hijacking threads with your nonsense for God's sake!

its shows your rudeness and your non-sense thinking... you simply say and then ignore it.. i think GX is right.. you are a KID ....

and i say you STFU and stop posting craps like this...
 
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aryayush

aryayush

Aspiring Novelist
shantanu said:
Microsoft gives proper support to Apple.
Yeah? Like what?

shantanu said:
Microsoft never advertise negatively.
Yeah, they only bribe bloggers and journalists to write glowing reviews for their products. I am sure it isn't negative at all. And anyway, I have no clue how this is supposed to help Apple.

shantanu said:
Microsoft makes Apple supported Application and makes it legal to have it installed on MAC.
Yeah, so that they can make bucks out of it. They are not here to do charity work.

shantanu said:
Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple...
And Steve Jobs in return had to sign a "Patent Cross License" which is what made Windows what it is today. If Jobs hadn't signed that agreement, Microsoft wouldn't have been able to copy all the patented stuff in the Mac OS GUI. Windows wouldn't have been what it is today (which is crap anyway, but is a lot better than what Windows 95 was).

When Microsoft bought those shares, the share price was in the twenties. When they sold them years later, it had reached the seventies. Guess who made a bucket-load of profit - yes, that's right, Microsoft did.


What a selfless and philanthropic company! Helping out their poor, belittled competitors. :rolleyes:


Please! I have read a lot about Apple's history so you'll only be making a fool out of yourself if you try to post something idiotic here. So quit doing it and stop turning threads into flame wars. I am sick of the three of you.
 

nepcker

Proud Mac Pro Owner
gx_saurav said:
Do you know about iPod's history boy? No you don't. It failed the first year when it was Mac only product & iTunes was also Mac only. iPod survived because Apple made it Windows compatible cos they knew they need Windows support to survive. iPod started sailing only when Apple made a deal with Music Match to bundle it with iPod support & bought iTunes Music store to Windows.
You don't know the history. Before the iPod was launched, there were several Portable Media Players (PMPs) on the market. The iPod was released as a PMP for mac users, and FYI, it was pretty successful. Apple had planned iPod for mac users only, not Windows users, and was more successful than what Apple had predicted. And BTW, iPod was more successful than other PMPs at that time, even though it was Mac-only.

The iPod was such a cool product (in fact, the coolest) that several people would buy a mac just to use iPods. Apple noticed this and came to the conclusion that the iPod might be more successful if it was released to Windows too.

Yes, if the iPod wasn't available to Windows, it would have been this successful, but it wouldn't have become a failure, that's for sure.

Going into retail isn't wrong. This is 2007 & not 2000. Time has changed & the computer companies need to interact directly with the consumer to show them what their products hold. HP has been doing this since ages with franchise based shops, so is HCL. Just cos apple also did it later, you saying that everyone is copying Apple is pure lame.
No, copying Apple is not lame. But what's lame is criticizing Apple about something, going as far as saying that Apple would fail, and doing the exact same thing later.

shantanu said:
Microsoft makes Apple supported Application and makes it legal to have it installed on MAC.
Oh, then why Microsoft won't allow Vista Home Premium to be installed on my Mac under Parallels Desktop (the best app to run Windows on macs) or VMWare (the free app to run Windows on macs)?

Microsoft gives proper support to Apple.
Then why do we read quite often about MS planning to discontinue Office for mac to hurt Apple?

Microsoft never advertise negatively.
You've never listened to Steve Ballmer's or Bill Gates' comments (their FUD campaign), have you?

Oh sorry, I forgot that you don't know what 'FUD' means.
 

gxsaurav

You gave been GXified
:Yawn: @ Arya

Shantanu is right, retail stores have been there since ages. Apple had to go the retail store way cos general consumer in the year 2000 didn't had much idea what Apple is. Actully they still don't but they know what iPod is.

You'll soon come to know how much I know about Apple history. And Microsoft has never, ever helped Apple, unless it benefited them in some huge way. And that is pretty obvious, given that they are competitors. Now, STFU and get lost. And stop hijacking threads with your nonsense for God's sake!

If it wasen't for Microsoft, Apple would have closed down in 1998 already.

Congretualtion, did u just won the award for best Apple Macboy marketing agent :D

Why in the hell you guys...do this...Not all page is a fight club for god sake..If you think i am hijacking...the thread...Give me a brake...

Everyone knows ipod was failure in the first..Only after compatibility with windows made them to survice in the market...Go ask any one out there...But this thread isn't about it right....

My 2 cents

eBro

Its nothing eBro, we just don't like giving applause to a company for something they were not he first to do.

Next they will say, Apple came first with an Idea of a 2 button mouse or a bike with electrical engine :D

It isn't MS which makes ads like Apple does & says "Mac, they don't even have a proper Office Suite" or "Mac's they don't have MSN support" without our product.

