Bit of a puff piece on the Apple Blog about the Apple Retail Store Success. It brings up some excellent points, as someone who has been in an Apple Store and a Future Shop in the last 2 weeks or so, let me say that talking to the salespeople in the Future Shop/London Drugs/Best Buys of the world could be used as torture for enemy combatants.
"Tell us your invasion plans." "Never!" "Tell us now or we'll make you talk to a Best Buy salesman about wireless routers." "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!"
That said it's not all wine and roses in the Apple Store as they suggest, their main failing point (IMHO) is the people, not the knowledge or anything like that, but availability. I was in wondering why my laptop DVD drive was simply spitting out disks (duh, turned out it was busted) and had to beg and pull the "I drove in from way out in the Valley to Vancouver and I hardly ever make it out here!" and push out a couple of single, tiny tears to get slotted in to see someone at the "genius bar" when someone's scheduled 15 minute time was late. Also having to go through an orange shirted "concierge" person who (in this case) seemed completely elitist and condescending... "we'll have to see sir, our geniuses are very busy".
That said they did get me in, and did seem to take personal interest in making sure I did get helped, and the concierge did make sure I got things all set up when I was heading out the door.
Anyway, it's an interesting look at how Apple has made the retail experience a bit more appealing to the consumer.