Apple retail stores generate more dollars per square foot than any other retailer in the world. Scott Galloway points out in his new book The Four that Apple differentiates itself from other tech giants Google, Facebook and Amazon, because Apple is a luxury products company. Consumers spend eight to ten times more for an Apple iPhone than a Samsung Galaxy, because they are infatuated with the brand. Apple products connote a status that makes consumers feel good about their purchases.
Apple’s success does not stem from a superior product. Lots of smart phones, tablets, computers and watches offer comparable features, benefits and functionality. Apple differentiates based on its ability to emotionally connect with consumers whether it is to put 1000 songs in your pocket as Jobs described the first iPod or to think differently, Apple leads the pack in delivering compelling customer experiences.
Lessons for Showrooms
Apple understands better than most that we live in an experience economy. Given the fact that most employed Americans have very little free time on their hands, it is somewhat surprising and contradictory the amount of time dedicated to researching products and services before making a purchase. That’s one reason traditional advertising is not as effective as it once was. Consumers don’t want to hear a pitch or be sold. They crave how a product or service will solve a problem, make their life easier or improve their current status.
Apple developed Today at Apple to help consumers learn how to use its products. Today at Apple features subject matter experts and shows customers how to use Apple products to enjoy new experiences in music, art, design and photography among others. Apple does not focus on speed of processor, pixels or battery life of its products.
Kitchen and bath showrooms can mimic Apple’s approach by producing constant content that helps consumers make better informed decisions not only to design a new kitchen or bath but also how to take advantage of the new technology found in appliances, fixtures and cabinets. Showrooms understand that building a new kitchen or bath is never as easy as it may appear on Home and Garden television or Houzz.com. Why not create a customer recipe exchange on your website? What prevents you from offering entertaining ideas to your customers? Do you use the weekly blog that BKBG produces to help you show up on the first page of Google searches and stay constantly connected to your customers. Are you sponsoring remodeling how to seminars in your showroom?
Apple understands that creating compelling customer experiences involves catering to customer lifestyles and not simply meeting a requirement to have a smart phone.
The first Apple store opened 15 years ago. The original design has been heralded as transforming retail space. The open floor plan and genius bar were revolutionary. Apple does not subscribe to the notion that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. The company is transforming its retail spaces to move beyond a space to sell products. Instead, “the store has become one with the community,” explains Apple senior vice preside of retail Angela Ahrendts. Ahrendts said that Apple’s goal for its retail operation is to become forums for collaboration where customers come together to share and work collaboratively with one another.
Apple wants to emulate Starbucks and transform its stores into a place where people hang out.
What can you do to transform your showroom from a place where people come to obtain assistance with a new kitchen or bath to a place where the community wants to hang out?