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12. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 19, 2012, 00:40 Beamer
 
I always mock the Apple Store staffing model. There's usually 60-65% blue shirts. My comment is that it's overhired so that it seems full so people feel they should go in there. If it's popular it must be for a reason, let's check it out!

But it seems to work - even if you don't count blue shirts it's still the busiest store in most malls.
 
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11. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 23:51 Kitkoan
 
wtf_man wrote on Aug 18, 2012, 12:16:
Ignoring the typical Apple hatred...

As one said... the price of Apple products are pretty much the same online vs. the store.

What also makes the stores successful is that they hold classes for the computer illiterate that just bought their new mac (or other apple product), and these people can go in and get pointers at any time from that staff. Unlike other electronic outlets, Apple employees have to know their product. While some of them still can't answer more advanced questions of a visiting IT person... they have more than enough knowledge for the average consumer. This is a level of service that no other electronics retail outlet has.

Another thing that makes the stores successful... they are set up to let you play with all of their products. The products pretty much sell themselves without any employee pressure. They are trained to ask you once, if you need any help or have any questions... and if you say no... they leave you alone, and let you fiddle with the product. You might get more than one asking you because they didn't see the other employee ask you... but once they ask you, they don't bug you.

That said... Yes, they are overstaffed, IMO. They could maintain the same level of service, easily, with a 20% reduction. I mean... it's like watching road workers... one with a jackhammer and 3 others standing around and watching him work. I'm not saying that it is like that all day long in an Apple store... I'm sure they have their "rush hours" where all of their employees are fairly busy... but for the majority of the day, they probably are overstaffed, in most of the stores.

Some of their success might also be that their employees out right lie about the products at times. I still hear that Macs can't get viruses because of how they are made and other BS.

I went into a Best Buy the other day and the guy at the Apple section swore he's an employee of Apple (not Best Buy, so I'm going to call him the Apple guy. Not sure how those work). But while my friend was talking to him, still wanting to see a rMBP, I started to try to look up a tablet online and found a page on it on the one Mac. Problem was, scrolling thru the page was causing it to stutter and lose frame rates. When he saw I was getting annoyed/angry (I hate frame drops for basic things) he said it had nothing to do with the Mac, it was all because of the web connection on it, and he pointed that I should use the other one since its connection was better (it was also a lot more powerful, at a smaller resolution too). I pointed out that the webpage was loaded already and it wasn't download but he ignored that and just keep telling me that it was the connection only. If I was a basic user, I would have accepted that but once it's downloaded, the connection isn't the issue and this doesn't help one bit in my trust in Apple employees
 
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*automatically refuses to place horse heads in anyone's bed*
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10. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 19:38 Dev
 
wtf_man wrote on Aug 18, 2012, 12:16:
As one said... the price of Apple products are pretty much the same online vs. the store.
That would be because of the crazy tight price control that Apple keeps on its products. Ever notice how its very very rare to see any stores (online or B&M) offer much of a discount? They may offer extras on top of the apple product (like buy ipod and get free dock), but most of the time its basically MSRP for apple stuff.
 
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9. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 15:16 Jivaro
 
Mordecai Walfish wrote on Aug 18, 2012, 11:04:
Jivaro wrote on Aug 17, 2012, 20:57:
Gateway retail stores made similar cuts around the 7th (?) year they were in existence.

A year or two later they were closing various stores that were under-performing.

A year after that they started closing all of them.

Before that year was over they sold the company to E-Machines and closed the last of the stores.

Now, I know Gateway was never as relevant to the industry as Apple is now. I also know that at no point were the Gateway stores as successful financially as the Apple stores.

That said, all of us pretty much agree that retail outlets are a dieing breed for a great many types of products. If I were Apple, and maybe I was starting to feel like maybe we had reached the limit of our growth...or that it was going to slow down significantly at least...the first place I might start looking to cut back is the retail stores. A lot of costly overhead in retail that could probably be slowly cut away without affecting the actual sales numbers in any dramatic fashion.

But then where will all of the up-and-coming hipsters go to be "immersed" in the apple retail experience!? Starbucks?

lol..yep. Watch the Apple stores put in a Espresso Bar and make the Apple "Genius" folks offer lattes. Or maybe they will jsut skip that and be like grocery stores...and put the Starbucks in the Apple store.
 
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8. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 12:16 wtf_man
 
Ignoring the typical Apple hatred...

As one said... the price of Apple products are pretty much the same online vs. the store.

What also makes the stores successful is that they hold classes for the computer illiterate that just bought their new mac (or other apple product), and these people can go in and get pointers at any time from that staff. Unlike other electronic outlets, Apple employees have to know their product. While some of them still can't answer more advanced questions of a visiting IT person... they have more than enough knowledge for the average consumer. This is a level of service that no other electronics retail outlet has.

