Sep 10th, 2015

Doing Things Which Are Counterintuitive

Apple’s retail stores are, on a per-square-foot basis, the highest grossing stores in the US. Apple achieved this goal by doing a whole string of things which are utterly counterintuitive…

Ron Johnson, Apple’s former VP of Retail Operations, pondered over the question on how to create the best possible customer experience:

Stores that sell to a customer once every few years generally opt for cheap real estate in remote locations; but the ideal store, for customers and for a brand looking to make its mark, would be right at the center of things. Telephone support should be fine for such occasional customers, but face-to-face interaction is what people really want, especially with computers, which are a lot harder to understand than, say, a raincoat. Salespeople are motivated by commissions, but customers don’t want to feel pressured into buying something they don’t want. Johnson came up with almost a dozen of these ideas, each of which went against the heart of traditional retailing practice.

Johnson summarized his approach: “If you think something through hard enough, you’ll get to the inevitable answer.”

What are the counterintuitive things you need to do to set yourself apart from your competitors?

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