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The WSJ Divulges the Secrets of Apple’s Retail Stores

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The Wall Street Journal went behind the scenes in an in-depth article about Apple’s successful retail stores. What makes this story so interesting is earlier today, news hit the web J.C. Penny nabbed Apple’s head of retail stores, Ron Johnson to become their new CEO in November.

Johnson is the genius (no pun intended) behind the success of Apple’s retail stores, and in my discussions with employees he is like a ‘Godfather’ figure. “What would Ron do?” is something employees would say all the time.

Here are some of the more interesting notes revealed about Apple Stores in the WSJ article:

– Apple’s annual retail sales per square foot is $5,914 (including iTunes). For comparison’s sake, jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. makes $3,070
– Apple’s ‘steps of service’ are laid out in the following acronym:
A pproach customers with a personalized warm welcome
P robe politely to understand all the customer’s needs
P resent a solution for the customer to take home today
L isten for and resolve any issues or concerns
E nd with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
– Apple employees who are six minutes late in shifts three times in six months maybe fired
– Many members of Apple’s initial retail team came from Gap, which was viewed as a model because of its hip image and success with its branded stores—so many that people joked about working at “Gapple.”
– Former Geniuses say they were told to say “as it turns out” rather than “unfortunately” to sound less negative when they are unable to solve a tech problem
– Apple store staffers are paid about $9 to $15 per hour at the sales level, and up to about $30
per hour as Geniuses, comparable to other retailers.

I’ve had my fair share of good experiences dealing with Apple Geniuses, such as when I got my iPhone 4 back replaced for $29. Other times, it can be downright frustrating when stores are so busy, in trying to find an employee for some help.

How have your Apple Retail experiences been? Will Apple be taking a hit with the loss of Ron Johnson?

Thanks to Greg for the heads up!

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  • I’ve had my iPhone 4 replaced 3 times now.  Jailbroken and all.  Never takes more than 15 minutes after I get there for a Genius Bar appointment.

    They’ve also replaced my MBP battery (twice) and charger free of charge well past the warranty expiry.

  • I’ve had my iPhone 4 replaced 3 times now.  Jailbroken and all.  Never takes more than 15 minutes after I get there for a Genius Bar appointment.

    They’ve also replaced my MBP battery (twice) and charger free of charge well past the warranty expiry.

  • Now that’s what I call some awesome visits to the Genius Bar.

    What location do you normally go to?

  • Calgary

    went to see if they would fix my iPhone 3GS or replace it, “as it turns out” it’s a few weeks past the warranty and they want $240 to replace. The calls connect but no sound is heard or sent, the rest of the phone works perfect. So i don’t know what to do? (have cleaned headphone jack, restored as new device, rebooted, nothing helped)

    and i dislike their appointment styles, no one will speak or help you. most people have a life and can’t book an appointment for two weeks from now, for something that I need to drop by and have a 2 minute conversation. seems like a good idea, and provides fair usage to make sure everyone “can” be served, BUT honestly, we all know they have people in the back just sitting.

  • Calgary

    to add about my 3GS, I went in with an appointment, the genius guy didn’t even touch the phone.

  • Greg

    don’t abuse apple ed!

  • Greg

    don’t abuse apple ed!

  • Greg

    don’t abuse apple ed!

  • Greg

    don’t abuse apple ed!

  • Anonymous

    My experience with Apple Stores in Toronto is that while the CSRs may be fans of the products they sell, they are often woefully, uh….under-trained as to how to use the software, or the capabilities thereof.
    This is bad news – especially when a customer may be coming in to explore getting  their first Apple product from a competitive brand. Or, as may be the case especially with the Eaton Centre store, be a business-person with specific needs.

    A customer shouldn’t be coming into the store with more knowledge than a CSR (based on research they may have done on the net and simply want confirmation) – nor should they have to wait while a CSR finds an available Genuis who may know the answer.

    Enthusiastic and corporately-trained friendly Apple CSRs only go so far when the product you sell already has a significant price premium attached to it.

  • Ross31

    When my 4th gen ipod stopped working, i went to an apple store @ yorkdale mall. I didnt have an invoice because i only bought it used on ebay, and “as it turns out”, the warranty was already 3 weeks expired. Regardless, they took my old ipod and replaced it with a new one. This was probably 3-4 years ago…

  • Ross31

    When my 4th gen ipod stopped working, i went to an apple store @ yorkdale mall. I didnt have an invoice because i only bought it used on ebay, and “as it turns out”, the warranty was already 3 weeks expired. Regardless, they took my old ipod and replaced it with a new one. This was probably 3-4 years ago…

  • Ross31

    When my 4th gen ipod stopped working, i went to an apple store @ yorkdale mall. I didnt have an invoice because i only bought it used on ebay, and “as it turns out”, the warranty was already 3 weeks expired. Regardless, they took my old ipod and replaced it with a new one. This was probably 3-4 years ago…

  • iamlynda

    my husband’s 3GS has been replaced 3 times without issue. Each time I’ve gotten all syched up for a fight with the CSR all for not – within 5-10 mintes we were walking out with a new phone. While the appointment system is Ok for actually booking an appointment, I do find it frustrating that each time we were there early and no one would help us earlier than our appointment – store was slow and we could see people sitting in the back room everytime the doors opened. I also hate that there are only 2 stores in Edmonton – we have to drive all the way from the north end to the dreaded WEM (West Edm Mall)

  • iamlynda

    my husband’s 3GS has been replaced 3 times without issue. Each time I’ve gotten all syched up for a fight with the CSR all for not – within 5-10 mintes we were walking out with a new phone. While the appointment system is Ok for actually booking an appointment, I do find it frustrating that each time we were there early and no one would help us earlier than our appointment – store was slow and we could see people sitting in the back room everytime the doors opened. I also hate that there are only 2 stores in Edmonton – we have to drive all the way from the north end to the dreaded WEM (West Edm Mall)

  • Sparky

    Be grateful you actually have an Apple store. I live 2+ hours from the closest one and people in the Atlantic provinces don’t have any.

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