Mixed (personal) reaction to Apple Stores

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I have only visited 2 Apple Stores, Valley Fair and Emeryville, both in the San Francisco Bay Area, so this may be a skewed view. Real estate is ultra expensive here, and the stores are small. I saw in the web that the software section in Chicago is bigger than some entire Apple Stores. So my comments apply to the small stores.



IMHO, the simplicity/minimalist Apple aesthetic, although I love it in their machines and softwate, isn't working in the stores I've seen. When I visit a store, I like to get lost and explore. No chance in an Apple store. You've seen the whole thing in one glance. Very small selection of software, ditto for peripherals, books and accessories. Nothing to do but buy or leave. It is just too stark, and mercilessly well lit. If I had more stuff to check out, and more corners to get lost in, I would probably buy at least something. As it is, my feeling is I am going to get railroaded into paying top dollar, and don't have a lot of choices. When I enter an Apple Store, I want to feel I am in touch with everything Apple-related.



I am posting this because I want to see Apple succeed big time, and rule the computing universe, and these stores are too intimidating. I am just suggesting how Apple can get my money more easily.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,215member
  • Reply 2 of 44
    macusersmacusers Posts: 840member




    I have no clue what you are talking about, ya, maybe you should visit a bigger one
  • Reply 3 of 44
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    I don't think it has anything to do with store size. Have you been to the store in Palo Alto?
  • Reply 4 of 44
    macusersmacusers Posts: 840member
    I love the Apple Stores, they are awesome, i can never leave! It is an addicting store
  • Reply 5 of 44
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    I had that feeling in the SoHo store, actually. It's pretty big, and yet, you've seen everything in too little time. It's more like I'd like to get lost, but there's just not enough space to do that.
  • Reply 6 of 44
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    You know what, they ARE indeed quite boring. I've been to about 6 or so (most of the SoCal ones and the Atlanta one) and, honestly, after about 10-15 minutes of taking a lap or two around the joint, I'm ready.



    No reflection on Apple or doesn't mean I don't love the Mac any less. Just means that I find the stores a bit sterile, clean and not cozy or inviting. Stuff is laid out nicely, well lit (BRIGHT), connected to the Internet, actual real-world software is installed so you can get an accurate guage of how the apps you use perform on a particular Mac, etc.



    But yes: it IS skimpy in the peripheral/gizmo department. I can spend a good 20-30 minutes in a Best Buy or CompUSA just looking at all the various USB hubs and stuff! Here, it's one little section in the very back, about 12 feet wide with some LaCie drives and a few inkjets and some cables hanging for sale.



    Yes, there's a shelf with some of Apple's stuff (mouse, keyboard, iPod and accessories, etc), but unless you just feel the need to stop at every machine and spend 5-15 minutes performing the same little suite of casual tests or surfing your favorite sites, I don't see how anyone could stay in there much longer than 30 minutes. And that's pushing it!



    I usually go in, head to the right (iMacs and iBooks), make a swoop through there, marvel at the 17" iMac display for a few seconds (do the obligatory "push/pull/swing" routine, just out of habit). Then check out the iPods and other mp3 players. A GLANCE, however. It's not like I'm interested, really. I've played with the iPod 20-30 times over the past two years...if I wanted one, I'd own one. Definitely cool and would be nice to have at times. But not a priority, really.



    Then I'll quickly check the magazine/book section. Not nearly the selection you'll find at Barnes & Noble, so I don't really bother. Being that I'm 34, I generally skip the kiddie area. By now I'm in the back. I have no complaints or issues, so no reason to hang out at the Genius Bar. Besides, I get no particular pleasure hearing some yuppie whine about her "iBook making a, like, 'grrrrwwaawaaw' sound...". That's between her and the on-duty Genius.







    Any video being played on the screen, I've already seen at least 5 times (keynote, keynote replays or on Apple's site).



    Then there's the aforementioned peripherals section with a couple of scanners, inkjets, some cables and drives. Not much else. Again, seen it all before (and in greater numbers) at CompUSA, BestBuy, Circuit City, etc.



    Now I'm winding my way back toward the front, heading to the "Power" section. Yep, the 23" display is still big. The towers are still silver. And the Titanium PowerBook still has a thin screen. Nothing new to report here.







    Don't get me wrong...they're better than any set-up at CompUSA or MicroCenter or whatever. But unless I'm there buying something, I can see everything I want - and again, if necessary - in about 15 or so minutes.



    It's not the kind of place that I find myself wanting to just linger, like I do at a Barnes & Noble or even some electronics stores, where there is lots of stuff to look at.



    I wish it was a bit darker and had some "atmosphere". Wish it had some chairs or sofas and perhaps a small coffee/juice bar, where like-minded folks could informally congregate and "talk Mac". Wish it had little screens placed throughout with the OS and various iApps being demoed (do you think someone can just come in off the streets and immediately know what iPhoto is or what it does or how it works? Same for iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, etc.).



