Sneaky ways Apple Stores get you to spend more money


  • Apple stores were the most profitable retail stores per square foot in 2017.
  • When you go to an Apple Store you can try out all of Apple’s new products like the iPhone 11 or the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.
  • Using all of these devices keeps customers in the store for longer, and the longer customers spend with a product the more likely they are to purchase it.
  • But the smooth Apple Store experience might be changing. In the past year, there have been reports of long wait times and overcrowded stores. Apple might have to rethink its retail strategy if it wants to keep its store’s reputation.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Apple stores were the most profitable retail stores per square foot in 2017, beating out brands like Tiffany and Lululemon.

Other stores have tried to copy the formula, but these feel like imitation rather than innovation. Apple stores are a core part of Apple’s brand and of spreading that brand.

Tim Cook: Our stores are also the best place to go discover, explore, and experience our new products.

Narrator: An Apple store is an Apple paradise, and anyone walking by can see this utopia, because most Apple stores have big glass walls.

Jim Mourey: When they see that other people are inside engaging with the product, there’s this general social desire to belong.

Narrator: That’s Jim Mourey. He teaches marketing at DePaul University.

Mourey: And so there’s this FOMO, like, “fear of missing out” quality of wanting to go inside and see what the new thing happens to be at the store.

Narrator: And once customers get into the store, they tend to stick around, because Apple stores are just plain cool. Each store’s design is as sleek and modern as Apple’s products. The flagship stores even double as tourist destinations. Each one is like a beacon, with multiple floors, indoor trees, and incredible architecture. Apple stores wow customers with more than just the products.

And the stores are filled with visual cues that get the customer’s attention. You can see every shiny new model on display. After using the iPhone 11, you know exactly how much better it is than your old iPhone 7.

Mourey: Once people have their hands on something, they’re more likely to purchase it. As soon as they feel some sense of ownership of the product, they actually value it more once it’s in their possession.

Narrator: And this adds a reason to go to the store. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything. You can go just to play with the new products.

Mourey: The longer you keep people in the store, the more likely they are to buy something.

Angela Ahrendts: They’re carefully curated, and they change seasonally to always feature our newest products and services.

Mourey: There’s this notion of the pain of paying. When we know we’re in an expensive store, the more we can sort of mitigate that feeling of pain, by, like, maybe hiding the price tags and the sticker shock, the better off we are.

Narrator: Mourey explained that when you feel that a price is unfair, you actually have more activity in your amygdala, a part of your brain that processes emotional pain.

Mourey: You can almost imagine it as like a, you know, a plus and a minus, and if the plus outweighs the minus, then I’m more likely to purchase it.

Narrator: In an Apple store, the price tags are very small. So even though the products are expensive, you’re not thinking about the price. Good for the amygdala.

There’s also an aspirational quality to Apple’s products. With Apple devices, loyal customers feel like they’re getting the best of the best. There are no giant “sale” or “clearance” stickers that devalue the products, and the staff makes customers feel important by showing individualized attention.

Mourey: We want to make the happy experience and the ease, the convenience as great as possible and minimize that inconvenience or that pain of paying as much as possible.

Narrator: It turns out Apple is really good at this. When it’s time to check out, there’s no line and no cash register. Painless. The phone you’ve been playing with for the past 20 minutes is now yours. And you told yourself you weren’t planning on buying anything.

In the last few years, Apple has created even more reason to go to an Apple store, adding free classes called Today at Apple on topics like photography and coding. These classes are also a part of Apple’s vision for its stores as a part of the community.

Ahrendts: We call them town squares because they’re gathering places.

Narrator: But the Apple store utopia might not be as glorious as it looks from the outside. In the past year, there have been reports of customers facing long wait times and overcrowded stores. Customers and reporters have lamented the loss of the seamless Apple store. Apple might have to rethink its retail strategy if it wants to maintain the store’s reputation. Ultimately, Apple wants its stores to have a positive impact on its customers. When it gets it right, it makes spending money really easy.

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