Apple 'experts' to debut in retail stores within weeks

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple's retail "experts" -- a new position that will serve as a roaming counterpart to existing "geniuses" at brick-and-mortar locations -- are expected to debut in stores in a matter of weeks, people familiar with the matter have told AppleInsider.



Interviewing for the expert position is said to start this week at the company's retail outlets, and Apple plans to debut the new personnel in about two weeks. Originally, the "expert" title was only available to current Apple Store employees who sought a promotion within the company.



Apple has referred to the experts as "Family Room expertise out in the Red Zone." The "Family Room" at an Apple Store is known to customers as the Genius Bar. The "Red Zone" equates to the sales floor.



"You've gotten a taste of the retail life and you're hooked ?- so much so that you want to take your game to the next level," Apple's Web site says of the expert position. "Your friends call you an expert, a savvy confident professional who has turned a passion for sales into a career. You?re a role model. Get ready for a challenge where your results create the next generation of Apple fans."



As noted last month by Gary Allen at ifoAppleStore, Apple has begun advertising for the new expert position at all of its retail locations. The company reportedly plans to have at least three experts at each store, with more staffed at its larger locations.



Experts will serve as a resource that answers questions for customers without an appointment. They will have a general knowledge of the whole product range.







The experts could be one of many changes coming to Apple's retail stores in the future. The company plans to build a "prototype" store in Palo Alto, Calif., just 20 minutes from its campus in Cupertino. The new design will have an entirely transparent building at ground level with trees growing inside. Skylights above would allow for natural lighting.



Last year, the company's senior vice president of Retail, Ron Johnson, said Apple recently realized their stores are too small. All future locations are now planned to be at least three tables wide. The Mac maker also plans to have more "significant stores" that attract attention, like its flagship Fifth Ave. location in New York City.



Apple plans to accelerate and open more stores this year, with 50 new locations set to debut in 2010. Apple stores are estimated to have sold more than $6.6 billion in products during 2009.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple's retail "experts" -- a new position that will serve as a roaming counterpart to existing "geniuses" at brick-and-mortar locations -- are expected to debut in stores in a matter of weeks.



    This just in! A new position: Apple Body Guards to escort shoppers to safety after each purchase in order to avert potential muggings.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    kiweekiwee Posts: 102member
    ooh snap!
  • Reply 3 of 38
    i wonder what the pay is / if this is commission-based.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,570member
    This must be really good news, the stock went up.



    I wonder if this was to counter MS trying to come in an take people away.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    I wonder what the Microsoft store equivalent position will be called.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    Every Genius I've talked to was very knowledgeable, but the same can't be said about EVERY store staff, though many naturally ARE quite savvy about their products.



    This new position will be a good bridge between the two and serve to bridge the gap in availability, as well. Sometime's it's hard to make an appointment, to make it on time, or to wait for an available slot. So this should alleviate much of that kind of problem for most people.



    This is yet one more example of Apple caring about its customers and having the organizational structure and resources in place to make the customer experience efficient, memorable, and pleasurable, thus also generating good word of mouth.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    "Experts will serve as a resource that answers questions for customers without an appointment. They will have a general knowledge of the whole product range."



    Doesn't really sound "expert" to me. Just putting "geniuses" on the floor and using a bit of hyperbole to jazz the loyal. \ Hardly something that would affect stock price, more likely the info re: MacBook sales and projected production increase. (Getting ready to make my fist APPL stock purchase in the next few days.)
  • Reply 8 of 38
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    I wonder what the Microsoft store equivalent position will be called.



    "Damage Control."
  • Reply 9 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,260member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    I wonder what the Microsoft store equivalent position will be called.



    The "Defense against the 'Dark Arts' teacher" of course!
  • Reply 10 of 38
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post


    i wonder what the pay is / if this is commission-based.





    HAHAHAHA!!!



    Apple pays NO commission! And doesn't need too neither in this economic environment and high foot traffic at nearly all their stores.



    So the non-producing flophead next to you makes the same as you if your really working hard to sell.



    Apple has a carefully crafted script they want their salespeople to follow. "Push MobileMe, push Time Capsule" etc. "This is how you answer this or that question" and "If you get a question that isn't on the script, come to the back house"



    If Apple paid commission, the salespeople would all be sharp, well dressed professional looking men and women in their 30's and 40's driving BMW's.







    Quote:

    Experts will serve as a resource that answers questions for customers without an appointment. They will have a general knowledge of the whole product range.



