6 Tips for How to Shop at an Apple Retail Store
Apple’s retail stores are friendly places. You can use the kit, hang out, get all kinds of advice for how to use your products but for a lot of first time visitors it’s all a bit weird – where do you shop?
Every time you visit an Apple Retail store you see them. New store visitors. You can spot them because they will be wandering around looking anxious, trying to avoid people’s eyes. These new arrivals just want to explore the shop and look at the products they are interested in, they don’t want to speak to anyone; they don’t want to ask questions; they don’t want to engage and they don’t want to be sold to.
Apple understands this, and while an Apple employee may approach these customers to offer help they won’t be pushy – it takes a few moments for most new store visitors to acclimatize.
Above: Apple’s Steve Jobs showed us the first ever retail store way back in 2001.
Once the new store visitor has got their act together they may begin to wander round the store, and that’s when the second wave of confusion starts. Where are the products? Sure, there are products on every table, but there’s usually someone in the way – these new first time visitors don’t want to be rude, don’t know their way around, and that nice person who asked if they needed help when they first entered the store seems to have disappeared.
What to do?
Here is the six-part user guide for a new Apple Retail Store visitor:
Rule One: Relax
Take a deep breath. Apple staff will not try to put you under pressure to buy anything, so don’t be scared to interact with them, once you decide to do so.
Rule Two: Explore
Most Apple retail stores are gently subdivided into logical areas, an ‘Avenue’ where you can look at the products and accessories and get advice on making better use of them; a Genius are, where you’ll find Apple tech support people who can help you mend your broken iThing (subject to appointment); A more public space, likely featuring a big screen where small public events sometimes happen (a singer/guitarist last time I visited a store). There are some other elements, and the layout and use of each store varies. A new shopper should take a moment to get used to the way things work.
Rule Three: Approach with Confidence
I guess you know what it is you want to buy? Perhaps you just want to look at a few Apple products while you decide, or perhaps you don’t want to buy anything at all? That’s OK! Now you’ve looked at the store and kinda know where everything is, just wander up to a table containing the first product you want to examine. You may need to wait for a little while to get to use on of the products on show, but your moment will arrive. When it does, take time to get to know it – you can try it to see how the apps work, go to your favorite sites, even login to your account and send an email (but do log out afterwards). You can spend as much time as you need physically working with products. If anyone asks if you want help, you can ask them to explain more. If you aren’t sure what you want, tell them you’re just interested and looking
Rule Four: Get a Conversation Going
Once you know what you want, look around for one of the Apple T-shirt wearing staff and ask for help. If they can’t help you they’ll find someone who can. Discuss what you want and what you expect from it, and they’ll be able to advise you if you’ve picked the right system.
Rule Five: Buy Stuff
When it’s time to buy, you can speak to the same staff member. They will likely march you to another part of the store and open one of the discreet cupboards you’ll suddenly realise are dotted around the shop. They’ll pull out the product you need, help you get hold of any accessories you might want to add, and then take payment on a modified iPhone they have in their back pocket. Thank them (because they are human and they like to be treated with the same respect they show you), and then you can walk away.
Rule Six: After sales
Don’t forget Apple will provide you with a lot of help learning how to use the product(s) you just acquired, just book in for one of the sessions they will offer you in a follow-up email.
Armed with these six rules you should never feel out of place in an Apple Retail store. As you can see, it’s a bit different than some stores in that the whole experience is designed to be laid back, which can be a culture shock if you’re not used to it. Now you’re equipped to go visit an Apple Retail Store near where you are.