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From Objects to Experiences

All of this corporate discussion reminds me of an experience I had today—-visiting the Apple Store. A new one opened in Seattle months ago, very close to the University of Washington campus. I wanted to visit since its opening, but resisted because I have a G3 from 1998. A trip to the Apple store is one step closer to buying a new computer, which is one step closer to replacing all of my software, which is not what I want to spend time with right now. So I went looking only. I made the 1.28-mile trek with the intention of merely stopping by the Apple Store on my way to Barnes and Noble for Christmas gifts. In the end, it was all too familiar.

Coming over NE 45th Street I saw it. From over 200 yards away, I spotted the iconic Apple logo, almost glowing. “I don’t think another store in this shopping area has such a big presence,” I said under my breath. And besides Target, is there another retail outlet projecting only a symbol, an icon of their corporate identity on the storefront?

As I got closer to the store, the excitement built. What would the inside look like? Would there be new computers for me to play with? Oh yeah, what about Panther? Would it be installed for me to dabble and compare against Jaguar? These questions escaped me as I opened the door and walked in, because the first thing I encountered was nothing. A blank rectangular area about 16 foot x 18 foot invited me in. Nothing impeded me from entering. Nothing interrupted my view of the entire store from the front doors to the wide screen projected movie on the back wall. The closest computers were eight paces away. I found this invitation a nice change of pace from other retailers who attack you with merchandise as soon as you walk in. The nearly raw concrete floor sat under my feet, emitting a freshly cast smell. The floor radiated—-it actually felt warm, in contrast to the cold and wet outdoors of Seattle.

Walking around the heated floor, music completed the experience. Brian Eno may have orchestrated it. Even now, I regret not asking the salesperson who was playing over their iTunes engineered sound system. All the computers were displayed carefully against the wall with plenty of elbow room. Hardware, speakers, and utilities sat in the middle aisles of the store. Comparing the two, the wall display was elevated more comfortably, but I hunched over to play with the aisle merchandise. I noticed the other customers struggling away on the keyboard or rolling through an iPod list while stressing their back.

Positioned near the center of the store was the Kid Zone. I nearly ran over the three-foot high table because my head turned in every direction, ignoring the path in front of me and observing the luminescent signage above. (A typeface other than the stoic Garamond condensed hung from the 16-foot ceiling.) Four eMacs opposed each other in Kid Zone and four spherical chairs invited children to sit down and play while mom and dad had their machine serviced. I sat on the sphere-shaped foam and bounced around. Nobody cared for my playfulness because they were all involved in buying or inquiring about a computer. Customers occupied themselves with an iBook, PowerBook, iMac, iPod, or G5. All six salespeople demonstrated something Apple for the first-time buyer. They stood out from the customers and the warm white/gray combination of machines, lighting, and shelving with bright-red shirts, equipped with a white Apple logo in the center of their chest. Heroic in appearance, one salesperson sat behind the counter of the Genius Bar. From what I could decipher, the Genius Bar was a place where Apple users took their machines for help: a service station.

For those users who wanted to learn things on their own—-without the help of a genius—-a big screen projection played the video “All About Apple.” Placed in front of the projection were a series of Eames Tandem Sling Seats, much like those I grew up with at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. The Apple film had testimonials of people who switched operating systems. Animated screens demonstrated the flair and simplicity of being an Apple user. The OS looked fun and exciting. Users synthesized various media types on their iPod. Cameras downloaded images with the efficient iPhoto. Cursors danced across the screen. The techno music and candid interviews from the movie clashed with the Eno ambience, and I took this as a sign. It was time to leave. I walked away with the new 20-inch iMac calling me from the distance.

Leaving the store, I headed for Christmas shopping at Barnes & Noble. I felt drained, as if I just left an amusement park. In truth, the Apple Store has much in common with Epcot Center and Disney World. (Epcot Center opened in 1982 after Disney World’s successful opening in 1971.) Like Epcot Center, the Apple Store is also a world of tomorrow, loaded with technology that is always fresh. Epcot’s Test Track, sponsored by General Motors, thrills guests with hair-pin turns and all terrain action. It’s not just the cars positioned around the ride, when it comes time to choose a car, your experience of the ride will call to you. It will effect your decision between a VW Jetta or GM’s Saturn. (Show me a designer who would take the Saturn over the Jetta. That’s a blog for another day.) The power in these places is the visual, aural, and tactile stimuli pushing and pulling us about the landscape. Whether it’s the Apple Store selling computers or a cooperative advertising venture between Disney and General Motors, we make multi-layered connections with products. We see them, touch them, hear them, smell them, and experience them. By infecting so many senses, we realize that there’s one thing missing: home. We have fully experienced the product. Now, it must come home with me.

