14 Merchandising Lessons From Apple

Apple Store- Carlsbad

Sunday I went to my One on One class at the Apple Store. If you haven’t been to an Apple Store, I highly recommend going. You can spend hours looking and learning for free, and it’s fun, even for a non- techie like me.

What’s Good about Apple Stores-

1.) There’s not alot of products out- it’s very simple

2.) It’s clean

3.) It’s interactive

4.) It’s fun

5.) I learn something every time I go

6.) It’s dangerous- I always buy!

7.) Staff is helpful and knowledgeable, not just about Apple products but others as well.

8.) They offer free Classes/ workshops

9.) They offer appointments.

10.) They offer One on One Training

11.) It is merchandised where products, information is easy to find and labeled.

You ask- How does that apply to you?

14 Merchandising Lessons From Apple

Apple Stores are busy, busy, busy. Any retail store that is busy like Apple, you can learn important merchandising, selling and brand building techniques.

Lesson 1 Website is great- Easy to navigate, has products listed- what I like it has Top TV Shows on iTunes, Top Movies on iTunes, Top Music on iTunes. Do you on your website- have a ‘Top Seller” Listing? Do you have a “What’s New” Listing? How about a ‘Staff Picks’ Listing. People buy what other people buy.  If I am downloading music I always look at what other people have purchased. This is called PRE-SELLING.

Lesson 2– Offers Shopping Tips right on the web site. – How many times are you just slammed at 5 p.m with everybody coming in after work for product pickup?  Here’s Apples Shopping Tips. I hate, hate, hate to wait. So I set up appointments. Your shopping tips could be similar- best time, set up appointment, wear your favorite or most predominate color, picking up contacts (makeup remover) etc..

  • Tip 1. Shop early. Shop late.The store tends to be busiest in the middle of the day. Shopping early in the morning or late in the evening helps you avoid the crowds.
  • Tip 2. Make an appointment.Test-drive new products and learn all about them by making a Personal Shopping appointment.
  • Tip 3. Check out anywhere.When you use your credit card for purchases, any Specialist or Concierge can check you out on the spot.
  • Tip 4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.If you have any questions, speak to a Concierge (in the bright orange shirt). The Concierge, your guide to the Apple Retail Store, will always point you in the right direction.

Lesson 3- Not a lot of product. Consumer is not confused about what to buy at the store.  A laptop is out with small signage and features listed. How many of your patients walk away without making a purchase because they are confused about their choices? Do you have frames scattered all over and not organized? Is it easy to see brands, colors and styles?

Lesson 4- It’s interactive- go an play with gadgets- All computers are set up, surf the net, play a game and have fun. Is your office interactive? Are frames out on display for consumers to try on? Do you have video’s highlighting key products or education? Are special products showcased?

Lesson 5- One on One Classes – Apple opens up early (7 a.m.) for special tutoring. One on One Classes are offered for $99.00 a year and you can have 1 class every week. For optical why not be able to have your own One on One Classes- For those patients who don’t want to be around many people- offer this for eye exams, eyewear pickup- eye health consulting, Contact Lens Training.

Lesson 6– Group Workshops – Every day Apple Stores offer group workshops for free. Is this something you can do? If you have slower days, or Wed afternoons- offer your own workshops to Patients and potential patients. I can think of several topics- Eye Health, Lasik, Taking Care of Glasses, Vision Therapy, Contact Lens Training, New Products and more.

Lesson 7 Kids Section and Youth Programs- What a great thing for parents- they can shop and learn and not worry about kids being entertained. How many times have you had a whiny kid in the office with a parent, and the parent leaves without a purchase?

Lesson 8 Personal Shopping- Most major retail stores, Nordstrom, Neiman’s all have personal shoppers. Can you become a personal shopper for your patients? Quality time spent for discerning and time strapped patients.

Lesson 9- Merchandising- everything is easy to find. Note the way the computers are laid out. Not jammed all over the place. Plenty of space to play, put down your purse. It’s clean and simple. How is your office set up, old posters and signs on the ceiling, on the floor on every available surface. Does the consumer tune out- too much information?

Lesson 10- Attire- Apple Staff can seem to wear whatever they want. Piercing, tattoos, ripped jeans are the norm. But they all wear color coded T’s. You know if they are a concierge, a Genius or Sales person. It all builds the brand. How is your staff attired? How does your staff build your brand? I see Apple Staff is bright, unique, trendsetting, techno individuals who know their stuff. When I go in a busy store, I can find them!

Lesson 11– They Bungle add-on’s. Buy the printer and get a $100 rebate. Your already there, and you buy it- it’s convenient and easier. Do you bungle your products effectively. UV, AR, Scratch Coat package, 2nd pair package, Contact Lens Package, Even an Accessory package (screwdriver, cleaning solution and microfiber cloth package)

Lesson 12- They offer tons of accessories. Get an ipod and then you have to have 1.) Headset 2.) Gift card for songs 3.) ipod cover and who knows what else. I have more accessories and don’t even know what they are all for!

Lesson 13 They offer Gift Cards- This is so easy to do. Who doesn’t want a Gift card. Do you offer gift cards? This is a great opportunity for an optical office to sell and get new patients.

Lesson 14 They recycle old equipment. Could this be an opportunity for you to get the patients coming in- Old glasses, contacts, contact lens cases, eyeglass cases and other optical products?

My recommendation- go to an Apple Store and check it out. If you don’t have one near you, check out busy retail stores and see how they are set up. Check out their websites to see if they have an idea that you can use for your website/blog or your office. Keep your eyes open for opportunities and changes in visual merchandising .