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back to article Apple stores getting close to overload

A study of traffic and productivity in Apple’s retail arm makes worrying reading for Cupertino, according to a new analysis by Asymco. In an age when traditional retailers are complaining about online traders stealing their customers, Apple has a different set of problems – too many people. While Apple has some of the most …

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Anonymous Coward

I've used Apple stores a couple of times, when I've been caught short and had to go for an islash.

Fancier toilets than McDonalds.

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Anonymous Coward

Did you figure out the seashells?

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Anonymous Coward

An iPood surely?

But my local apple store doesn't have a loo, so I'll have to have a 'McShit with lies' instead.

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FAIL

Yes it does appear you need training to use them as a customer. Every person who goes in for the first time must have to ask how to pay. I wouldn't mind but I had to get someone to go and get my item from the back as there weren't any on the shelves - he still didn't indicate I could pay him, he just handed it over and stood in silence. Truly bizarre. Maybe there's a code word or something?

Annoying thing is that some other shops seem to be copying them now. I went in a T mobile shop to get a phone fixed under warranty and there was simply nowhere to queue. It was just a free form mess of shop assistants and mood lighting. Your choices are basically give up or linger around a member of staff you need to choose at random to try and get served next.

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FAIL

If Macs just work, why is there always a lengthy wait for tech support at the store?

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@KnucklesTheDog

"...had to get someone to go and get my item from the back as there weren't any on the shelves..."

Did you really understand the comment you were replying to? Hilarious!

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FAIL

He He

Ooops, meant next one down!

:-D

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Apple get the UX right

Again.

Why is anyone surprised that it makes them money hand over fist.

My encounters with the Apple sales droids have been some of the most civilised shopping experiences I have had.

Treat customers nicely and they come back.

Its not rocket science why have so many retailers forgotten this?

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Gimp

Actually...

Despite my fanboi status, I find the UX of Apple Stores horrible. Unless you are familiar with how things work. Want to pay for something? Where do you do that? Have an appointment at the Genius bar - what do I do when I get there? go straight to the bar? Hover in the queue of people who seem to be queuing for the bar? Do I have to tell someone that I've arrived?

Other than the ability to play with kit I fund them confusing and disorientating.

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Anonymous Coward

Not to mention they allow people to look how they want. Piercings and bright hair seem to be no barriers to working there.

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Happy

Durr

Ask a member of staff then. There seems to be a fair few of them around ;) Seriously though I get approached within 10 seconds (on average) when I walk in.

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Cheers to that

I live in Norway... no Apple Store here... but I've been to several Apple stores in the States, in London and in the Louvre. I can safely say... I have never bought anything in the store because their system infuriates me.

I wanted to buy an Apple TV last time I was there. Picked one up and started walking around looking for somewhere to pay. For some reason I couldn't discern, there was a single cash register with about 12 people in line and the guy at the register was answering questions for everyone. He was averaging one customer every 10 minutes. I was not waiting 2 hours to buy a cheapish item like that.

I asked guy in a blue shirt if I could buy the Apple TV anywhere else in the store. He sent me to get an appointment with the Apple TV "Genius" and I waited 10 minutes before he came to me. I asked him if I could check out and he was blatantly rude to me for trying to get around the system like this even though the other guy told me to do it this way.

I put it down, walked out of the store, ordered it on Amazon and it was waiting at the door 10am the next morning and because I dodged state sales tax and got it for less than MSRP, I saved $5.

I suspect that was my last visit to the Apple store and I'll be suggesting others to research online and order elsewhere as well.

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Pirate

The iPhone experience

it's not just the fact that they are nice to customers that keeps us returning, It's the fact they they are "Apple". The brand has become a global status symbol. Shopping in an Apple store an experience. being seen in the high street with an apple branded paper bag is cool. Having the latest new iPhone is uber cool! But let me tell you, from a technical POV, with the exception of Siri, the iPhone 4S has nothing on some of the high end android devices such as the galaxy s2. The reason it sells better is simply because its and Apple. Apple are so strict about their branding guidelines that they wont allow any other mobile phone to sit beside it in a mobile operator store. the iPhone must have its own stand. On-line they insist that operators all use approved apple copy and that they have their own iPhone web page. here is an example on vodafone: <a href="http://www.vodafone.co.uk/brands/iphone/index.htm">Apple iPhone</a> Notice the interactive graphic at the top? It is standard apple branding. All networks are required to have it and are banned from speaking about the phones features. ironic, considering that apple feed the rumour mill by dropping breadcrumbs of "leaked" information to generate most of their pre launch promotions.http://www.channelregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/pirate_32.png

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This post has been deleted by its author

really?