And now Volkswagen has taken the consumer experience into a unique position, where we witness the birth, creation, and delivery of the product. It’s something that wouldn’t benefit Apple in my opinion, but is fascinating. At the VW Dresden plant, an assembly line allows customers full display of their car being manufactured. You can even purchase a package deal with hotel and rental car. The beautiful images of the campus appeal to all senses. The resort is more Club Med meets Bucky Fuller than Disney. It’s all very glorified, part museum, part showcase, part shopping mall, and all corporate experience.

The Apple Store, Epcot Center, and the VW Dresden plant all signify a unique opportunity in marketing: experience. Call it the fourth dimension. Walking through the Apple Store I remarked how closely its luxurious/wide open space, modernist aesthetic, smooth floors, subdued color palette, controlled typography, and sophisticated music mirrored the well-designed machines I crave. The environment brought me closer to the iMac I want and, the lifestyle it promises; Target seems boring by comparison. The whole experience is a far cry from the stores I grew up with in Omaha, Nebraska while shopping with mom and dad.

As I entered the bookstore looking for their gifts, I was disappointed. Things were not the same as the Apple Store. I longed for the chic aesthetic I left behind. (And I longed for that iMac.) However, Barnes & Noble looked and felt like a place of knowledge—-an antiquated library. The form suited the product, and I roamed around with curiosity like I would in a library. As I made my way to the video section, a DVD caught my eye: Mel Stewart’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971), based on the novel by Roald Dahl. Even before the Apple Store, Epcot Center, or VW Dresden were brand extensions, Dahl created the ultimate corporate experience and Stewart visualized it. If the rumors about remaking the film are true, I expect a very real Chocolate Factory built in the near future. Fortunately for Wonka Candies, the companies mentioned above plus dozens of others have already proven that Dahl’s business model conceived in 1964 can work.

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ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 1684 FILED UNDER Critique
PUBLISHED ON Dec.09.2003 BY Jason A. Tselentis
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
Amanda’s comment is:

Excellent, excellent post!

What other stores or brands would benefit from this kind of sensory involvement and excitement? I'm wondering how this might be implemented on a smaller (mom and pop) scale. Is it possible?

On Dec.09.2003 at 06:44 AM
Tom’s comment is:

> What other stores or brands would benefit from this kind of sensory involvement and excitement?

Blockbuster!

On Dec.09.2003 at 08:14 AM
Armin’s comment is:

A quick welcome to Jason Tselentis, our newest author. His profile will be coming up soon´┐Ż ok, as soon as I get him the template.

On Dec.09.2003 at 08:26 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> What other stores or brands would benefit from this kind of sensory involvement and excitement? I'm wondering how this might be implemented on a smaller (mom and pop) scale.

When I was in NY this summer, Sam Potts took me to the McSweeny's store in Brooklyn. Man, I felt smart! That would be the perfect example of a small shop providing an amazing experience. The window display is a dinner table-setting for two. The space is small, very small, maybe 100 SF? On both sides are armoires filled with drawers — which in turn are filled with the most bizarre things — and little nooks and crannies that also hold the most bizarre things. You can buy puzzle pieces by the pound, not sure what you would do with unmatching pieces of a puzzle, but it certainly represents McSweeneys. You can also by books by the pages. It's like an apothecary's store for intellectuals — the cashier is actually stooped up a few feet, you need to stand on your tips to hand them the money. After all the huge amounts of useless, vintagely-attractive crap they sell they manage to sneak in their products, but you don't notice them at first, they are merely part of the experience. Very cool.

Tom, Blockbuster? I dread that store, it is one of the worst experiences, starting with the puke-inducing yellow and blue that is ever so well complimented by the incompetent teenagers swiping your card ten times before they have to type it in manually. Thank God for Netflix.

On Dec.09.2003 at 08:43 AM
jonsel’s comment is:

Walking into the FAO Schwarz store on Fifth Ave. in NYC was always a feast for the senses. They never really duplicated that with their other stores. I guess that's why they are probably headed out of business.

