The WSJ Divulges the Secrets of Apple’s Retail Stores

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!