    For the new product range is what they really meant to say.
  • Reply 11 of 38
    Won't the skylights mess with the glossy screens? :smug:
  • Reply 12 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    This must be really good news, the stock went up.



    A pretty normal swing for AAPL. I doubt this has anything to do with it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    HAHAHAHA!!!



    Apple pays NO commission! And doesn't need too neither in this economic environment and high foot traffic at nearly all their stores.



    Commissioned sales people sell based on commission, not what is right for the customer (generally speaking). Customer service oriented retail stores often times don't pay commission, and commission would result in customer interactions which run contrary to Apple's standards. Not a defense for what they pay their retail store staff, however—they don't pay much at all. (But then again, they don't have trouble staffing their stores, either).



    Also, Apple rarely hires floor-level sales staff based on experience. During a normal interview process they might turn down dozens of highly experienced Apple users in favor of someone who knows very little about the products, but has the right personality to mix with the staff and their corporate culture.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    HAHAHAHA!!!



    Apple pays NO commission! And doesn't need too neither in this economic environment and high foot traffic at nearly all their stores.



    So the non-producing flophead next to you makes the same as you if your really working hard to sell.



    Apple has a carefully crafted script they want their salespeople to follow. "Push MobileMe, push Time Capsule" etc. "This is how you answer this or that question" and "If you get a question that isn't on the script, come to the back house"



    If Apple paid commission, the salespeople would all be sharp, well dressed professional looking men and women in their 30's and 40's driving BMW's.



    So you feel it would be better for the customers if Apple paid their employees based on the dollar value of what they managed to talk you into buying? Because then they could drive BMWs?



    My experience with retail purchasing has always been far better with a non-commission sales force, who tend to try and figure out what you need, instead of trying to pressure you into the most expensive stuff on the floor. As far as motivation to do a good job, lots of businesses handle that just fine without linking pay to sales. Bonuses for store wide performance, for instance, or a good management system with clear metrics for advancement.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:

    Last year, the company's senior vice president of Retail, Ron Johnson, said Apple recently realized their stores are too small. All future locations are now planned to be at least three tables wide. The Mac maker also plans to have more "significant stores" that attract attention, like its flagship Fifth Ave. location in New York City.



    This seems like a rare strategic bobble for Apple-- it was just a little while ago that they finished a bunch of store remodels that downsized the existing locations. My local Apple Store, in Emeryville, CA, moved to a smaller space a few properties down the block, and it has never felt as nice as it did. Either they need to keep them a little bigger, or they need to soften the minimalist esthetic, somehow (yes, interior trees would be lovely, if a bit impractical for most locations).



    The combination of "severe" and "small" just makes the store feel a little oppressive, IMO. The same design, bigger, not so much.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post


    A pretty normal swing for AAPL. I doubt this has anything to do with it.





    Commissioned sales people sell based on commission, not what is right for the customer (generally speaking). Customer service oriented retail stores often times don't pay commission, and commission would result in customer interactions which run contrary to Apple's standards. Not a defense for what they pay their retail store staff, however?they don't pay much at all. (But then again, they don't have trouble staffing their stories, either).



    Also, Apple rarely hires floor-level sales staff based on experience. During a normal interview process they might turn down dozens of highly experienced Apple users in favor of someone who knows very little about the products, but has the right personality to mix with the staff and their corporate culture.





    Exactly.



    Apple creates the environment for the impulsive sale and just need robots to take orders.



    After all if the customer would think, they would think about looking for a cheaper computer elsewhere.



    Too much geek talk from a experienced Mac user can kill the sale and make the customer feel like a ignorant.



    Apple doesn't want customers to think, they want people to lust and act emotionally.



    Such is the luxury sale, all nice and shiny.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post


    i wonder what the pay is / if this is commission-based.



    it is pay. no one at Apple Retail gets a commission. Store Managers (the top one) might get a bonus, but that's not certain either.



    I went in and talked to one of the managers cause my cousin is moving to LA and was interested.



    A couple of things I learned.



    First off, the "Family Room" isn't just the Genius Bar. It's basically a term for all things that aren't take your money, give you products. So it includes the training stuff, business sales etc.



    Second, this is a Red Zone position (yeah that really is what they call it). And they are interviewing both internal and external (to Apple folks). The position is sales. Not tech support, not personal training. You want your phone or computer fixed, you still make an appointment etc. that has no changed. What they are looking for is folks with major product knowledge. Someone that is a walking encyclopedia of tech specs and what they really mean and how they fit within different situations.



    for example. Let's say that I"m into music. Writing it, doing remixes etc. I'm pretty good but I wanna step up. but I'm confused about all this stuff. do I want Logic Express, Logic Studio, is my current machine good enough, if I want to get a new machine what do I need, a faster processor, more ram, a big harddrive.