I've always failed to understand why stores don't put effort into enhancing the shopping experience. CompUSA always incites my wrath when I'm in there. Not only is there rarely anyone to offer help, but when they do appear, they tell you that they don't work in "that section." "Not my problem" is the worst attitude a retailer can take. I usually respond with a "not your sale" attitude and leave.

On the smaller scale, most mom&pop stores have a lot on their hands with competition from places like Wal-Mart and Target. When I find a good small store, I try to go buy from them before going to the big box guys. There is a small hardware store in my town that usually has anything I need, compared to the big Sears Hardware that often has none of the supplies I'm looking and never anyone to help find something. The small hardware guy somehow knows where everything is in his overloaded small store. Service and personality is the most likely aspect of a small operation that will separate them from the big guys.

On Dec.09.2003 at 09:27 AM
eric’s comment is:

regarding selling you a product you may or may not want, Gawker offers the following this morning:

Former cheerleader Melana, the "glycerine-eyed" star of the reality dating show "Average Joe," chose to take pretty boy Jason to the prom instead of nerdy Adam. The Times says it is an affirmation that looks matter, but there is a moral: "Melana did not choose money over looks. She just chose looks. Or as she put it, 'He's not only gorgeous, he's very sincere.'"

Here's to hoping that Apple continues to be sincere.

On Dec.09.2003 at 09:51 AM
Tom’s comment is:

Tom, Blockbuster?

What other stores or brands WOULD BENEFIT

We are agreeing on this Armin. Blockbuster needs an overhaul. A better customer experience.

On Dec.09.2003 at 10:12 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Oops. Tom, you are right. I thought you were citing Blockbuster as a good example of experiential store-going. Caffeine hadn't kicked in yet.

On Dec.09.2003 at 10:31 AM
Bradley’s comment is:

The real question is, what store or brand WOULDN'T benefit from this level of quality? Short-term thinking is lethal, but its short-term thinking that perpetuates the crap in our environment and keeps the Apple/simplified mentality out of most places. The problem is that there's the way people actually behave, then there's the way most marketing people THINK people behave. Wildly different.

Most marketing people are morons who lacked the skills to write or design, and thus went into "business." I know this sounds harsh, and it doesn't apply to all of them, but it applies to enough.

On Dec.09.2003 at 10:41 AM
max’s comment is:

Placed in front of the projection were a series of Eames Tandem Sling Seats, much like those I grew up with at Omaha's Eppley Airfield.

Ahhh, Omaha! Unfortunately, no Apple Store here. Damn.

The McSweeney's store sounds awesome, though.

On Dec.09.2003 at 10:43 AM
marian’s comment is:

Actually, I think in some ways this is the mom&pop model. A place with a unique feel to it; where you're given room to browse a focussed, small selection of goods; where the people who work there will be there the next time you go in (and remember you); where you can get help if you want it but don't have someone hounding your every move. Sound familiar? I can think of several small, local stores that offer this experience.

What Apple has that the smaller merchants don't is big bucks for high technology and space, but it's telling in the way they used those bucks (e.g. paying for the empty space inside the doors)--where other big stores would have used it to stuff the floors, oversell their products and hire--God forbid--greeters.

How were the salespeople? Because that's another thing I've never understood: I really don't respond to pushy, commissioned salespeople--in fact, they're likely to push me right out of the store. It amazes me actually that people do buy in these high pressure, over-stimulated, over-stocked, over-staffed (but under-caring), up-sell market places. My reaction is always to get out as quickly as possible.

I wish we had an Apple store ... on second thought, I'm glad we don't, or I'd be whining about the G5.

Great post Jason, and welcome. At least your last name doesn't start with an "A". ...

On Dec.09.2003 at 11:12 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

IKEA is one of those places where the building and interior and 'shopping experience' are huge parts of the brand.

On Dec.09.2003 at 11:19 AM
rebecca’s comment is:

The Prada flagship store in Soho. It was one of the most interesting things I saw last time I was in New York. I spent two hours there...and I wasn't shopping.

On Dec.09.2003 at 11:30 AM
Jason A. Tselentis’s comment is:

The Apple salespeople? They were all busy. From what I observed, they were polite and genuine, but not overly gestural with animated salesmanship. Still, a colleague of mine went shopping there recently for iPod modules. She claims the salesperson helping her had no idea what they were talking about, and looked on the box for product deatails. It's hit or miss, like anyplace else. I didn’t make time with a salesperson that day, but plan to when I return.

