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"How do we reinvent the store to enrich our customers' lives?"

Stashed in: #inspiration, Product Inspiration, Steve Jobs, Brands!, Marketing!, Business Advice, Stories, Customers!, Selling!, Logos!

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I just enjoyed Ron Johnson's What I Learned Building the Apple Store.

In particular:

So the challenge for retailers isn't "how do we mimic the Apple Store" or any other store that seems like a good model. It's a very different problem, one that's conceptually similar to what Steve Jobs faced with the iPhone. He didn't ask, "How do we build a phone that can achieve a two percent market share?" He asked, "How do we reinvent the telephone?" In the same way, retailers shouldn't be asking, "How do we create a store that's going to do $15 million a year?" They should be asking, "How do we reinvent the store to enrich our customers' lives?"

I love that.

Business strategy requires asking the right questions.

I find stories like this heartening but then...

I inevitably wonder how much of tales like these are:

1) Survivorship bias (The other 100 stores that put customer service over profit died a horrible death but we never hear from them.)

2) Historical revisionism (The CEO who kills, cheats and steals his way to the top and then speaks at commencement ceremonies encouraging graduates to "do the right thing and you'll always be a success.")

This story is probably guilty of both survivorship bias AND historical revisionism.

Still, there are plenty of interesting tidbits in The History of the Apple Store, among them:

The focus wasn’t on products to the exclusion of all else. Organizing products around categories was perceived as a mistake, or as Steve Jobs put it, “we were like, ‘Oh, God, we’re screwed!’" But because it was a mockup, Apple was able to redesign the store, emphasizing Mac usage and related interests, like digital photography. That focus on developing relationships with customers, especially when compared to competitors like Best Buy, is an underrated part of the Apple Store’s success, and what an astonishing success it has been.

Just because Apple focused on experience and enriching customers' lives does not mean that Apple's approach will work for everyone.

Apple's approach worked for Apple.

The secret to success? You have to be who you are, as hard as you can.

And then, of course, get lucky: "Even if you work hard and make wise choices, you still need a little luck. Never forget that."

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