The Salisbury reseller has more staff than costumers. Pass it every day watching them busy doing nothing.

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Anonymous Coward

Really indeed?

I do not believe you, unless you pass when it is closed. Interesting that with your lack of interest you bother to look and count, or so you claim.

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Anonymous Coward

Ya RLY

I missed the bit where he claimed lack of interest. In fact, I see nothing in his post that precludes his being some sort of Apple shop fanatic compiling a book about how f*cking awesome Apple shops are; He could be walking past rather than going in on the first however-many occasions to observe the staff without significantly interacting with them.

Of course, you're probably right; He's probably just one of those people you hear about on the news who runs about claiming that the various retailers are doing a bit less trade than somebody else previously claimed.

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Anonymous Coward

demographics

is the Salisbury demographic the Apple demographic?

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Facepalm

Read it fully...

The article concerns Applestores - Apple's own retail stores.

It does NOT relate to resellers.

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Really really

Happy to take a photograph any day of the week. The staff are easily identified as they are in the majority.

Even on a Saturday it's not "busy".

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FAIL

I know that a haters gonna hate, but Mick you really must try harder with your trolling. There isn't an Apple retail store in Salisbury; a reseller is not the same thing as well you know. Plum.

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Really Really?

I often pop into the Salisbury reseller (Stormfront) and usually find customers in there. I had to wait to be served, dreadful! I find the staff well informed and a pleasure to do business with. I am currently waiting for them to fix my cracked MacBook case, free of charge, despite being over four years old. Nice. I thought the nearby Southampton Apple shop was too crowded and small.

In a similar vein, in Germany in every street there are numerous sex shops and chemists (apothekes) in almost every street and there are never more than one or two customers in there and often none. One wonders how they pay the rents, especially in places like Munich.

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Headmaster

To be honest

I'm not very surprised... how many costumers would one expect to find in an Apple store? Surely "makers of costumes" is a very specific demographic?

How did you know that they were costumers anyway? Were they wearing their wares? Back end of a pantomime horse buying an iDevice perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

stormfront

I thought they were a neo-nazi hate website. Now that's a good rumour to start. It could explain their lack of popularity- like the shiney but the whole white supremacist stuff, not so much.

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Anonymous Coward

Surely your Salisbury reseller (we've also got one in Maidstone)

is aware that Stormfront is also the name of a notorious racist site?

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Stinky

The last time I visited an apple store–shortly after the release of the iPhone 4S–I was repulsed by the stinky smell. Too many people for too long a period of time = yuchh. http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_down_32.png

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FAIL

Here in Italy, too.

My wife went to the just opened Apple Store in Bologna, Italy and she also told me that it stinks. Too much people, not enough air conditioning. An enormous, new and beautiful store, very nice to see, not very nice to smell.

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Stop

.... and yet none for Scotland's capital

Fancy that, Edinburgh is too insignificant a city for Apple to bless them with a store.

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Devil

Well, Scotland will have to bite the bullet and admit that electricity isn't actually witchcraft.

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It is weird isn't it!

Still the one in Glasgow is my favourite of all that i've visited!

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And yet there's one in Aberdeen

(No offence to residents of the granite city.)

I guess the implication is that we should be delighted by the hike through to Glasgow. That said, there's a reseller in Edinburgh (can't remember who it is), and on the couple of occasions I've been in there the staff have been excellently friendly, courteous and knowledgeable (and I think they outnumbered the customers).

There used to be an Apple store in Edinburgh, on Hollyrood Road. That's going back to the mid-90s though (from my recollection) while Apple were busy trying to flush themselves down the toilet. Maybe it was a particularly poor site and they don't reckon there's a market. That said, they weren't very good. I remember being demoed the top of the range Mac Quadra and the top of the range Laserwriter GX(?), and it took 10 minutes to put out a page. Embarrassing for us all...

