Walk into any Apple Store when it opens in the morning and you might notice that all of the new MacBook Pro notebooks with retina display are positioned at exactly the same angle. Employees who open the store use an iPhone app as a level to tilt all the screens to exactly the same angle (the Simply Angle app is a popular choice to measure degree of inclination). How Apple positions the angle of computer screens is just one of the fascinating nuggets of information I learned after spending one year researching the Apple Store experience.
The Apple Store pays attention to every detail. You might think that Apple positions all its notebook computers for aesthetic reasons. That’s partly true. The tables are uncluttered and the products are clean. But the main reason notebook computers screens are slightly angled is to encourage customers to adjust the screen to their ideal viewing angle—in other words, to touch the computer! It’s also why all computers and iPads in the Apple Store are loaded with apps and software and connected to the Internet. Apple wants you to see the display for yourself and to experiment with apps and web sites to experience the power and performance of the devices. Customers in an Apple Retail Store can spend all the time they want playing with the devices and using the Internet—nobody will pressure them to leave.
Multisensory experiences build a sense of ownership. Interactivity—what I call the ‘multisensory experience’—is built in to every aspect of the Apple Store experience. For example, trainers who teach customers how to use Apple products in “One to One” workshops do not touch the computer without permission. Instead they guide customers to find the solutions themselves. You see, the Apple Store was never created on the premise that people want to buy stuff. Instead Apple discovered that by creating an ownership experience, customers would be more loyal to the brand.
The Apple Store was designed to create an ownership experience from the moment a customer walks through the door. When Steve Jobs gave a tour of the first Apple Store in 2001, he said that all computers were connected to the Internet. “You can go up to any computer and start surfing, go to your personal web site, or do whatever you want to do on the Internet.” The devices have changed but you can still walk up to any product in the store and start using it—read books on the iPad, discover apps on an iPod Touch, listen to music on an iPod, or play games on the new MacBook Pro. The ownership experience is more important than a sale.