Why Apple Stores Work

Former boss of stores says it's all about customer relationships
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2011 4:13 PM CST
Ron Johnson: Why Apple Stores Work
Ron Johnson talks to employees and media about the Apple Store, in Chicago.   (Getty Images)

Apple Stores’ success is about much more than Apple products; after all, you can get Macs, iPhones, and iPads elsewhere for less money. What draws customers is the fact that an Apple store is “more than a store to people,” writes Apple's former VP of retail, Ron Johnson. “People come to the Apple Store for the experience—and they're willing to pay a premium for that," writes Johnson in the Harvard Business Review.

Central to that experience is connecting to customers: “The staff isn't focused on selling stuff, it's focused on building relationships and trying to make people's lives better.” Workers aren’t on commission and they’re not trying to sell you the most expensive product, Johnson writes. Instead, “their job is to figure out what you need and help you get it, even if it's a product Apple doesn't carry.” Just as Steve Jobs asked himself how he’d “reinvent the phone,” not how to gain more market share, retailers should ask themselves, “How do we reinvent the store to enrich our customers' lives?" (More Ron Johnson stories.)

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