It is a rare event when someone’s death can truly be characterized as a “Global Loss”. Steve Jobs’ death last Wednesday has been described in numerous ways but I believe it had as broad and deep an impact as anyone had in generations and was felt worldwide. Steve Jobs not only altered the technology industry forever, but, I believe, society as a whole. Many journalists, former Apple employees, suppliers and other Apple worshippers have already articulated what an effect he had on the music and smartphone industries, the personal computing genre and his latest triumph, the tablet business. I would submit he also (along with incoming JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson) created a retail metamorphosis of their own in the last decade or so. Here are the Top Ten ways they did so…
10. The product became the real star attraction with the white space and minimalist store design features
9. The staffing model is like nothing anyone has ever seen. It has turned the entire industry on its head based on the number of staff on duty and the one to one customized service ethos it has perpetrated
8. A finely edited assortment can still drive huge volumes…But the products have to be spectacular
7. A relative newcomer to retail (May, 2001), it has embraced, leveraged and perfected mobile check-out technology
6. Apple elevated “Product Knowledge” to an art form with their “Genius Bars” and online appointment setting
5. Their windows are eye catching and attention grabbing utilizing simple cardboard props and posters with the product
4. They do not hold any sales or promotional events
3. There are very few markdowns
2. Daily replenishment can work
1. A “Harmonic Convergence” between physical and online stores is a competitive advantage
I ran my first business on a Mac. To think I was so enthralled by the brand and the coolness factor that I willingly stared at a 7″ Macintosh screen all day for years using Lotus Notes (a clearly inferior program to Microsoft Office). That was the impact Steve Jobs had on me. His articulation of an easier, better world, through design, marketing and “Blue Ocean” thinking that captivated an entire generation and society worldwide will be his everlasting legacy.
“Think Different” never resonated so true as in Apple’s and Steve Jobs’ approach to retail.