    They're nice, but don't ding the guy above too much. He's not that far off and it certainly isn't blasphemy to suggest that the stores COULD use a little more "zing" or reason to stick around.
  • Reply 7 of 44
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by pscates



    I wish it was a bit darker and had some "atmosphere". Wish it had some chairs or sofas.




    This is my one real gripe with Steve's aesthetic: It's cold and unforgiving. (That New York penthouse he sold with the interior walls done in stone slabs?!) I haven't seen the store in Chicago in person, but the pictures show the sort of stark monolith that should have died with the last of the Moderns. Sure, it's pretty in a sort of formal way, but yeesh. I wouldn't be too surprised to see someone performing open heart surgery on the Genius Bar, if you know what I mean.



    The Apple Stores I have been in (in Woodfield and San Diego) seem to be geared much more toward directing people toward what they know they're interested in, which is fine as far as it goes. It's probably better for curious potential switchers than it is for browsing Mac users, but I can't trust myself to know that. It's definitely not the sort of delightful labyrinth that Powell's Books is, but then books are a different sort of pleasure. Even so, I really wouldn't mind something a bit... warmer.
  • Reply 8 of 44
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Well, it definitely my kind of aesthetic, especially the big stores, at least if SoHo is any indication.



    The whole point of the store layout is to make sure that passers-by see everything at a glance, that nothing is hidden from them. The assumption is that out of sight is out of mind, to use the cliché. What the window shopper misses at the door, in most cases they won't go looking for inside.



    I hate clutter. Nothing stands out when you stuff the place with things, and how often do people really "peruse" computer stores? If it were clothing, maybe, and even then it's not for everyone.
  • Reply 9 of 44
    foadfoad Posts: 697member
    I love going to the Apple stores. I can understand some people saying that they have seen something 20-30, played with screens and whatnot (please take no offense) and that it can get a bit repeatative, but I think the real point of the stores is to attract new users and give us current users a convinient place to get stuff and get on the fly tech support.



    I know a few people that were just drawn to the Apple Store at the Grove in LA. These are PC users. Once they got in, they started hovering around and a couple of them have switched. They got little demos from the nice little Apple associates and were totally digging it.



    I think that is the HUGE deal with the Apple stores. It gets the name out there and gives people a reason to walk in and find out about the platform. At least that is what I think.
  • Reply 10 of 44
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    Sure, it's pretty in a sort of formal way, but yeesh. I wouldn't be too surprised to see someone performing open heart surgery on the Genius Bar, if you know what I mean.



    exactly
  • Reply 11 of 44
    pesipesi Posts: 424member
    well, there's another reason why you can see everything all at once... so the EMPLOYEES can see everything and everyone at once as well. that's just damn smart retail.
  • Reply 12 of 44
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    I live in Buffalo NY and just love the Apple store near my house. I am lucky the Buffalo store was one of the early Apple stores and that it quite large to show off Apple software, hardware, and third-party products.



    I think some of your critique of your Apple store experience is valid and is Apple's fault. My store is layout so well that you just can't wander around. Everything is organized too good. Most times, I can go in find what I want very quickly. From what I can tell, so can many other customers.



    Some of the critisms of Buffalo Apple store are as follows:



    1. The presentation theater is useless. Weekly iLife/Basic Mac OS X training is a waste for the masses. This area is so under-utilitized.



    2. Same software title are spread out over the entire store. This gives me the impression that there isn't a whole lot of software available for the Mac.



    3. Not enough peripherals. I would like to see Maxtor/WD harddrive kits, more USB mice, keyboards, etc.



    4. Not enough Mac computer books.



    5. No dedicated gaming area. There should be a set of 5-10 Macs that have the latest and greatest games on them. Maybe even a small gaming LAN for customers.



    Just my two cents.
  • Reply 13 of 44
    majormattmajormatt Posts: 1,077member
    Yeah, I concur that the atmosphere isnt too inviting. Words that come to mind are: sharp, rigid, inpersonal.



    There's a guy at my local Applestore who always gives me (and everyone else) an evil guy. If I see him, I dont really go in. When he's there I feel that I'm wasting their time that I'm not buying something.



    Do you know what would be nice? If some of the computers had chairs (not stools, I absolutely hate stools) so people can try out computers beyond opening programs and making a few clicks. Especially for tall people like me, I hate looking down and typing while standing up. This is especially true at UPS, they make you stand up while using the computers, I hate that! Sorry, had to get that off my chest



    Dim the lights! I could get a tan in there if I stayed long enough!



