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Glass Box

Apple boasts the highest revenue per square foot of any retail store, at US$5,546. Sure, selling expensive phones and computers helps them reach this figure but Apple has mastered the psychology of sales and it all starts with the modern yet minimal big glass box.

Apple stores are pretty damn cool. Modern and minimalistic, they are the most successful retail outlets in the world, generating US$5,546 per square foot in 2017. For reference, Tiffany did US$2,951 and Lululemon made US$1,560.

Sure, selling high-end consumer tech rather than dollar store items helps Apple reign supreme, but there’s a reason these big white, glass boxes are so successful in a dying brick-and-mortar market. Apple has mastered consumer psychology.

To start, the stores are bright and calm. Customers are willing to spend time in the environment. Moreover, there is no limit on how long customers can spend in the stores. Apple mandates that laptops are open to a specific angle encouraging customers to use their products. Sure, reading that the latest MacBook is 20% faster is one thing, experiencing it is another. The priority is on the experience, not the sale. Falling in love with the products increases the chance of a sale.  Without a cash register in sight, Apple’s supreme eCommerce experience mixed with incredible advertising means a sale does not have to be made in the moment.

The store is arranged not by products, but by “solutions” as Tim Cook put it. The traditional layout has all phones in one spot, and all laptops in another for example. The solutions approach sees areas of the store organised by themes like “audio” or “design”. The audio solutions section sells AirPods, other headphones, Macbooks to mix music on, iPods to listen to music on. This greatly influences cross-selling.

Then come the employees. Working at Apple is the NBA of retail; energetic and eloquent workers from all ages and backgrounds provide the perfect sales service. Apple bases its sales approach on the A-P-P-L-E methodology. See all steps here but the process revolves around probing for problems then providing solutions immediately in a warm and welcoming manner.

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