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Apple exec says \'science museum-like stores work\'

updated 01:15 am EDT, Fri April 23, 2004

Apple VP talks AppleStores

At Providence's Success by Design conference, Apple VP Ron Johnson said that "while investors were wary, the ... Unlike most retail outlets, Apple stores are sparse, open and have a feeling that's more like a hands-on exhibit at a science museum. The idea, Johnson said, was to make customers feel as though they are in a public place, like a library. Only 25 percent of a store's floor space is devoted to products, he said, such as the company's popular iPod music player. Products are stocked, but they are kept in the back, out of view." [free registration required]

"'We wanted an atmosphere that was inviting, not intimidating, forward-looking, warm, interactive,' he said. 'And it makes you feel intelligent just by being there.'



"The interiors are made with common materials -- wood, stone and glass -- applied in uncommon ways.



"'For example, the SoHo store in New York has a glass staircase to encourage people to visit the second floor, which is often a challenge for retailers. The store in Tokyo, Japan, has glass elevators with no buttons. They are constantly moving, transporting people between floors.'



"'One of the most popular sections of the Apple stores are the banks of Macs connected to the Internet that serve as a kind of cyber-cafe, offering free Internet access to anyone. The high demand for an empty seat is a benefit, Johnson said. 'Busy stores create buzz.' That section is not hidden away, but intentionally placed in the most attractive space in the store, he said.



"'We devote the best space to the free service,' Johnson said. 'We give that, in effect, back to the public.' Then there's the genius bar, where customers can walk up and get help from a staff "genius. That's free too."



Excerpts taken from the The Providence Journal.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. wjdennen

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Providence

    Yeah, Apple does need a store in Providence!

  1. velocitychannel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Providence

    I second that. Providence Place Mall needs to make room for Apple. Who needs another Hot Topic? Jeesh!

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Providence?

    Like we used to say in Boston...

    Providence, the ahhm pit of New England.

  1. velocitychannel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Mr. Harris

    Providence is a lot nicer than Boston. Maybe not as big, but nicer. And speaking of armpits, what do you call Worchester?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: Providence

    Like we used to say in Boston...

    The key words there is "used to". Now they say "I can't wait to get out of this two-bit hole and get myself to a decent city...

  1. Feeling_Macish

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Less is More

    ...a fundamental design principle that Apple understands and very few other companies do. White space is elegant and sophisticated; clutter is bad design and low-brow. Look at all high-end product retailers - they give products (whether in a store window, on a printed catalog page, or on a web page) lots of space. As most retailers have their operation figured out to the exact $/square foot, you can see why the low-margin purveyors of Chinese c*** often adopt the slogan "stack 'em deep and sell 'em cheap". You do get what you pay for, and you do pay for what you get.

  1. NickKohn

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    True

    That is true/wierd. When I bought my PowerBook, I ddi feel that I was in a very public place, kinda like I was being watched. It actually made me feel a bit uncomfortable and sped up my decision process to buy the laptop.

  1. flur

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    genius break...

    waiting at the genius bar for help has become quite a long-term commitment at all the apple stores i've been to recently. (atlanta, d.c., soho NYC...) hiring an extra genius-salesperson who can leave the floor and jump back there for overflow wouldn't hurt much. sure, it looks great to have a waiting line. but it doesn't feel great to be in that line. = that said, the service is great once you work your way up to the counter. =)

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