Came across a great article in Macworld this morning, pointing out the downside of Apple’s wildly successful retail stores.
My first visit to an Apple Store was revelatory. Not only were all of Apple’s products available for purchase, along with lots of Mac software and accesories, but all the machines were actually in working order and the staff knew what they were talking about. For some of you who have only known a world populated by Apple Stores, this excitment might seem strange, but there was a dark time before these retail oases opened.
I have to agree. The arrival of Apple Stores on the high street was amazing for those of us who had been used to living as second-class computer shoppers for so long.
People of all kinds are camped out at the demo machines, doing everything from checking Facebook to filming, editing, and posting videos of themselves rocking out to some sweet tunes. Interested in actually, you know, trying out a machine before you buy one? You’ll often have to wait.
I think they’re now a victim of their own success. In London at least, it’s near impossible to get in and out (including any firm if purchase) in less than 30mins. Why?
The shops are usually packed to the gills with people using the on display merchandise like they owned them. Emailing, Facebooking and everything in between. My own experience is that Apple store staff seem unwilling to ask them to move along.
When I bought my present MacBook Air – I turned up, decision made with my Amex card burning a hole in my pocket. Still the Apple store employee wanted to demonstrate something to me, but we couldn’t find a spare laptop to use. Standing next to a backpacker buying something on eBay, I indicated that maybe we could use “his” computer.
All I got was a sympathetic smile and a shrug. While our friend with the dreadlocks and improbably large backpack continued his afternoon of free computer use.
There should really be some sort of process to help customers who actually know what they want. I’d like to be able to just walk up to a counter and ask for the computer I want, pay for it and leave.
Why not buy online, I hear you ask?
It certainly seems easier. No queuing or waiting for freeloading tourists to vacate the space. Unfortunately, Apple relies on various couriers to actually their products. My experience of courier companies in the UK is that they are unreliable and not at all secure. It’s simply safer for me to go to a traditional bricks-and-mortar shop.
Come o, Apple – innovate. Make it easier for us loyal customers to buy your stuff. You know it makes sense.