Earlier this month, Apple opened a new store inside New York City’s Grand Central Station. This is not Apple’s only store in Manhattan and does not make a dramatic architectural statement like its Cube on Fifth Avenue. Much of its retail model has been seen before in other Apple stores. Yet when I visited it just before it opened it felt radically different than any other retail environment – even different from other Apple stores – and serves as an object lesson for how to sell and support digital products at retail in an increasingly online world. Even if you dislike Apple’s products (or just some of its more enthusiastic fans), if you’re in Manhattan, Apple’s store is worth a visit. Apple claims that it sells more per square foot than any other major retailer in the world, and while some of that is due to products that sell well on their own, Apple’s retail store processes, compensation structure, and architecture all play roles worth investigating.
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