Seth Godin writes yesterday about his recent trip to the Soho Apple Store and how it is really, an "it" store. This is my paraphrase of the 'it' girl: Apple Stores have become the young, hip retailer, famed for the good presentation, charm of their staff and customer magnetism.
"Here's an update, five years later: I spent an hour or two on Saturday at the Soho store. The obvious difference, other than how incredibly jammed it was, was who was there.
"They've crossed the gender barrier and made people of both genders passionate about what they sell."
That's certainly true for the people browsing at the stores. But the customers are also buying, as you may've read in Fortune that Apple Store sales per square foot in New York are more than four times Best Buy...
"Apple stores make $4,032 per square foot per year. For comparison's sake, Saks, whose flagship is down the street, generates sales of $362 per square foot a year. Best Buy (Charts) stores turn $930 - tops for electronics retailers - while Tiffany & Co. (Charts) takes in $2,666."
So, what makes it so appealing?
For one thing, people are welcomed and hardly ever shooed out of the store for playing on the computers or iPods. Try that at a Big Box retailer... if you can find anything worth playing on the demo PCs in the major retailers, or find even a single machine with an Internet connection. (Note: I did find a PC with Internet connection at Best Buy recently, which I used to browse the web and run a quick price comparison and read a review on a new consumer HD video camera.)
"ComputerWare set the bar for retailers, and now the Apple Stores follow the recipe: employees know their stuff, can get your new machine up and running, load software and help you figure out most any problem you might run into with your Mac, no matter what the vintage.
"And -- just like ComputerWare -- the answers at the Apple Store don't just come from the staff: answers come from other customers. It's a community."
It's time to trek down to Bellevue Square this weekend and see what's what...