In a world of failing retail spaces, the Apple store is seen as the model to follow. But it's been revealed that, startlingly, just one out of 100 visitors to Apple's retail stores ever actually buys anything. Or at least that was the case when Ron Johnson, CEO of J.C. Penney, was Apple's retail chief. So, what's the point of Apple's brick-and-mortar stores then?
"The Apple store's the place to be," said Johnson, speaking in an interview at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "[...] Only one out of the 100 who visit the store everyday buy anything. But it's the busiest store in the mall."
With sheer volume of foot traffic then, that one buyer is multiplied by many hundreds of store visitors for Apple, making it still a valuable proposition (especially when you consider iDevice's pricing margins). But arguably more important still than the sales for Apple is the opportunity to build a sense of community around the brand.
"The Apple store is, in many ways, a precursor of where things might go," said Johnson -- with social networks and online retailers eroding the physical connection we have with friends and those that provide us with our goods, Apple's airy, welcoming stores help to build trust with the company, and cultivate faith in its wares. The fact that anyone can finger its premium goods and piggyback off the store's Wi-Fi, regardless of whether or not they'd ever be able to afford an iPad or Mac, not only increases the feeling that Apple is somehow one of the tech good guys, but makes the gadget lust that surrounds its goods even more heightened. [CNET]