Ron Johnson Says People Come to Apple For The Experience

by

ronjohnsonRon Johnson, the architect behind the Apple Retail Stores, has moved on to be CEO of JC Penney. But, he still remembers the lessons he learned while at Apple.

Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Johnson reflects on what makes the Apple Store unique:

People come to the Apple Store for the experience — and they're willing to pay a premium for that. There are lots of components to that experience, but maybe the most important — and this is something that can translate to any retailer — is that the staff isn't focused on selling stuff, it's focused on building relationships and trying to make people's lives better. That may sound hokey, but it's true. The staff is exceptionally well trained, and they're not on commission, so it makes no difference to them if they sell you an expensive new computer or help you make your old one run better so you're happy with it. Their job is to figure out what you need and help you get it, even if it's a product Apple doesn't carry. Compare that with other retailers where the emphasis is on cross-selling and upselling and, basically, encouraging customers to buy more, even if they don't want or need it. That doesn't enrich their lives, and it doesn't deepen the retailer's relationship with them. It just makes their wallets lighter.

Perhaps as a hint toward the direction he intends to take JC Penney, Johnson ends by noting that "the retailers that win the future are the ones that start from scratch and figure out how to create fundamentally new types of value for customers."

Top Rated Comments

room237 Avatar
120 months ago
Now, it's up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare
minimum. Well, like Brian, for example, has 37 pieces of flair. And a
terrific smile.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cubedweller Avatar
120 months ago
not entirely true.. Apple up sells as well.. they have always tried to get me to purchase AppleCare with every product I've purchased.. same was true with the old MobileMe..
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Vol7ron Avatar
120 months ago
that's true...I remember working back at CompUSSR that the mentality there was to cross sell and up sell. If a person only wanted a laptop or desktop and nothing else, no printer, software, cables, service plan, etc. to get them to leave the store - They didn't want their business. They only wanted the multi orders with service plans that brought them in lots of cash. I hated doing that to customers. After asking them if they wanted a service plan 3 times and having the Tech manager try to convince them of the same thing, most customers would just leave, frustrated and go across to Best Buy. Guess we know why CompUSA went out of business....

At Apple, it is great. They don't pressure you into anything. If you want something, they give it to you. If you don't want something, they don't heckle you 18 times before they get the picture....
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vrDrew Avatar
120 months ago
Apple retails stores have, by a quite comfortable margin, the highest per-square-foot sales of any company in the retail industry.

They must be doing something right, and that includes probably more than just having good products.

For everyone complaining about getting cross-sold AppleCare, there's somebody else raving about how he or she just picked up a second (or third) MacBook "with no questions asked" I'm personally not a big fan of any "extended warranty" program - but they do serve to give people who need it some sort of peace of mind. Apple would be remiss if they didn't have store employees at least mention it. There is a definite line between explaining a products' features, and badgering a customer - and I think in most cases Apple Store employees stay on the right side of it.

I rarely pass an Apple Store without at least ducking inside, even if I've no intention of buying anything. I'm not ashamed to say that I frequently use the in-store wi-fi to send e-mails, or use one of the display units to browse the web. I'm sure *some* people take advantage of Apple's policy - but they are far outweighed by the positive relationship it builds with people.

One thing I've noticed about Apple Stores: There always seems to be a positive energy going on. On a Tuesday morning, in the middle of a recession, the store is filled with people tapping away at iMacs and iPads, grooving to the iPods and snapping pictures with the iPhones.

