• Apple Incorporate, is an American multinational company that manufactures, designs, markets and retails consumer electronics, appliances and personal computers.• Entered the retail industry in 2001• First retail outlets set in Virginia and California.• To date, Apple retail industry has more than 300 outlets worldwide.
• Summary of Issues-Poor customer services practiced in electronic consumers retail outlets-Customer’s perceptions of the brand are formed through services.-Apple as the prime example of retail customer service.-Apple’s physical environment, operations and supporting services.• Service Marketing theories:- Service Marketing Mix & Servicescape
The Service Marketing Mix is an expansion of the 4Ps in the marketing mix which includesPeople, Physical evidence and Processes. (Kotler,2000)-In order to succeed in retail, Apple cannot rely on the 4Ps of alone. Top quality servicesrequires consideration and research on the additional Ps of the service marketing mix .-Apple has effectively executed strategies based on the Service Marketing Mix.
All human actors that play a part in the service delivery including customers and employees. (Boom and Bitner,1981) Apple trains its retail staff to be customer oriented and are passionate fans of its products. The physical surroundings where the service is delivered and customers and employees interact. (Boom and Bitner,1981) Apple stores interior incorporate an open, clean and spacious concept.The operations, procedures, mechanisms and flow of activitieswhere the service is delivered. It is also known as service deliveryand operating systems. (Boom and Bitner,1981)Apple incorporates a standardise training operation for all retail staffand paid close attention to the flow of experience while designingits stores.
pproch customers with a personalised warm welcomerobe politely to understand all the customer’s needsresent a solution for the customer to take home todayisten for and resolve any issues or concerns.end with a fond farewell and invitation to return
•Out of all the service marketing mixes, Apple ‘s strength lies in thePeople element.•Retailers regardless of industry will eventually evolve theirrecruitment methods and instil the values of good customer serviceto its retail staff as Apple has done.•Retail industries will now have to rethink of ways to improve on theflow of customer experiences which would mean a paradigm shift inprocesses and standard operating features and inclusion of newtechnology.
• The complete physicalServicescape Framework surroundings where the service is delivered and customer and service provider interacts. Booms and Bitner (1981) • Influences the perception of the company before the purchase and the customer’s response while experiencing the service.
• The 4 Generic Strategic Roles of Servicescape
• Servicecape can influence the approach and avoidance behaviourof customers (Boom and Bitner,1981)• The 3 important aspects of servicescape includes, includeambient conditions, layout and functionality; signs, symbols andartifacts. (Bitner, 1982)
•Apple’s approach to its retail servicescape has redefine new standardsfor the electronic retail industry.•In order to compete, other competitors will need to emulate Apple’sservicescape model.• In the long-run, Apple’s model may become a standard feature for allelectronic retailers meaning competitors will undergo a paradigm shiftin service strategy planning with customers as the priority• Industries will change is perception and strategy to include thegeneral consumers including children and families.
• Customers derive more lasting value frompositive experiences than products alone.•Passionate fans as retail assistants may not beas effective.• Apple’s retail service strategy be as effectiveonce competitors catches up.• The success of Apple retail stores is not solelyattributed to its services alone.•Apple’s type of retail model may not appeal toall market segments.
• Apple is willing to invest and innovate in services todifferentiate itself from competitors•The 2 service theories explored is the services marketing mixand servicescape. Apple has executed both successfully.•Apple has set a new retail model and standard for others toemulate.•It is an unusual company and unlike other retailers, henceother retailers should not imitate it blindly.•The author disagrees with training operations and hiring ofApple fans.
Booms, B.H, and Bitner, M.J (1981), Marketing strategies and organization structures for service firms, in Donnelly, Jand Goerge, W.R (eds), Marketing of Services, Chicago : American Marketing Association, pp. 36Bitner, Gremler and Zeithaml. (2009) Services Marketing: Integrating Customer Focus Across the Firm. InternationalEdition. Singapore. McGraw-Hills Company Inc.Dennings, Steve. Apple’s Retail Success is More than Magic. Retrieved on the 17th of December 2011 from url:http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/06/17/apples-retail-stores-more-than-magic/Fortt, Jon. 6th of December 2011. Positive Signs for Apple Retail. Retrieved on the 17th of December 2011 fromhttp://www.cnbc.com/id/45569241Gross, Doug. 18th March 2011. 10 years later, Apples crazy retail gamble is a hit. Retrieved on 17th of Dcember 2011fromhttp://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-18/tech/apple.store.anniversary_1_apple-stores-ipad-iphone?_s=PM:TECHHodgkins, Kelly. 15th of June 2011. The secrets of Apples retail success. Retrieved on the 17th of November 2011 fromhttp://www.tuaw.com/2011/06/15/the-secrets-of-apples-retail-success/Kotler, P, (2000), Marketing Management Millennium, Edition 10th, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, IncLee, Jennifer (2011) “Apple’s Retail Secrets” SME (November), pp 44 - 46Martin Scott. 19th of Mary 2011. How Apple Stores Rewrote the Rules of Retailing. Retrieved on the 17th of December2011 from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-05-18-apple-retail-stores_n.htmMorse, Gardiner. December 2011. Retail Isn’t Broken. Stores Are. An Interview With Ron Johnson. Retrieved on 17th ofDecember 2011 from http://hbr.org/2011/12/retail-isnt-broken-stores-are/Useem, Jerry. 8th of March 2007. Apple: America’s Best Retailer. Retrieved on the 17th of December 2011 fromhttp://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/03/19/8402321/Weintraub, Arlene. 26th August 2002. High Tech’s Future is in the Toy Chest. Retrieved on 28th of May 2010 fromhttp://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_34/b3796632.htm