Another thing that makes the stores successful... they are set up to let you play with all of their products. The products pretty much sell themselves without any employee pressure. They are trained to ask you once, if you need any help or have any questions... and if you say no... they leave you alone, and let you fiddle with the product. You might get more than one asking you because they didn't see the other employee ask you... but once they ask you, they don't bug you.

That said... Yes, they are overstaffed, IMO. They could maintain the same level of service, easily, with a 20% reduction. I mean... it's like watching road workers... one with a jackhammer and 3 others standing around and watching him work. I'm not saying that it is like that all day long in an Apple store... I'm sure they have their "rush hours" where all of their employees are fairly busy... but for the majority of the day, they probably are overstaffed, in most of the stores.

This comment was edited on Aug 18, 2012, 13:03.
 
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7. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 12:14 nin
 
It's killing Best Buy.

They're doing their best to kill themselves.

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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6. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 11:16 Silicon Avatar
 
Retail sales for electronics are probably contracting across the board as people go online for cheaper goods. It's killing Best Buy.

Apple products are probably about the same price no matter where you get them, but there are plenty of cheaper substitutes and I doubt most (regular) people care that much about the Apple brand anymore since it is ubiquitous now anyway. Beyond that, other manufacturers have caught up to what Apple did and a few of them are doing it (arguably) better.

Iwhatever went from something new and cutting edge to being just another slab of glass with a touchscreen. Everybody has that. The other features and variations are all minor. It's not that different anymore.

 
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5. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 11:04 Mordecai Walfish
 
Jivaro wrote on Aug 17, 2012, 20:57:
Gateway retail stores made similar cuts around the 7th (?) year they were in existence.

A year or two later they were closing various stores that were under-performing.

A year after that they started closing all of them.

Before that year was over they sold the company to E-Machines and closed the last of the stores.

Now, I know Gateway was never as relevant to the industry as Apple is now. I also know that at no point were the Gateway stores as successful financially as the Apple stores.

That said, all of us pretty much agree that retail outlets are a dieing breed for a great many types of products. If I were Apple, and maybe I was starting to feel like maybe we had reached the limit of our growth...or that it was going to slow down significantly at least...the first place I might start looking to cut back is the retail stores. A lot of costly overhead in retail that could probably be slowly cut away without affecting the actual sales numbers in any dramatic fashion.

But then where will all of the up-and-coming hipsters go to be "immersed" in the apple retail experience!? Starbucks?
 
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4. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 09:43 Julio
 
Apple's got a lot of work to do in their stores to lower the standards to those in their factories. I have no sympathy for Apple employees, you work for the devil you pay the price.  
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3. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 18, 2012, 01:05 Jivaro
 
Dev wrote on Aug 17, 2012, 21:12:
Apple has tons of money and makes tons of money, since their stuff is overpriced and very popular. They are nowhere near needing to cut stores. I bet even being overstaffed their stores are profitable.

If they do end up cutting back on that, it would be because of a change in leadership direction.

The leadership would not make such a change simply because they are the new guy. There is a reason for it. "a new leadership direction" is a catchy cliche, but what does it really mean? Like, specifically? Why would you need to take those steps or go in that direction?

I am not saying Apple is going to start losing money, or that the stores are even hurting. They are obviously not. I am saying that if your your growth is slowing, which market saturation and an increase in competition will inevitably do to a company, this is as good a first step as any in terms of cost cutting, particularly if the slowdown could be attributed to stores being used less and less often. My guess is that this is exactly the situation. I think the stores need techs and not sales people. The devices sell themselves at this point, and they sell through multiple other physical retailers as well.

If I were @Apple, and I saw a possible slowdown of growth, preparing the retail branch to be the first thing to go...long term, like over the 5-8 years...would seem to be logical given those ideas.
 
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2. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 17, 2012, 21:12 Dev
 
Apple has tons of money and makes tons of money, since their stuff is overpriced and very popular. They are nowhere near needing to cut stores. I bet even being overstaffed their stores are profitable.

If they do end up cutting back on that, it would be because of a change in leadership direction.
 
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1. Re: Evening Tech Bits Aug 17, 2012, 20:57 Jivaro
 
Gateway retail stores made similar cuts around the 7th (?) year they were in existence.

A year or two later they were closing various stores that were under-performing.

A year after that they started closing all of them.

Before that year was over they sold the company to E-Machines and closed the last of the stores.

Now, I know Gateway was never as relevant to the industry as Apple is now. I also know that at no point were the Gateway stores as successful financially as the Apple stores.

That said, all of us pretty much agree that retail outlets are a dieing breed for a great many types of products. If I were Apple, and maybe I was starting to feel like maybe we had reached the limit of our growth...or that it was going to slow down significantly at least...the first place I might start looking to cut back is the retail stores. A lot of costly overhead in retail that could probably be slowly cut away without affecting the actual sales numbers in any dramatic fashion.
 
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