Paris is due to become home to a brand new flagship Apple store, according to a new deal confirmed in late January. Although the store won’t be completed for years, it will occupy the famous 114 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, alongside a huge number of international brands that already have stores along the historic route. The estimated rent on the building is around €12 million per year.
This new store will be just one of nearly 500 iconic Apple stores situated around the globe, although around half of these are in the USA. They all feature unique designs, but most follow an established pattern which was remained largely unchanged for some time. Every detail is composed in order to extract the maximum value from potential customers, and we can learn a lot from Apple’s huge investment in visual merchandising and smart retail displays.
For example, a typical store is set out in three key sections:
• The “Red Zone” featuring key product displays and sale items (although these are rare)
• The “Family Zone” where staff are able to help people set up their devices and customers can train themselves up
• The “Genius Bar” where technical support and repairs are available
The layout of each shop is almost always based on these sections, with customers flowing into the Red Zone from the door and being drawn in a journey round the entire store. All devices are connected to the Internet and pre-installed with all the important software so people are able to interact with the products just like if they were their own. Apple stores are also known for employing a large number of staff that actively encourage visitors to try products out, offering advice and training (especially for those who make big purchases).
This approach can be overwhelming for some people, and for many businesses it’s unrealistically costly, but there are also many less obvious tactics being employed in an Apple store. Bright lighting is a key feature, making sure the products look their best and nothing looks like it’s been pushed out of the spotlight. Even the 70 degree angle that laptop screens are set to is specifically designed to look more inviting to wandering customers.
Of course it’s vital for Apple’s image that they keep up with the latest in-store technology, so they also make it easy to buy products using your smartphone from within the physical shop, plus a host of other services making it quick and simple to get information, make payments and so on. Your shop might not have as much investment going into its own apps and high tech shop fittings, but a little can go a long way when you’re focusing on making your customer experience better and simpler with technology that’s already freely available.
Even if you don’t have quite as much to spend on your store aesthetics and branding as Apple, the case study reveals a lot of their success in physical retail outlets can be put down to simple strategy and a bit of investment in the right areas. This is something we totally agree with at Valentino’s Displays, which is why we offer a wide range of retail display products for you to find exactly what you need to complete your professional retail setup.