The first Apple Store opened ten years ago in the Tysons Corner Center mall in McLean, Virginia. Today there are more than 300 Apple Stores worldwide, each as much a shrine to Apple’s stunning resurgence over the past decade as it is a place to buy tech gear and learn how to use it.
What’s the secret to Apple’s retail success? Theories abound, ranging from: the Apple Stores’ visual splendor (particularly if you’re fond of glass, spiral staircases, and museum-like minimalism); their ability to showcase the attributes of Apple’s products; plenty of hands-on time with the gear; and a hands-off, low-pressure style of salesmanship.
In truth, all of these factors have likely played a role in Apple’s retail triumph, not to mention the fact that the company has had an amazing run of success product launches since 2001.
If you ask me, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad–three iconic products–are the driving force behind the Apple Store’s success. Would the retail shops have become the success story they are today without these groundbreaking devices to showcase? I doubt it.
Apple’s retail strategy has worked wonderfully so far, but it may encounter a rough patch if a group calling itself the Apple Retail Workers Union succeeds in convincing Apple Store employees to unionize. According to Macworld, the group wants the world to know of the “unfair treatment and compensation” that Apple Store workers face.
Given Cupertino’s gaudy profits in recent quarters, the compensation complaint may have its merits–and find a receptive ear among Apple’s retail staff.