Yeah, they only bribe bloggers and journalists to write glowing reviews for their products. I am sure it isn't negative at all. And anyway, I have no clue how this is supposed to help Apple

While Apple sends lawers to anyone who posts a news on their blog "iPhone skin for Windows Mobile" or anyone who uses i(gasm) in there product name or pod in there product name.

I hope they won't sue Appy Fizz by saying "App"y rhymes with our company name. :D

And Steve Jobs in return had to sign a "Patent Cross License" which is what made Windows what it is today. If Jobs hadn't signed that agreement, Microsoft wouldn't have been able to copy all the patented stuff in the Mac OS GUI. Windows wouldn't have been what it is today (which is crap anyway, but is a lot better than what Windows 95 was).

Any link to prove what u r saying?

Please! I have read a lot about Apple's history so you'll only be making a fool out of yourself if you try to post something idiotic here. So quit doing it and stop turning threads into flame wars. I am sick of the three of you.

Yup, we too....Hey, who starts these flaiming threads?
 

goobimama

 Macboy
For what its worth, I have not entered a more beautiful, friendly, non-pressure shopping store than my local Apple Corner. Those guys are too good. Nicely mannered no matter who you are. The place is always neat and tidy with no wires running around the place. [For instance, they use a wireless router even though they could just as well use network cables.]

During the time that I used to frequent that place for want of using a Mac, as I didn't have one, not once did they grumble. Always let me use the Mac, internet and try out all their gadgets. I had not bought anything from their store.

That's what makes you feel like buying a Mac...
 
OP
aryayush

aryayush

Aspiring Novelist
gx_saurav said:
Any link to prove what u r saying?
You don't know about the Patent Cross License Steve Jobs was criticised for? You don't that about that license. Ha! Ha!

WOW! What do you know then. Why do you try to act all superior when you do not know about the single most crucial agreement in Apple and Microsoft history? WOW, this really is unbelievable. No wonder you actually seem to think that Microsoft hasn't been copying Apple since day one. :lol:


Anyway, I'm not interested in your stupid little argument. No one said that Apple invented the concept of retail stores, they just succeeded at it when every other tech company was failing and despite all the negative press. Because they did things differently. Now everyone is jumping onto the bandwagon.

Those articles weren't authored by me. One of them is written by Leander Kahney, a journalist for Wired magazine and the other one is a New York Times article. I guess everyone except you is a crackpot.

Do whatever you want, just don't bother me with your nonsensical comments.

goobimama said:
For what its worth, I have not entered a more beautiful, friendly, non-pressure shopping store than my local Apple Corner. Those guys are too good. Nicely mannered no matter who you are. The place is always neat and tidy with no wires running around the place. [For instance, they use a wireless router even though they could just as well use network cables.]

During the time that I used to frequent that place for want of using a Mac, as I didn't have one, not once did they grumble. Always let me use the Mac, internet and try out all their gadgets. I had not bought anything from their store.

That's what makes you feel like buying a Mac...
Yeah, that's true. I still go to the Apple Premium Reseller here sometimes just to use the 24-inch iMac (not everyone is lucky enough to have a 24-inch monster right in their home ;)). They are very friendly, even though I've never bought anything from them. They also allow unrestricted use of their Internet connection which is Wi-Fi enabled. No wires here either. :D
 
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gxsaurav

You gave been GXified
aryayush said:
You don't know about the Patent Cross License Steve Jobs was criticised for? You don't that about that license. Ha! Ha!

WOW! What do you know then. Why do you try to act all superior when you do not know about the single most crucial agreement in Apple and Microsoft history? WOW, this really is unbelievable. No wonder you actually seem to think that Microsoft hasn't been copying Apple since day one. :lol:

I don't stay on computer whole day...Next
Anyway, I'm not interested in your stupid little argument. No one said that Apple invented the concept of retail stores, they just succeeded at it when every other tech company was failing and despite all the negative press. Because they did things differently. Now everyone is jumping onto the bandwagon.

Ya ya, & Nokia makes bread while Coka cola makes engine oil

Do whatever you want, just don't bother me with your nonsensical comments.

Bother u, it is not my fault if my comments hurt your ego. :D
 

shantanu

Technomancer
aryayush said:
Yeah? Like what?

