“At Apple Inc’s new store in Manhattan, the smiling ‘geniuses’ and ‘concierges’ standing at attention are as important as the iPods and Mac computers on display,” Franklin Paul and Scott Hillis report for Reuters. “The store, Apple’s second-biggest in the United States, has an entire floor dedicated to customer service and technical help, a key focus for the company and one that has helped drive sales growth.”

“‘What the Apple stores do is give customers a place to come and feel and touch the products, and more importantly, talk to someone who knows the products intimately,’ said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a consultancy,” Paul and Hillis report. “‘That just does not exist well in the PC side. You can’t get a similar experience at Best Buy or Circuit City,’ Bajarin said.”

“Apple stores pulled in $1.25 billion in revenue in the company’s last fiscal quarter, a 42 percent jump from a year earlier and accounting for a fifth of total revenue,” Paul and Hillis report. “There are more than 200 stores in five countries and Apple said in October it planned to open about 40 outlets in the next year, including its first in China.”

“The new store, the third in New York City, has an entire floor for technical support, one-on-one sessions and ‘pro labs’ — free classes on how to use Apple computers,” Paul and Hillis report. “Its 46-foot-long ‘genius bar’ can help 100 customers each hour and the store has 50 percent more space for tech support and education than any other Apple store.”

Paul and Hillis report,” Known for their clean, minimalist layouts, the stores are hailed by analysts as a model for consumer electronics retail.”

Full article here.

I give [Apple] two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.David Goldstein, Channel Marketing Corp. President, May 21, 2001