What’s Wrong with Apple Stores?

In a recent post about Microsoft’s new retail initiative, I suggested that that there are aspects of Apples customer experience that could be improved.  Several readers responded, asked for more specifics thoughts.

Let me start by saying that Apple has the best dollars per square foot metrics in all of retail.  They don’t need to apologize about their stores to anyone.  Further, there are many elements of their experience that I love,  including their signature architecture, genius bar, useful fact tags, category signage with decision tree suggestions, window displays and wireless CRM.

That being said, here are some areas that could be improved. (more)

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In Las Vegas for Global Shop 2009

The annual gathering of retail designers and in-store marketers starts Monday in Las Vegas.  I’m in town and will be blogging a recap of the show.  Last year, the show was over spring break, during some unseasonably bad weather in Chicago, and attendance was lack-luster.  At the time, I speculated that it was also a bit quiet because the show started a month after the much larger EuroShop which takes place every three years in Dusseldorf, Germany. (more)

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Microsoft returns to retail. Blogosphere already assumes it will fail.

Last week Microsoft announced plans to open its own retail stores to "transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience," the company said Wednesday as it hired David Porter as corporate vice president of Retail Stores.

Although Microsoft hasn’t publicized the scope or mission of this new retail initiative.  Many reporters and bloggers responded by immediately assuming the stores will directly complete with Apple and that Microsoft’s efforts will fall short of the Apple experience. (more)

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Vacant Stores as Digital Signage

MediaPost’s Marketing Daily has an article about how some advertisers are setting up digital signage networks in the windows of out-of-business vacant retail stores. (more)

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Harrods goes live with innovative digital signage in window display

Adrain Cotterill who writes the excellent Daily Digital out of Home blog, sent me a heads-up this morning about a new window display being unveiled at Harrods.

For US centric readers, Harrods is based in the UK, and is one of the premiere department stores in Europe along with the likes of KaDeWe from Germany or Printemps of France. The US doesn’t have a true equivalent in terms of eclectic and comprehensive product assortment, but I suppose the closest comparison would be to a premium Macys. (more)

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ad:tech San Francisco recap

On Tuesday April 15, I had the opportunity to attend my first ad:tech event, and speak on one of the Power Panels (Tales from the Bleeding Edge – Game-Changing Opportunities for Tomorrow’s Marketer).

Ad:tech is an interactive advertising and technology conference and exhibition. They do a number of events each year at a variety of international venues. The primary attendees are brands, agencies, publishers, portals, and service providers.

I’m not sure if it’s the intention, but the bulk of exhibitors and content are primarily focused on web based activities (media buying, search, e-mail marketing, web analytics, affiliate marketing, blogging, etc…). There is not (yet) much of a presence for Digital Out of Home, much less retail environment specific content. (more)

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Context Sensitive Advertising

In a world in which most of us are exposed to over 3000 advertisements today, and are enticed to read/listen/watch almost 300 of them, you have to take your shoes hat off to advertisers that can rise above the noise. (more)

I was recently traveling through the security checkpoint at the San Diego airport, and found this tray provided to pass my luggage through the X-Ray machine.

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MS Surface goes live in AT&T Wireless Stores (a first hand account)

The PR folks at Microsoft have to be feeling pretty good. On March 26th Fortune Magazine and others reported that Microsoft’s often hyped multi-touch user interface product, Surface, would not be ready for consumers until 2011. Less than a week later, AT&T Wireless stores and Microsoft announced that Surface would be going live in select AT&T Wireless stores on April 17th (via Engadget, CNET, and BoyGenius). (more)

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Microsoft Surface in 2011

In my 2008 CES recap post, I mentioned that while Microsoft had some great demos, and did a terrific job of brainstorming customer experiences for a multi-touch interface, I didn’t expect them to be able to get the Surface hardware to market.

According to Fortune Magazine, Microsoft now doesn’t expect to make Surface available until 2011.  I’m guessing we’ll see multi-touch implementations from others long before that.

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Digital Billboard Sabotage on La Brea?

It almost happened. A number of Clear Channel digital billboards in Los Angeles appeared to get hacked, in the first appearance of digital graffiti that I’ve heard of. As it turns out however, the graffiti was actually a purchased advertisement on the signs, made to look like a hack. A clever marketing gimmick to be sure, the digital equivalent of the "advitorial." (more)

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