To the overhaul issue, Blockbuster is problematic. It has no real identity besides the yellow and blue plastered on the walls. And the cacophony of televisions projecting the same movie on nearly a dozen screens frightens me every time I walk in. Still, the salespeople are top notch. Every time they suggest a film, it’s good.

I'm glad you bring up the Prada store. There's one that deserves a load of investigation. Koolhaas did an amazing job.

On Dec.09.2003 at 11:32 AM
Rick Landers’s comment is:

Ahhh NY the city of sensory overload, in Pa we have a lot less of the nice experiences, espeically in Philadelphia - most of which is awful to look at, especially the lack of concern for historical buildings - the horrible facades many of the stores place on their buildings is a sin - there should be a law! I could probably go on, but more importantly, I would like to add the experience of Crate and Barrel in King of Prussia.

The building is beautiful and really helps to define the beauty of the simplicity of their products. The shopping experiences is also amazing everything is beautifully displayed and with simple, easy-to-understand signage.

On Dec.09.2003 at 12:34 PM
eric’s comment is:

Rebecca, thanks for bringing up the Prada store.

Living in New York, I don't see the Apple Store as being a major evolution of shopping/cultural space. Aside from the jaded consumerism here, I wonder if there isn't a kind of beauty in useful organization in something like a 7-11 too? The little ma and pa bodegas here aren't pretty but it's an interesting study in product disbursement in a limited space.

the "white cube" gallery thing seems like a likely outlet for Apple's shtick.

On Dec.09.2003 at 12:51 PM
Armin’s comment is:

One of the biggest factors in store experiences is the music. One thing I can't stand is extremely loud music — not because I am a wuss, but I actually physically hear more than most people. For some reason — well, to sell more — Gap turns up their music for the holiday season, it is quite obnoxious. The Apple store is surprisingly quiet, although still kind of high.

One of the best AIGA lectures I have attended was with a Muzak dude and he talked a lot about the importance of music in branding, very interesting stuff.

On Dec.09.2003 at 12:54 PM
Mr. Jones’s comment is:

I love the Apple Store! Excellent post.

Ralph Lauren Polo store is the master of creating an atmosphere that enhances the brand (dare I say he started it?). Limn in SF and Sacramento has a great energy to it.

I agree with Marian’s comment. I hate (yes, hate) in-store greeters! Does it bother anyone else that they pay employees to say “hello” to your back as you enter the store? The greeters only job is to greet. I doubt that the greeter would be of any help if asked a question. In fact, I am going to ask the next greeter I see for help just to see what happens. I think Walmart is to blame for creating the greeter position. Remember when car alarms were new? I would equate the greeter to the car alarm. The first few times I experienced the greeter doing his/her job I would pause and wonder “Did he/she say something to me?” Now they could be yelling “Your head is on fire” and I would walk right by.

Best Buy could use a re-do. TV the size of a football field and 400 blaring tvs and stereos all tuned to a different channels and stations...big time sensory overload almost to the point of causing a seizure. Trapped in a Best Buy store for more than 30 minutes...that would be hell. They have a greeter too. Oh joy.

On Dec.09.2003 at 12:58 PM
Jason A. Tselentis’s comment is:

This greeter thing is a new phenomenon for me. Wal Mart was the first place I saw it in the Midwest. Here in Seattle, Bank of America is doing it. They're nothing more than smiling faces in my opinion. I don't despise this line of work. It's valuable. It makes me feel comfortable on one hand, but confronted on another. It should be noted that there have been a string of robberies in Seattle. I believe these extra eyes are doing more than just greeting me with a warm face. Even at Wal Mart, one could question the roll of sincerity in combination with loss prevention.

On Dec.09.2003 at 01:11 PM
Jonathan’s comment is:

Great posts, but something that lots of people have been thinking about for a long time. Services and goods are no longer enough to differentiate, it is now the experience that sells.

Have you read 'The Experience Economy' by Gilmore and Pine?

On Dec.09.2003 at 03:31 PM
Jonathan’s comment is:

I posted about this exact VW experience that you mention on my blog in 12/02 that you may be interested in reading along with the comments.

Read Post

On Dec.09.2003 at 03:37 PM
Bob’s comment is:

Blockbuster...incompetent teenagers swiping your card ten times before they have to type it in manually.

