I went to the Apple store the other day to check out the new Macbooks. My wife wanted me to pick up an accessory for her iPod while I was there (sure thing, honey!).
After I played with the new Macbook a little, I found the iPod accessory I needed, grabbed it off the shelf, and turned around, ready to purchase.
I was lost. I didn’t know where to go.
There are no traditional registers in the store. I saw other customers sitting and waiting. I’m not sure for what.
I didn’t know if I should speak to the Apple store people in the blue t-shirts or the orange ones.
There were no clear lines.
No clear way for me to buy my selection.
I got frustrated and returned the accessory to the shelf. I turned and walked out of the store.
We ended up picking up what we needed on a subsequent visit to Target.
So how did the Apple store lose my business?
I had the product in hand. I wanted to buy. I was even willing to wait if only I knew how and where.
The Apple store is so in love with design and being different that they broke the social norms of shopping. In so doing, they risk introducing confusion to shoppers and losing money.
So now, I view the Apple Store as a “try it before you buy it” place, meaning I most likely will buy it somewhere else.
Apple still makes their money even if it doesn’t all come through their retail stores. Nevertheless, chances are, you’re not Apple. You need to convert those prospects to customers because there probably isn’t a backup to catch their money in some other venue.
Think about how you service your customers. They want to spend their money with you. Are there barriers in their way to spending money with you? Remove them and watch the cash flow.