Lord knows I hate Apple users. For decades Apple has been known for its delusions about being better while holding on to less than 5% of PC market share so now that they actually have significant share of a certain market they had to find a better way to insult potential customers: Charge people to come into the Apple store! One of the readers of Brian’s story said: “Five dollars to just walk into the store? It’s like they want to be elite snobs or something.” to which Vince Sciopiano, the VP of Apple Stores, said “That’s exactly the case.”
While I can fully appreciate the need to control the massive flow of people into Apple stores, pocket-qualification for mass consumer electronics is just a bad idea. How do I put this in a more plain terms.
“The very reason people pile into your store to look at overpriced yet shiny garbage is because the store is packed with teenagers to begin with. Your products (hint, 5% share) are not what draws people in, people in the stores draw people in to see what everyone is playing with.”
Consider your average camera store or electronics shop. Notice how it’s always empty, with one or two sharply dressed immigrants just waiting to pounce on you the second your foot crosses the alarm beam? They also cater to the elite crowd with deep pockets, in much the same way that a squad of aging women hunts you with perfume as you enter Dillards. Yet those stores are empty, or in Dillards case have more people passing through them from the parking lot than anything else.
Think thats by chance? Yesterday I was at my local Best Buy which just put in a huge Apple display and demo station. Guess what – EMPTY. Why? Because there was 1 table, with everything Apple makes, surrounded by 5 Apple dweebs. 0 teenagers. 0 audience. 0 sales. But hey, $5 entrance is better than the $0 you’re getting at Best Buy so go ahead, charge the customer into the ground while they are still loyal to you for some reason.
Moral of the story is: If you’re a dick to your customers while you’ve got the leg up, they will abandon you the second there is a reasonable alternative. Treat customers like gold and they will be your fans forever.