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FAIL

FYI

They're planning on putting one in the new St James Centre, so I'm told. Anyone's guess when that will be seeing as the redevelopment project is a year behind schedule and the main shopping area is still open as usual with no work having been done.

Back to the discussion - I haven't actually visited an Apple Store. To be honest, I don't see why I would when Apple products are available for demonstration in other high street retailers and I can buy online anyway. I think these people are just visting the stores because they can and not because there's no alternative.

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Yet there are two in glasgow.

Maybe Apple are trying to tell you something....

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And Glasgow has two!

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@McMoo

Glasgow has one, something guaranteed to rile Edinburgh folks...

Dundee has a Stormfront 'premium reseller' (whatever that means) which seem to have much the same ethos in terms of civilised staff (and I don't even own any Apple stuff).

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Trollface

Well you will just have to try out the best thing Edinburgh has to offer. Then you will find their Glasgow store practically outside Queen Street station.

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Anonymous Coward

the reseller is next to the scotmid near the pear tree (pub), ScotMac, MacScott, ScottSys something drole like that.

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Anonymous Coward

My claim to fame, I once had a yelling match with the staff in the Glasgow Apple Store!

I bought a iPod Touch in HMV, called Apple support 24 hours later when it packed up. Apple Support UK said take it to any Apple Store and they will replace it. I questioned this but they insisted that the store would replace it. I drove 130 miles to Glasgow ( I was on holiday in Northumberland ) and when I got there Apple staff refused to see me without an appointment and refused to handle something I have been promised would be dealt with. I then shouted and argued in a very loud voice in that rather large granite edifice!

Now to give them credit the Apple store manager did call HMV UK and the HMV in Glasgow centre to demand HMV replace it for me, which HMV had no issues with. So it got it sorted but don't trust the support muppets at Apple's UK call centre as they obviously have no idea how the retail biz works!

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I walked into one this morning

it had about 30 staff and 100 customers, and the staff were attentive and helpful. Definitely going back after Christmas for a longer look when there aren't so many crowds.

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"makes worrying reading for Cupertino"

"makes worrying reading for Cupertino"? Really? sounds like the kind of problem most companies would kill to have right now.

whatever you think of Apple in general, I'm all in favour of paying people a decent salary to do a job of work, not paying them peanuts and requiring them to make up the balance in commissions.

of course, it's easy to treat your sales droids well when you can't stop your products flying off the shelves. it's much more interesting what companies choose to do when things aren't going so well.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed

It is much better to pay people a decent salary, but its probably much easier for Apple as it's the manufacturing drones that they pay peanuts and then stick a stupidly high margin on every product.

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Stupidly High MArgin

Perhaps, but then none of the other manufacturers seem able to undercut them with their me-too products.

I wonder what that says?

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Facepalm

"whatever you think of Apple in general, I'm all in favour of paying people a decent salary to do a job of work, not paying them peanuts and requiring them to make up the balance in commissions."

The translation, for those of us who do not speak communist, is that the poster fears an achievement based system. Probably one of the bottom 10% employees at his place of employment.

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"Perhaps, but then none of the other manufacturers seem able to undercut them with their me-too products.

I wonder what that says?"

That people who buy Apple products have no comprehension of cost benefit analysis, lack a fundamental understanding of technology and generally are gullible hacks.

That's like saying "I wonder why ghetto people take short term loans with such high interest rates?" The answer is simple, they are too stupid to know otherwise.

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FAIL

except, no

Obvious troll is obvious, but by all means, let me expand.

Performance based pay is great, *in theory*.

The problem with it is that it is almost never implemented well. In order to implement it well, obviously, you have to evaluate performance properly. This is hard, however, and most companies don't bother.

The problem with paying salespeople on commission is that you are effectively paying them based entirely on their sales. This seems fine at first glance, but it really isn't.

If you work on a retail floor, and you're paid basic rate plus commission, then assuming you're a rational actor, your goal is to spend as much of your time as possible selling the most expensive things you possibly can.