Yeah, they only bribe bloggers and journalists to write glowing reviews for their products. I am sure it isn't negative at all. And anyway, I have no clue how this is supposed to help Apple.
r u sure about this.. this statement of yours is very much flaming.. bribe (first you give proofs for any kind of bribe and then open your mouth..

then we all know that Steve Jobs is a cheater.. isnt it.. what a cheapster is he we know that..

aryayush said:
Yeah, so that they can make bucks out of it. They are not here to do charity work.
i think every company works for profits , its not non-profit organization which runs for Public welfare is it.. or do you even know something about the government , non-government, private and public welfare organizations, go and learn the meaning of business first...


aryayush said:
And Steve Jobs in return had to sign a "Patent Cross License"


so what you think the business is , its not a general store that you go and buy something, give cash and run away.. its proper deeds etc. hey why r u posting such stupid things.. oh i forgot you are a MAC FAN BOY :p

aryayush said:
And Steve Jobs in return had to sign a "Patent Cross License"
which is what made Windows what it is today. If Jobs hadn't signed that agreement, Microsoft wouldn't have been able to copy all the patented stuff in the Mac OS GUI. Windows wouldn't have been what it is today (which is crap anyway, but is a lot better than what Windows 95 was).

same thing i can say about your MAC, well its still SH1T i know that..
and Microsoft didnt copy a thing. the UI is completely different. When you dont have anything to say you start this crap... i know that..

aryayush said:
When Microsoft bought those shares, the share price was in the twenties. When they sold them years later, it had reached the seventies. Guess who made a bucket-load of profit - yes, that's right, Microsoft did.
oh my god. what should i say.. are bhai everyone works for profit.. this is business kid.. my god.. i pray to god for you.. :p

aryayush said:
What a selfless and philanthropic company! Helping out their poor, belittled competitors. :rolleyes:
well yes they help you the poor APPLE and the beggar JOBS, isnt it..
and what ! does APPLE has any DIGNITY.. NO.. when Apple is not having dignity and the power or truth then how can MAC fans have that too..

you dont even have common sense and or basic knowledge..

aryayush said:
Please! I have read a lot about Apple's history so you'll only be making a fool out of yourself if you try to post something idiotic here. So quit doing it and stop turning threads into flame wars. I am sick of the three of you.

well, i does not seems me that you have read anything about Apples history, or if you have read it too, then you didnt read about anything related to computing history, coz you dont even know from when the retail stores are going on... :p
and we are too tired of you two..

you stop flaming wars and have some posts which would help people.. oh ho
i again forgot you dont know anything in computers except MAC :D
 

gxsaurav

You gave been GXified
i guess arya expects MS to give something to Apple as charity as they are in dier need of money. If it wasen't for iPod compatibility with Windows, Apple would have really died in 2001.

Sometime I laugh at the ignorence of Macboys, all they know about Mac is from MacOS X 10.4 days & they think they know all about it. Grow up arya, quicktime still doesn't provides full hardware video acceleration for H.264 :D (example)
 

shantanu

Technomancer
nepcker said:
You don't know the history. Before the iPod was launched, there were several Portable Media Players (PMPs) on the market. The iPod was released as a PMP for mac users, and FYI, it was pretty successful. Apple had planned iPod for mac users only, not Windows users, and was more successful than what Apple had predicted. And BTW, iPod was more successful than other PMPs at that time, even though it was Mac-only.

r u trying to prove that APPLE was a big hit in IPODS.. no they were not.. everyone knows that.. you just dont want to reveal the truth.. i didnt wanted to say but some news was there that Zune was a Step from M$ to save iPOD from Apple.. well search the net for this , coz its been a quite long time when i read that..

nepcker said:
The iPod was such a cool product (in fact, the coolest) that several people would buy a mac just to use iPods. Apple noticed this and came to the conclusion that the iPod might be more successful if it was released to Windows too.

you r saying that as if Apple consulted you for this.. or you were in the board of directors :p
hey i think it sounds so ackward that people would buy MACs just to listen to IPOD music.. my god HILARIOUS :D:D:D , where is your sense gone BOY.
yeah iPOD was so freezing COLD that stocks were to be kept in COLD storage so that they could be saved (joke -- in case some less sensible people might not understand this)

nepcker said:
Yes, if the iPod wasn't available to Windows, it would have been this successful, but it wouldn't have become a failure, that's for sure.

it was a failure till it was MAC only.. read something first..

nepcker said:
No, copying Apple is not lame. But what's lame is criticizing Apple about something, going as far as saying that Apple would fail, and doing the exact same thing later.
r u sure , or just saying to say.. coz you got nothing more in stock.. google something..

nepcker said:
Then why do we read quite often about MS planning to discontinue Office for mac to hurt Apple?

hurt APPLE.. my god.. Apple is a Firm not a single Person.. firstly.. then Business is for rivalry not for playing abba and cutti.. as you say hurt..

nepcker said:
You've never listened to Steve Ballmer's or Bill Gates' comments (their FUD campaign), have you?
its something like saying """" 100 chuhe khake Billi haj ko chali""""

yeah i have listened many ti mes to MR. Gates , he is a fantastic business man with great capablities.. and you or aryayush or even JOBS dont have that much capacity to compare him or question him.. dont forget the limits...

nepcker said:
Oh sorry, I forgot that you don't know what 'FUD' means.

hey nepcker plz give me some tutions on that.. or a wikipedia link atleast.. :D
 
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