Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you are aware that Apple has flooded the market with impressive state-of-the-art and stylish consumer electronics: iPhone cell phones, iPod MP3 players, iPod Touch hand-held computers, and now the iPad tablet computer. Apple sold 3 million iPads in the first 80 days after launch. On the front-end of the product cycle (from a marketing point-of-view) Apple is stellar at driving demand. At the end of the product cycle, Apple produces products that customers love. But how does Apple do in the middle of the product cycle – the acquisition process?
I recently decided to go old school and took a drive to a brick-and-mortar Apple Retail Store to purchase an iPad. It seems like an oxymoron to purchase the latest high-tech gadget in the oldest consumer way, but I’ve already experienced the pleasant purchase of an iPad online. Purchasing an iPad online had been a breeze thanks, in part, to an online customer service chat I had established. The representative on the other side of the chat stepped me through the entire online purchasing process. With a successful online purchase under my belt, I climbed into my car and headed to the Apple Store at a local mall for a new experience.
I entered the Apple Store on an average evening and was surprised how many customers were old-schooling it with me – the place reminded me of a coffee shop and was packed with people. Some were sitting around tables learning about Apple products, while others were admiring products that had been displayed around the store like museum pieces. I made my way to a salesman who stood ready with an iPod Touch in his hand. There were no cash registers or check-out aisles because the entire exchange was done with the Touch. The salesman entered my order, connected it to my iTunes Apple Store account, and said, “would you like the receipt emailed, printed, or both?” Having the receipt emailed in today’s digital age was certainly the way to go, but I was old-schooling it – I asked for a receipt. He approached a table, reached underneath, and magically produced a piece of paper that had my purchase information on it.
I left the Apple Store with my iPad and was as impressed with the brick-and-mortar experience as I had been with online store. I was excited to setup my new iPad. Surprisingly, the box only contained the iPad, a cord, and a power adapter – no multilingual manual or other useless material. Shortly after connecting the iPad to my iTunes Apple Store account, I received an email from Apple congratulating me on the purchase. This welcome package became an electronic user manual that explained every aspect of my device. I was given opportunities to purchase accessories and use additional features such as ebooks and music.
Apple has done an outstanding job on multiple fronts. They have marketed their products as attractive, stylish, and state-of-the-art. The products live up to the hype and are a pleasure to work with. Even as impressive as the marketing and the products is the acquisition process. Apple is doing an outstanding job on all fronts.
About the Author:
Kevin Gilbert is the Technology Manager at SIGMA Marketing Group. Kevin headed the data center virtualization project for four years and is a VMWare Certified Professional (VCP). Connect with Kevin on .