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10 reasons why the Apple is connecting with customers through its new stores in India

The Telegraph visits the stores in Mumbai and Delhi

Mathures Paul | Published 21.04.23, 09:09 AM
Tim Cook inaugurates Apple Saket in Delhi. This is the company’s second retail store in India. The first one is in Mumbai.  

Tim Cook inaugurates Apple Saket in Delhi. This is the company’s second retail store in India. The first one is in Mumbai.  

Pictures: The Telegraph

Retail is supposed to be tough but Apple makes it appear easy. Yes, you have been reading a lot about how Apple has started its retail stores in India but there is a lot to learn from how these function. We visited the company’s stores in Mumbai and Delhi and came away with 10 reasons that make Apple stores a success.

It’s not about selling devices

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Apple co-founder, the late Steve Jobs asked: “How do we enrich people’s lives?” He separated market share from how Apple can enrich lives. Usually, when you walk into a store of a rival company you will feel it’s just about selling “stuff” and not an experience. New devices will come every year, replacing the old but Apple is known for its brand value, which gets iterated on each visit to an Apple Store. A vision cannot be created simply by selling products; it needs to capture the revolutionary spirit of the products. Selling is an afterthought; first comes education and appreciation.

Teamwork and equal opportunities

Apple representatives who run the shops are well-versed with every product and we mean they know each device inside out. Be it the power of ProRAW on the iPhone to the power of the LiDAR scanner, they know how tech works. At the company’s first retail store in India — Apple BKC in Mumbai — there are more than 100 team members who collectively speak over 20 languages. They’re ready to welcome customers from around the world, helping them learn about Apple products and offering advice on the best options to suit customers’ needs, as well as the Apple Trade In programme. At Apple Saket, Delhi, there are more than 70 highly skilled retail team members who collectively speak more than 15 languages. All of them make you feel welcome at the store. Almost half the team members in the Mumbai outlet, including the leadership, are women. The same goes for Delhi.

The Genius Bar and Today at Apple

There are two very important aspects of an Apple Store. First, for hands-on technical and hardware support, customers can make a reservation at the Genius Bar for help from an expert. Genius Bar appointments can help with everything from setting up a device, recovering an Apple ID, selecting an AppleCare plan, or modifying subscriptions.

Today at Apple is a continuous programme, happening across stores. It’s a bunch of free programmes focusing on the features of Apple products customers love most, across skill levels and ages. Take the example of photography. You can learn how to take professional-style photos and videos, and then learn how to edit the same. Or learn about AR and how the iPad can help in the process. Then take the case of Garage Band and how musicians use it.

Two worlds blend

Apple brought its online store to India in 2020 and it proved to be a great success. Now we have offline stores. There is a point where the two meet because Apple wants to be where the customer is. So buy online, pick up in-store whenever it’s convenient. And many customers want to get their devices up and running with a little help from Apple Specialists. That’s possible at the store.

Celebrate diversity

It’s common to find artists and content creators at an Apple Store. Apple hires people from across backgrounds. Apple Specialists can have tattoos, piercings and the most colourful hairdo… or be geeky tech enthusiasts. Everyone has a place at an Apple Store, ensuring that every customer who walks in has somebody to build a rapport with.

Multi-sensory experiences

You want the iPhone? Sure, try it out and take pictures before you buy it. There’s more. Apple has excellent audio products, which you can experience before buying. Then there is Apple Arcade, the ad-free gaming subscription service. There is an excellent corner where you can tap on large tiles to understand what some of the games are about. And learn all about Apple TV+. Creatives may want to try the Apple Pencil on the iPad before arriving at a decision. You can do whatever you want to understand the device that fits your needs.

Take your time

You won’t come across pushy salespeople. Visit a store, walk around, check the products, spend as much time as you want and, if you want, leave without buying anything. The employees of an Apple Store will still give you a wholehearted smile. Unlike many stores that ask customers not to touch products unless they’re buying, here you can wander and take your time.

Striking relevant notes

Ahead of Earth Day on April 22, Apple has announced its goal to make every product carbon neutral by 2030, including a new framework for sharing the reduced climate impact of new models of iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, and Apple Watch. That’s on the product side. What about the stores? Apple BKC is designed to be one of the most energy-efficient Apple Store locations in the world, with a dedicated solar array and zero reliance on fossil fuels for store operations. The store is operationally carbon neutral, running on 100 per cent renewable energy. Like all of the company’s facilities, Apple Saket and Apple’s operations in India run on 100 per cent renewable energy and are carbon neutral.

No overpromising

Many tech companies announce a roadmap of opening a certain number of stores over a period of time. That makes for a good headline. In the tech world there is a saying that unless it’s before you, it doesn’t exist. Apple hasn’t overpromised and it believes in announcing new plans as and when they are ready. So if you are in Delhi or Mumbai and appreciate tech, visit the Apple store.

Needs of the creative community

Steve Jobs once said: “When I bring something home to the kids, I want to get the smile. I don’t want the UPS guy to get the smile.” Apple’s online store is a great option if you can’t access the offline store for whatever reason but there’s no substitute for buying something from a store and gifting it to someone special. It’s about walking into an Apple store to explore a world of opportunities that come with every device. You get the feeling that Apple thinks about what the creative community needs.

(Left) Apple enthusiasts turned up at Apple Saket with some classic devices, hoping Tim Cook would sign them. (Right) The scene at Apple Saket

(Left) Apple enthusiasts turned up at Apple Saket with some classic devices, hoping Tim Cook would sign them. (Right) The scene at Apple Saket

(Left) The Delhi store has 70-plus retail team members who collectively speak 15 languages (Right) Many parents, who are Apple enthusiasts, are introducing their children to the brand because of the privacy it offers

(Left) The Delhi store has 70-plus retail team members who collectively speak 15 languages (Right) Many parents, who are Apple enthusiasts, are introducing their children to the brand because of the privacy it offers

(Left) All the devices are neatly arranged, giving the Apple store a very special vibe (Right) Gurjot Sachdeva has always been an Apple fanboy. He was at Apple Saket with his son Ranvir

(Left) All the devices are neatly arranged, giving the Apple store a very special vibe (Right) Gurjot Sachdeva has always been an Apple fanboy. He was at Apple Saket with his son Ranvir

(Left) Apple stores are coming at a time when customers in India are looking for a premium experience (Right) One of the highlights of any Apple store is the ‘Today at Apple’ programme, which offers helpful tips to budding photographers, AR enthusiasts, artists and so on

(Left) Apple stores are coming at a time when customers in India are looking for a premium experience (Right) One of the highlights of any Apple store is the ‘Today at Apple’ programme, which offers helpful tips to budding photographers, AR enthusiasts, artists and so on

Last updated on 21.04.23, 09:09 AM
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