Apple is a company that’s been praised for innovating and changing things up in ways that other companies haven’t. Their quirky ads highlighting their products only further the notion that this a company that does things its own way.
They practically re-invented the way the world listens to music, on a mobile device (iPod); turned music catalogs into online cash cows (iTunes); and created a tablet computer that many users swear replaces their laptops (iPad). And they make a smartphone (iPhone) for which people will stand in line for hours to get each new model.
Some would argue that other companies sell similar products, but no one has done it better.
So it’s no surprise that Apple also re-invented, or at least re-imagined, the store experience. Go into any Apple store in the world and consumers are presented a store like no other. First, there’s a greeter at the door (sure, Wal-Mart does this, too.)
The basics are the same as any other store. There are products lining the walls.
On several tables throughout the store, there are numerous laptops, iPads and iPhones for consumers to play with to their heart’s content. But that’s where the similarities end.
For starters, any employee in the store can transact a purchase on the spot. If someone grabs an iPod and wants to buy it, they don’t need to march to the back of the store to find a register to pay for it. There are no lines. They just need to find an employee, and there are many in any store. The employee carries with him or her a mobile device, similar to an iPhone. The employee slides the credit card into the device.
Under all those tables presenting the devices are printers and bags. The employee grabs the receipt and bag from underneath the table, bags everything up and hands it to the consumer. The whole purchase process is incredibly painless.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: How does an employee walking a parts store floor accept a greasy core on the spot? That may be a little messy, unless it’s in a box. So, not all cues from Apple may be as easy to replicate in parts stores. Still, there may be a better way to do business in your store that you’ve not thought of. Apple makes it incredibly easy to do business with them and that should be the goal of anyone who sells products.
Counter Professional of the Year
Don’t forget! Nominations for the 2011 Counter Professional of the Year award, sponsored by Affinia, WIX and Raybestos Brake & Chassis, are being accepted now until Aug. 1.
Go to counterman.com/cpoty.aspx
and click on “CPOTY” at the top of the navigation bar, to reach the application page. You can either nominate yourself or someone else. All nominees must be ASE-certified.
Each year, the Counter Professional of the Year and a guest are flown to Las Vegas to receive the award and attend Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. The flights and hotel stay are just part of this all-expenses-paid trip. The chance to get industry-wide recognition is one of the greatest attributes of the award.