Or maybe you could keep your Blockbuster card from getting so ratty. We'll print you a new one. It only takes a sec.

Two of the managers besides myself at my Blockbuster (#29091 - Creve Coeur, MO) have bachelor's degrees. If you have a problem with a Blockbuster, let them know instead of spouting off from on high. That is part of the corporate culture. Not only will the problem get rectified, but you'll usually get some free rentals. Be part of the solution instead of the problem.

On Dec.09.2003 at 03:48 PM
Armin’s comment is:

I never saw that comment backfiring on me. Point well taken Bob.

On Dec.09.2003 at 03:54 PM
Jason A. Tselentis’s comment is:

Jonathan, I'll check out your posts, and am interested in what you have to say.

On Dec.09.2003 at 03:57 PM
Jason A. Tselentis’s comment is:

[ five minutes after above post ]

Ah, Jonathan. Now I remember you. I've been to your blog now and again, and especially enjoyed your breakdown of the "onion" dialed watch months ago. As for your VW/Metropolis blog, its well said, and directed me to some points of view I'd not considered. The emotional angle is a fresh one.

Experience > Engagement > Emotion

Interesting.

On Dec.09.2003 at 04:02 PM
.sara’s comment is:

The Apple Store salespeople at both the Santa Monica and Northridge (CA) stores are supercool. (: They smile and say hi when you walk in, but don't hit you with, "what can I help you with?" the second you cross the threshold -- which I like.

Am I the only one who does this? I like going to the Apple Store... just to go. I just like being in the store, it's relatively calm and no one bothers me if I look busy. Of course, you can't sit on the floor and flip through iBooks the way you can flip through pages in a bookstore, but that's the feeling.

All right, maybe I'm just odd. (:

On Dec.09.2003 at 04:21 PM
Tom’s comment is:

The Nike Store at Phipps in Atlanta is an incredible sensory experience. As you walk through each section of shoes and clothing, the sounds change. Example: in the basketball section you can faintly hear shoes screaching on a court and balls bouncing; in the kids section you can faintly hear kids on a playground; in the golf section you hear birds and other nature sounds.

On Dec.09.2003 at 04:25 PM
mrTIM’s comment is:

Regular customer:

Experience > Engagement > Emotion

Apple Owner:

Emotion > Purchase > 2nd Purchase > 3rd Purchase.....etc...

Jason, I love your description for the Apple store experience. I had to email out the link to my friends so that they stop teasing me about my obsession with Macs. "See, I'm not the only one who trips over stuff in the Apple store!" (Last time I ended up tripping over a small child, and taking out a sales person...)

It's an interesting post in that it makes me evaluate where I tend to go shopping/eating/playing, and why it is that I go to those places.

As an example (which hasn't been addressed yet) I go out to eat all the time, and one of my favorite places is called "Silver City" in Silverdale, WA. (near Seattle) I tend to eat there because of the great environment it offers. They brew all their own beer, and the brewery is separated but viewable through large windows in the dinning room. The kitchen is also viewable, and there's also a loft area where they'll sit you for more of a "romantic" experience. (If you ask...)

Overall it makes for an enjoyable place to meet friends and hang out. I just find it interesting that I would rather spend quite a bit more money when Applebees would do. Especially considering how cheep I am!

On Dec.09.2003 at 04:58 PM
Ginny ’s comment is:

Reckless Records on Milwalkee

Love it! Between the posters on the walls, the "good" loud music being played, the old school video games, the "priceless" vinyl behind the counter, the countless numbers of used and new cd jackets to search through and the people who frequent it, I get a rush everytime I walk through the door.

Home Depot and the Salvation Army

They have their own unique smells, bad muzak, and there's alot to look at or through. And it's ALWAYS an experience (good and bad).

On Dec.09.2003 at 05:01 PM
ps’s comment is:

remember the days when places were cool without a special "branding package" when it just happened. because of the time, the history, the people, etc. now, we create history with muzak and branding campaigns. one of the things that always struck me is sports events here. in europe, and i would assume in other parts of the world as well, the fans create the atmosphere. here in the u.s. the entertainment gets piped in through the big monitors and sound systems and fans react to it.

On Dec.09.2003 at 05:16 PM
Tom’s comment is:

> sports events here. in europe... the fans create the atmosphere. ...in the u.s. the entertainment gets piped in through the big monitors and sound systems

You need to go to a college football game in the south! Now that is fan created Experience > Engagement > Emotion!!! Go Dawgs!

