Apple CEO Tim Cook had a bone to pick with his retail store staff. While Apple is selling tons of iPhones, iPads, iMacs, etc., most of those products are not being sold in an Apple Retail Store. Why should Apple care where the products sell, as long as they sell? And what does Tim Cook plan to do to change the way those numbers are landing now?
Reports show that Cook spoke at a secret meeting for Apple Retail Store leaders recently, where he outlined his reasons for wanting to see better sales within Apple’s own showroom locations. He noted a few figures that might surprise some.
The first tidbit is that only 20% of iPhones are purchased at an Apple store. But iPhone is Apple’s “entry-level” product for most people. Consumers who do not own a Mac may easily purchase an iPhone. And once they have that, they may then be enticed to get an iPad, especially if they can get their hands on a friends iPad for a few minutes. And therein lies the aim for Cook.
Apple products need to be seen, touched, played with. And the best place to do that is in the pristine surroundings of an Apple Retail Store. In the Store, a prospective buyer, someone who came in to only get an iPhone, gets to wait around, play with all of Apple’s shiny gadgets, all without pressure. They can hop on Wi-Fi. They can play with apps and games. They can touch.
Likely, a customer will leave having only bought the iPhone he came in to get. But now he knows he can go play in the Apple Store anytime he is in the mall. He can walk in with his iPhone in hand, a member of a group now. And he is much more likely to eventually buy another item, saving for it, using his tax refund. When he hears about AppleCare and the different features of iCloud, he now has a sensory memory to put with those products. He’s in.
So, how to get people to come buy an iPhone in an Apple Retail Store, rather than sending 80% of that business elsewhere? Cook plans some incentives for both buyers and stores. A back to school promotion offering $50 gift cards to students who purchase an iPhone is a first step. Another is being able to match pricing of places that sell iPhones cheaper than the Apple Retail Store does, such as Radio Shack.
Cook’s vision on this is clear: Get the buyers to come in to the store. If they do, they’ll become converts, not just iPhone users.