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.