On Dec.09.2003 at 05:31 PM
marian’s comment is:

“Did he/she say something to me?” Now they could be yelling “Your head is on fire” and I would walk right by.

That was good for a long laugh. Thanks, Mr. Jones.

Speaking of music in stores ... now we're really getting off the path here, but it's all about "branding," right? Right ... Why Christmas music? At all? Ever? Isn't it universally bad? It's the kind of awful thing that once you notice it you can't unnotice it? I've been astounded by the cool, hip, modern, urban, sophisticated stores that still turn on the frickin' Holly Jolly Frickin' Christmas music on December 1. Is there some kind of retailer's law that I don't know about? I think if I found a store that wasn't playing christmas music I would just stay there all day and spend my money.

BTW, does a comprehensive branding extend to the kind of music that the Brand shalt/shalt not play in their stores? Like, do you think Apple has a music researcher who keeps up on the new music of just the right kind?

On Dec.09.2003 at 05:33 PM
ps’s comment is:

You need to go to a college football game in the south! Now that is fan created Experience > Engagement > Emotion!!! Go Dawgs!

as i was typing my post i thought college games would be the exception. good point.

On Dec.09.2003 at 05:35 PM
ps’s comment is:

BTW, does a comprehensive branding extend to the kind of music that the Brand shalt/shalt not play in their stores? Like, do you think Apple has a music researcher who keeps up on the new music of just the right kind?

supposedly playing the right kind of music for the store will increase sales. so my guess is if not apple, it would be the service that they use for their music is doing tons of research on it.

On Dec.09.2003 at 05:38 PM
Armin’s comment is:

ps and Marian, Muzak does exactly what you two are talking/asking about. They give each store around four hours of brand-approved music that they play continuously — this applies to big brands of course, like Gap, Apple, Prada, Old Navy, etc. Muzak does the research on what songs are accurate for the brand. They also pitch a few different "concepts" (snippets of songs) to the executives so they can choose which mood they want to go with.

For anybody who still thinks of Muzak as elevator music, this is far from what they do now. They indeed used to compose the music for elevators, now they only choose music. I think they have agreements with the major labels too.

On Dec.09.2003 at 05:49 PM
ps’s comment is:

yeah, muzac presented a few years ago at the aiga:gain conference. it was pretty amazing how they were able to quantify what they actually did for their clients. @issue actually had a story on them "musak elevates its image" which discussed their new identity by pentagram.

On Dec.09.2003 at 05:55 PM
mrTIM’s comment is:

Having worked retail most of my life I know a bunch of dirty little tricks that retailers use on their customers. And music is a big one! Every major store I've ever worked in (from OfficeMax to Spencers) have a tape or scheduled program of music that is supposed to mirror their products, and induce frenzied shopping behavior in all that listen to it...

Lerner New York (a basic mall type clothing store) even goes to the trouble of creating fake commercial breaks in the music that uses a fake New York radio call sigh. They even splice in advertising for their affiliate stores (Victoria Secret, Body Works, Limited, Express, etc.).

It's actually quite amazing that stores even put on the christmas music and miss out on all of that free "background" advertising that they usually subject their customers too.

On Dec.09.2003 at 07:05 PM
marian’s comment is:

@issue actually had a story on them "musak elevates its image"

Oh yeah, I remember reading that. And maybe if I wasn't so damned lazy and had followed Armin's link I would have known that before posting.

On Dec.09.2003 at 07:34 PM
surts’s comment is:

I'm pretty new to the sushi game, but a lot of the places I've visited are

designed really well on the inside - clean lines, nice flow. The environment

enriches the eating experience.

On Dec.09.2003 at 09:53 PM
ps’s comment is:

The environment

enriches the eating experience.

yeah, if there wouldn't be any fucking fish it would be great...

On Dec.09.2003 at 10:00 PM
surts’s comment is:

p.s. - skip the fish and go straight for the saki!

On Dec.09.2003 at 10:11 PM
surts’s comment is:

wired has an article today about the apple store experience

On Dec.10.2003 at 10:34 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Wow! That article is amazing, and the video of the line is just unbelievable. It really is the longest line that I've ever seen waiting for anything.

I mean, I love Apple, but damn!

Thanks for the link surts.

