“We’ve recently studied Apple retail and believe it is an underappreciated competitive advantage,” Gene Munster writes for Loup Ventures. “No other tech company has Apple’s base of 65,000 retail employees delivering face to face advice, support, and experiences.”

“Apple stores are a channel through which Apple expresses its values of quality, design, experience, inspiration, ease of use, and privacy,” Munster writes. “These values are delivered through the Genius Bar, Today at Apple, employee checkout, in-store pickup, curated third-party products, and a consistent online and in-store experience.”

“n 2014, Angela Ahrendts left Burberry to lead Apple retail. We attribute two contributions to Ahrendts. First, while Apple stores offered in-store classes, elementary school field trips, and music events to build community, Ahrendts expanded the classes and community theme with Today at Apple,” Munster writes. “Separately, Ahrendts made the online and offline experiences (including recommendations) consistent and launched an Apple Store app. The formula seems to be working…”

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MacDailyNews Take: Two things additional things about Apple Retail Stores: One, a constant since inception, is that the stores are overly acoustically “bright” making them extremely loud. Hard floors, glass, hard ceilings; it can get deafening. In smaller stores, this makes hearing instructors’ classes, or even staff members more difficult than it should be. Some acoustical design (sound deadening) would go a long, long way to making the stores more comfortable overall. Secondly, the stores are increasingly more crowded – a nice problem to have – which is obviously recognized as an issue as we see Apple expanding stores pretty much wherever they can. (Just don’t forget the acoustics! Quieter stores will seem less crowded, even if they actually aren’t.)