    How about a game station so teens could try out games before they buy?
  • Reply 14 of 44
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BuonRotto



    The whole point of the store layout is to make sure that passers-by see everything at a glance, that nothing is hidden from them. The assumption is that out of sight is out of mind, to use the clich. What the window shopper misses at the door, in most cases they won't go looking for inside.




    This is all fine and dandy, and the other point about letting the staff see everyone and everything at a glance is well taken.



    But really, couldn't they go from 200W bulbs to, say, 75W without losing that? Or throw in something that has a little character? The Getty in LA can pull off huge sheer stone walls because the stone they use is cut in a way that produces a rich texture, and there's all kinds of play with angles and light against that texture. White, on the other hand, is white.



    Quote:

    I hate clutter. Nothing stands out when you stuff the place with things, and how often do people really "peruse" computer stores? If it were clothing, maybe, and even then it's not for everyone.



    Well, I'd love it if software were like books or vinyl - a cozy medium that works best when there are whole huge shelves full and you have hours to look through them. Since it isn't, Apple's basic layout makes sense. I just wish it was a little homier, that's all.
  • Reply 15 of 44
    ibrowseibrowse Posts: 1,749member
    Every time I end up making the hour drive out to Buffalo I get all excited that I get to stop by the Apple store. Then I get there and always end up walking around looking for a reason to stay, I don't want to leave but I made my rounds and saw it all in under 15 minutes. I have seen all the hardware before, so I can't spend too long at that, when I need software I go out and get it, I don't just go browsing through and on a whim pick up some $300 software... and other than that, I just enter the store and the next thing I know I'm back at the entrance. I love Apple's stores, I just get let down every time I go to one. I know there shouldn't be any real reason to go there and have a great time or anything, and it isn't their job to entertain me, but when I go into Target for windshield washer fluid I end up being in there for 2 hours looking at stuff I don't care about. I wish when I went somewhere that specialized in something I did care about it took me more than 10 minutes to get bored there.
  • Reply 16 of 44
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    You know what'ts cool though...they added large embedded LCDs to the Mac Genius wall that'll be able to mirror the Macs at the counter.
  • Reply 17 of 44
    paulpaul Posts: 5,278member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Eugene

    You know what'ts cool though...they added large embedded LCDs to the Mac Genius wall that'll be able to mirror the Macs at the counter.







    huh?



    [homer]please explain[/homer]

    [homer's brain]money can be exchanged for goods and services.../



    no seriously... what do you mean? do they mirror the GB TiBooks so we get to see them searching the TIL?
  • Reply 18 of 44
    I like the idea of having Apple Stores but the aesthetics make me uncomfortable. .::shivers::. A visit to the Apple Store is like a visit to the doctor's office. It's bright, white and sterile.
  • Reply 19 of 44
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Yeah, I wouldn't mind if they took on a bit more of a "coffee house" look (not that I drink the disgusting crap or hang out in them...), but they all usually look nice, cozy and inviting.







    Warm it up, have strategically placed LCDs looping demo footage and OS X "cheerleader" clips and hardware beauty shots, take half of the genius bar and make it a coffee/juice station (people are hanging out there anyway, right? Give 'em - and anyone else wandering by - something to sip on.



    Somehow, somewhere, have a couple of areas for adults to gather (as they kids have): couple of overstuffed couches or chairs (a la Barnes & Noble or Borders) where people can connect a bit and talk themselves into (or out of) that $2200 purchase.







    Yes, it's TOO white, sterile, clean, uninviting, bright, cold, sharp and harsh.



    Be curious to see them do a "phase 2" opening of some stores with a different look and see if - in any way - traffic flow and visitor count goes up. Or down. I bet it would go up.



    Even though I'm not a coffee drinker, every time I walk by a Starbucks or a small, independently-owned coffee place, I ALWAYS glance over or look in because they always look so nice and cozy and I always find myself bummed that I can't go in because there's nothing for me there to drink.







    I've considered forcing myself to somehow liking the vile liquid just so I can go sit in these places and dig the atmosphere (and the inordinate amount of slinky vixens that always seem to congregate in them).



    I've never seen a coffee place that wasn't a cutie-pie magnet.







    When I get my laptop, I'll learn to like coffee...how's that?
  • Reply 20 of 44
    mrmistermrmister Posts: 1,095member
    Some of these posts are crazy.



    I do agree with those who are argueing that the retail design may be cold or impersonal--I can totally dig that.



    BUT, the folks who want dimmer lighting...SEATS...COFFEE?



    It's a retail space--not Club Mac. It should make people feel like they have access to the machines, can check them out and see what's there.



    It is NOT a gaming center, hang-out spot, clubhouse or 3rd party Mac vendor spot. It's a very specifically designed place for retail sales, aimed at people who obsess over Macs A LOT LESS THAN WE DO.
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