Apple’s Secret for Creating Insanely Loyal Customers
One of the ways Apple Stores drives interactivity for customers in-store is by positioning the retina display on all of its MacBook Pro notebooks at exactly the same angle, according to Carmine Gallo, a communications coach and author of The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty.
In a column in Forbes, Mr. Gallo asserts that part of the reason employees who open the store use an iPhone app (Simply Angle) to create a slight-angle positioning for each notebook display is for aesthetic reasons. But the main reason, he believes, is "to encourage customers to adjust the screen to their ideal viewing angle — in other words, to touch the computer!"
While Apple Stores regularly gets plaudits for friendly and knowledgeable staff and attractive store designs, Mr. Gallo said, such interactive touches create "multisensory experiences" that a crucial part of the chain’s wild success.
Another way interactivity is encouraged is having machines that are all plugged in and loaded with software and apps along with free Internet access. Wrote Mr. Gallo, "Customers in an Apple Retail Store can spend all the time they want playing with the devices and using the internet — nobody will pressure them to leave."
Finally, a more subtle technique is having trainers in "One to One" workshops avoid touching the customer’s computer unless absolutely necessary to steer them to discover solutions themselves. Wrote Mr. Gallo, "The Apple Store was never created on the premise that people want to buy stuff. Instead Apple discovered that by creating an ownership experience, customers would be more loyal to the brand."
By comparison, he points to how Best Buy’s devices are all turned off in the store. Still, he cited Build-A-Bear, which helps children build their own stuffed animal, as an example of how interactivity can be fostered outside the electronics space. Wrote Mr. Gallo, "Apple has learned what many other businesses are just beginning to figure out — make it fun for people to connect with your product using all their senses."
A USA Today article last year, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the first Apple Store, cited former Apple chiefs Ron Johnson’s attention to design and staff training among the reasons for the chain’s success. But it also cited Mr. Johnson’s vision of create environments where consumers could discover products on their own. Gary Allen, who runs the website ifoAppleStore.com, which tracks Apple Store openings, told USA Today, "His first take on the products was that they were so good they would sell themselves."
- How Apple Store Seduces You With the Tilt of Its Laptops – Forbes
- Apple Store’s Secret Sauce: 5 Steps of Service – Forbes
- How Apple Stores rewrote the rules of retailing – USA Today
- Secrets From Apple’s Genius Bar: Full Loyalty, No Negativity – The Wall Street Journal
- A Genius of the Storefront, Too – The New York Times
Discussion Questions: To what degree can retailers in other categories do more to create “multi-sensory” experiences? Can you think of some examples where in-store interactivity can be applied in categories other than electronics?