I can't imagine Microsoft, let alone Google or Samsung, being able to pull off that kind of trick. Even if they hired Jonny Ive to design their products, they'd still find a way to dork up the retail experience.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rdowns Avatar
120 months ago
I recall threads here on the pressure for Apple sales reps to "attach" AppleCare, One-to-One and MobileMe (formerly) so I call Bravo Sierra.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sternfalter Avatar
120 months ago
Love not being hounded
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

magsafecasedangle

Apple Elaborates on Potential for iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories to Interfere With Implantable Medical Devices

Saturday January 23, 2021 2:42 pm PST by
Since the launch of iPhone 12 models in October, Apple has acknowledged that the devices may cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, but the company has now shared additional information. Apple added the following paragraph to a related support document today:Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain...
Top Stories 44 Feature

Top Stories: 'Thinner and Lighter' MacBook Air, Smaller iPhone 13 Notch, iOS 14.4 Incoming

Saturday January 23, 2021 6:00 am PST by
We continued to hear a lot more about Apple's plans for its Mac lineup this week, including word of a high-end redesigned MacBook Air and the return of an SD card slot as part of the upcoming MacBook Pro redesign. It also sounds like Apple has been working on Face ID for Mac, but it won't be appearing in a redesigned iMac this year as originally planned. This week also saw rumors about the...
bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 Rumored to Feature Blood Glucose Monitoring

Monday January 25, 2021 5:05 am PST by
The Apple Watch Series 7 will reportedly feature blood glucose monitoring via an optical sensor, according to ETNews. The report, which mainly focuses on the blood glucose capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, explains that Apple is intending to bring blood glucose monitoring to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels,...
maxresdefault

Microsoft Touts Surface Pro 7 as 'The Better Choice' Over MacBook Pro in New Ad

Saturday January 23, 2021 11:02 am PST by
Microsoft yesterday shared a new ad on YouTube titled "Microsoft Surface Pro 7: The Better Choice," in which the company compares its tablet computer to Apple's 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, as spotted by MSPoweruser. The ad highlights the Surface Pro 7's touchscreen and included stylus as opposed to only a "little bar" (the Touch Bar) on the MacBook Pro. Other advantages of the Surface Pro 7...
airpods galaxy buds comparison

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Apple AirPods Pro

Friday January 22, 2021 2:34 pm PST by
Samsung in January unveiled new flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones and alongside the new phones, introduced the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro, which are priced at $199 and offer Active Noise Cancellation. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. These new Galaxy Buds Pro are clearly designed to compete with Apple's AirPods Pro, so we thought we'd compare the two sets of earbuds in our...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Bloomberg: Next MacBook Pro to Feature SD Card Reader

Friday January 22, 2021 7:50 am PST by
Last week, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined his expectations for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models later this year, including the return of the MagSafe charging connector, the removal of the Touch Bar, a new flat-edged design, and the return of more ports built into the notebooks for expanded connectivity. A concept of a modern MacBook Pro with an SD card reader Kuo did not...
time to walk apple watch

Apple Fitness+ Feature 'Time to Walk' Launching Soon With Audio Stories From Special Guests

Saturday January 23, 2021 7:13 pm PST by
Earlier this week, Apple seeded the watchOS 7.3 Release Candidate, which is typically the final beta version of a software update. The release notes for the update list a new "Time to Walk" feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers, described as "an audio experience in the Workout app where guests share inspiring stories as you walk." Apple Fitness+ subscribers will be able to open the Workout...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
q4 2020 mac growth feature

Mac Sales Skyrocketing After M1 Launch

Tuesday January 19, 2021 3:00 am PST by
Apple's worldwide Mac shipments grew massively in the fourth quarter of 2020 after the launch of three new Macs with the M1 chip, according to new PC shipping estimates shared by Gartner. Apple shipped an estimated 6.9 million Macs, up from the 5.25 million it shipped at the same time in 2019, marking significant growth of 31.3 percent. In spite of the growth of Mac sales, Apple remained...
apple time to walk apple watch airpods 01252021 inline

Apple's New 'Time to Walk' Feature Launches Today for Fitness+ Subscribers

Monday January 25, 2021 6:30 am PST by
Apple today officially introduced Time to Walk, a new feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers with audio stories from influential people that Apple Watch users can listen to with AirPods or other wireless headphones while walking. Time to Walk episodes will be automatically downloaded to the Apple Watch with a Fitness+ subscription, and users can start an episode directly from the Workout...