You have absolutely no immediate incentive to *help* anyone in any way if it does not immediately lead to a high value purchase. There's zero mileage for you in helping a customer find something they're looking for if some other salesperson will get the sale. There's zero mileage for you in helping a previous customer get the thing you sold them working. Why would you do that? You're not getting paid for it.

I know people who work retail (I don't. I work for Red Hat. No, I'm not in the bottom 10% of anything.), and I've heard them express _exactly_ these sentiments.

Of course, in the long run, having all your customer interaction done by people who have zero motivation to help those customers in any way at all besides to sell them expensive stuff is not good for your company. But figuring out a more sophisticated system of performance measurement - or even, shock, not using something that's based purely on number crunching but *actually having real people evaluate each other's performance* - is much more complicated, so lots of companies don't bother. And then they wonder why people hate shopping at their stores, and rank them so low on customer satisfaction surveys.

To take another example, I *have* worked in tech support, and the company I worked at - and many others - evaluated the 'performance' of phone monkeys based almost entirely on the number of calls they were able to handle in a given unit of time.

This is an even more egregiously dumb method of 'performance' evaluation. Any phone monkey with a quarter of a brain figures out in short order that their goal is to get the customer off the phone in the shortest amount of time possible. If your problem seems remotely complicated or difficult it is in my best interests to either fob you off on some other department, fake up a reason to get you to hang up to try out some bogus fix which is unlikely to work, or simply hang up on you. Not surprisingly, this means the actual *experience* of people who call into places which evaluate performance based on call time is...highly unlikely to be optimal, let's say.

But figuring out a system which actually 'measures' how well any given person provides customer satisfaction is a hell of a lot more difficult than feeding raw call time statistics into an Excel macro to produce a pretty bar chart on the desk of some middle-management pencil pusher who can then fire the bottom 5% of people on the chart, so hey, that's what middle management is going to do.

Summary: in theory, performance related pay is not a bad idea in many cases. But, especially in large companies, it's all too rarely implemented in a way which actually measures performance in a way which is a) actually meaningful and b) actually beneficial to the company over the long term. It's far more often implemented in an overly simplistic way which results in those whose 'performance' is being measured gaming the system in ways which is clearly, objectively detrimental to the actual experience of the company's customers.

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FAIL

What?

I said;

"Perhaps, but then none of the other manufacturers seem able to undercut them with their me-too products."

Bullseyed said;

"that people who buy Apple products have no comprehension of cost benefit analysis"

So Samsung, RIM, HP, Sony all sell tablets _at_the_same_price_ as the ipad but it is apple buyers who are unable to do a cost benefit analysis?

What you are suggesting is that people should compare the ipad to other tablets and choose the other tablets because they are cheaper and/or better than the ipad.

<Kryten>

An excellent plan sir with only two drawbacks. The other tablets are neither better nor cheaper than the ipad"

</Kryten>

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@AdamWill...

I would say that is an excellent top 1% answer to why performance based pay is good for back stabbing morons.

It's so freaking obvious too, why don't companies see it? Well, Apple seem to get it, but not many others do.

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Headmaster

Do a starbucks!!!

When a store starts to reach capacity...open another very close by, if demand fails off you can close one of the stores but not have to lose presence in the locality.

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My experience...

Went to get an iPad, and the girl I was served by actually openly admitted she didn't get commission, and that the iPad WiFi 16GB could be tethered to my phone for a small extra monthly charge, so no need for the 3G.

I also overheard a chap *UNDERSELLING* someone a Macbook instead of a Macbook air after actually listening to what the old guy wanted to use it for...

I'm not fanboy, and I sold the iPad last week for £50 less than I bought it 3 months ago, but this is in stark contrast to the time I popped into Currys a while ago to grab an Advent Vega tablet for my work colleague's daughter. He tried convincing me I would be much better off with an iPad 3G 64GB, even though I told him it's far superior to what I was after.

currys/PC-World/comet = clueless annoying sales droid idiots, which are almost certainly paid peanuts and make their money on commission / upselling. All in all, the store was pleasant and I'd go back if I had a random windfall of money :-P

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