    An expert would have those answers. He or She would be able to quiz me about how far I want to go, related activities I do (like djaying at friends parties) and so on and could decipher the differences in the software and know what is the bare minimum of hardware, what is the recommend, what tweaks (say adding more ram) would be most useful, perhaps even related software and hardware and so on.



    the manager I talked to say it was an offshoot of when they had dedicated personal shopping specialists, only know folks really really have to know their stuff.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    Apple has a carefully crafted script they want their salespeople to follow. "Push MobileMe, push Time Capsule" etc. "This is how you answer this or that question" and "If you get a question that isn't on the script, come to the back house"



    how much shopping do you do at Apple Stores. cause I do a lot. both for work and play. at several stores. and not once has anyone followed a script. yes they will mention things like mobileme, yes they will ask about whether you back up your stuff and mention the time capsule (as well as the tons of 3rd party drives they carry). but they don't push. they don't pressure, they don't "you really ought to get this" nag (I won't buy anything at Best Buy anymore, guess why) and not once has anyone gone running to the back when they didn't know the answer. they might ask on their radio or they might suggest we get online and try to figure it out but there's no 'oh heck what do I do now' running for help. in fact, they don't even go back to the back to get our products anymore. they use this online system and a few minutes later, out everything comes from the back via some kid in a black t-shirt. And when it is something for work the sales person can even put in a note that I am post production and one of the business sales folks comes out to help with the tax paperwork.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    So you feel it would be better for the customers if Apple paid their employees based on the dollar value of what they managed to talk you into buying? Because then they could drive BMWs?





    Apple cons people into buying their expensive computers, so what's the difference?



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnEbPm8mATQ







    It's just the marketing has shifted from the salespeople to the marketing department that just needs bodies to follow the script.



    If Apple relied up salespeople that got commission, they would be a different breed, a older set with higher fashion tastes, cars and paychecks to match.





    Quote:

    My experience with retail purchasing has always been far better with a non-commission sales force, who tend to try and figure out what you need, instead of trying to pressure you into the most expensive stuff on the floor. As far as motivation to do a good job, lots of businesses handle that just fine without linking pay to sales. Bonuses for store wide performance, for instance, or a good management system with clear metrics for advancement.



    I don't think it's as good as that, it's more like you got to know what you want and then find a Apple salesperson to get it for you if you found it's just a empty box sitting on a shelf.



    I only found a few motivated Apple store employees that actually could close a sale, but with the high volume of foot traffic it has little effect.





    Apple should experiment with a low percentage commission, with no hit on the base, just as a motivation factor. See how the sales do and weed out the lackeys.



    No shirt and tie, but a little better dress too. Be surprised what happens.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    I wonder what the Microsoft store equivalent position will be called.



    morons?

    i'd love to see some more pictures of their arizona shop...
  • Reply 19 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    Apple creates the environment for the impulsive sale and just need robots to take orders.



    After all if the customer would think, they would think about looking for a cheaper computer elsewhere.



    Too much geek talk from a experienced Mac user can kill the sale and make the customer feel like a ignorant.



    Apple doesn't want customers to think, they want people to lust and act emotionally.



    Such is the luxury sale, all nice and shiny.



    Huh? The *only* thing here that is true is what Apple would think of someone overloading a customer with geek speak. They pick people based on personality and character because the customer interaction is what matters most to them. And as for the rest, it is pretty clear that you haven't worked for an Apple store.



    If the customers would think, they would think about going for a cheaper computer elsewhere? This is the golden egg of your response (or perhaps we should call it the steaming turd). I could point out the obvious response that you're calling the majority of membership here people who don't think for themselves. If you actually believe that, you're just a troll who doesn't deserve a response. If you're trying to make a generalization about their userbase, I'd suggest that you're dead wrong. People buy Apple computers for various reasons, some great (quality product, no malware worries), some poor (aesthetics, status), but I think most of them know why they're buying an Apple. It is no secret how cheap a trash slim-margin bargain-basement PC can be. Many people are willing to pay extra for a product which will last longer and offer less headaches. You could make an argument that someone who can afford a Lexus should buy a Kia instead, because it would be moronic to buy a Lexus, but the problems with your argument would be pretty similar...
  • Reply 20 of 38
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post


    morons?

    i'd love to see some more pictures of their arizona shop...





    Google Images is your friend.



    "microsoft store arizona"





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