On Dec.10.2003 at 03:54 PM
.sara’s comment is:

Musak hasn't been elevator music for a long, long time. I worked at a Quiznos a few years back, it was set-up with a Muzak cable-box-type-thing and there were probably 200 stations for us to choose from; we stuck with Classic Rock, in case you were wondering. (:

I'm with you on the Christmas music, Marian. E-NOUGH already, bleh. (Although, I do like Old Navy's choice of Big Band, early Jazz, Swing-style Christmas songs. Always seemed comforting. [Yes, I worked, there, too.])

That's a great article, surt. Yowza, 28 hours.

On Dec.10.2003 at 05:01 PM
Sao_Bento’s comment is:

My first job was at a crafts store. My additional holiday duties (beginning in Oct.) included flipping the ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS CHRISTMAS tape in the cheesy stereo system up front. The same tape played non-stop through Christmas. I can't imagine a more effective form of torture.

On Dec.10.2003 at 06:18 PM
surts’s comment is:

I'm not sure what's stranger; watching an online vid of person walking for ten minutes taping others in line for an apple opening or trying to empathize with those waiting in line to be part of the “apple experience”? Both seem visceral and hypnotizing to me. Jason opened with an interesting insight and if I hadn't mentioned the wired link I'm sure someone else would have. Nice observations to start the conversation Jason.

On Dec.10.2003 at 09:03 PM
Jason A. Tselentis’s comment is:

Thanks, Surt. I feel guilty dedicating so much time to my visitation. Even now, I just think about all of the calculating that went into the Store's design. The replies above tell us how much work goes into engineering the ideal shopping experience.

My next experiment is taking my mother there when she visits. I'd like to witness her reaction. What would a 55-year old nurse from Brooklyn, NY think about the Apple Store? A person that places emphasis on price--the cheaper the better. A person who grew up with Ma & Pa stores in the Burroughs of Hell's Kitchen, where person to person meant more than company to person. Would it have the same impact on her compared to me? Would it have more of an impact because it is beyond her everyday shopping experience? Would it appear so distinguished that it seems elitist?

On Dec.11.2003 at 01:32 AM
Pace’s comment is:

I share Jason's pain. Everyone has that store. It's the closest adults have to the candy store. Everything so available and flashy and fun. I avoid going to these places for the same fear of being compelled to spend, and spend. Technology will always be modern, and in this case Apple has chosen to not leave it to their products alone but to incorporated it into the sheme of their entire identity.

On Dec.12.2003 at 10:49 AM
Chris’s comment is:

I love how all us designers love Jetta's and Apple Machines because they are so different from the masses. We pride ourselves on being different, yet when we go to conventions we're all the same. Next time around I'm going for a classic muscle car and build my own computer. :)

P.S. I tried renting "Hair" at my local Blockbuster. They didn't have it. They suck.

-Chris

On Dec.15.2003 at 01:38 PM
Nathan Shedroff’s comment is:

It's nice to see a discussion about the experience of something and I can ssee by the comments that people are already moving beyond the physical appearance of the Apple Stores but, to me, the real innovation isn't in the appearance but in the interaction, specifically the service.

What sets the Apple stores apart for me is...

• The genius of the Genuis bar. What an obvious innovation--have smart people available who can debug a problem--as smart as the people who are having the problem.

• Be able to drop-off and pick-up equipment for repairs. Integrate completely with online and phone orders, accounts, repair info, etc.

• Be an immediate exhange point for faulty equipment udner warranty (as long as it's in stock).

• Drop in and burn a DVD if you don't have a DVD-R already (I've done this several times).

• Sit down and get on the Internet for free via WiFi (I can't tell you how many times I'm traveling and can't find an adequate place to connect--at high speed even).

• Simulcast Apple events in San Francisco all over the country in realtime--and now, all over the world.

I fully expect to see other computer stores revamp to look like the Apple stores--there have been all sorts of terrible colored transluscent plastic pieces welded to Intel towers over the past 6 or more years--but none will be successfully if they don't ape the experience's interactions. Just look at the disasterous Gateway stores where you couldn't even buy a computer and take it home (which may still be the case for all I know). You were politely pointed to an in-store kiosk with the gateway website running on it where you could order a new computer to be sent to you. OY!

On Dec.17.2003 at 04:18 PM
Dilan’s comment is:

Im Dilan, am glad to get acquainted. A good page at you!

On Apr.20.2007 at 05:13 AM