Apple: The Perfect Retail Experience
Disclaimer: Obviously people will have different experiences at different Apple stores at different times. This is just a single experience, in a single store, at a single point in time.
Today is my daughter Holly’s birthday. She’s been asking for an iPad for her birthday for months. I’ve been telling her that an iPad is too expensive, but I broke down yesterday after work and stopped by the Union Square Apple Store in San Francisco to buy her one. She was thrilled and ecstatic to receive it — can you tell by her photo above
I’ve purchased many things at many different Apple Stores over the years, but yesterday’s experience was so fluid and flawless that I thought I’d write a short post about it.
5pm (approximately) I walk into the store. I don’t get more than two feet into the store before making eye contact with an Apple employee strategically positioned by the door. “Welcome to Apple,” he says. “Can I help you something?”
“I’d like to buy an iPad,” I reply.
“Ok, great,” he says. “Would you like an iPad or an iPad Mini?”
“I’d like an iPad,” I reply.
“Ok, do you just want the basic 16GB one?”
“Alright, hold on, I’ll be right back.”
Less than two minutes later he returns with a new iPad in a shrink wrapped box.
“Would you like to put this on a credit card?”
“Yes,” handing him my American Express.
“Can I see your ID?”
I hand him my drivers license, he confirms it’s me, hands it back, says thanks and runs my card through a hand held device.
While the device is running the card he asks me, “are you buying your iPad for business or pleasure?”
I tell him that it’s for my daughter’s birthday. “Great,” he says.
A few seconds later he hands me his electronic device and asks me to sign it with my finger. I sign it with my finger.
“Would you like a printed copy of your receipt, or is just an email fine,” he asks. (God I HATE printed receipts, email receipts are sooooo awesome!).
I tell him that an email is perfect. “Ok,” he confirms, “to tom(at)thomashawk.com.”
“That would be great,” I answer back.
“Alright we’re all set then,” he says, “do you need a bag?”
“No,” I reply, “thanks for the help,” and put the iPad into my own bag and walk out the store — and just like that, four minutes later, I’m done.
This morning I received a follow up survey in my email about my experience at the Apple store. How could I not give them the highest possible ranking in every category?
Being able to walk into a store and purchase something right there at the entrance in less than five minutes is the absolute height of customer service. It’s delighting a customer who will certainly remember that experience the next time it comes to making a purchase and who will be back. No wonder so many people are buying Apple products.