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Learning from Apple – Why we can’t

by daniel

Many retail consultants point to the success of the Apple Stores as an example of the kind of thinking and changes which must take place for many retailers to survive. The problem is, few people if anyone really know why Apple Stores are a success. Pricing? Apple products are expensive compared to competitors (PCs, MP3 players, tablets, etc). Is it their relaxed setting (eg Genius Bars)? Borders had in-store cafes and couches for reading and look what happened to them. Is it their passionate staff - probably, but the bigger question is why are the staff so passionate (they'd practically work for free). The fact is, the success of Apple is not at all simple. It's impossible to point to one or even a series of unique elements and use that to explain why they are successful. Even more difficult, and downright dangerous, is to use the process of induction to say Apple does x, therefore if you do x, you too will be successful. This is a simplification, but in essence this is what many retail consultants do. As Nicholas Taleb warned in The Black Swan, be very wary of inducing patterns and trends from examples which can't be fully explained.

This article was published on Friday 22 February, 2013.
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