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Free Marketing at the Apple Store

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann used to “surreptitiously put Pinterest on every computer in his local Apple store.”

I still do this. There’s a rush of excitement in loading up your website on the store’s machines. You could be discovered!

With nearly 100 million visitors a quarter, using Apple store computers to display your work is like stealing free ad space. Don’t tell me you haven’t done this before.

The Apple store is a free museum, much like the public walls are Banksy’s canvas. How else is anyone going to find out about you if you don’t dare to show your work?

Blend in. Show the people what you got. But don’t just do it because you can. Believe your work is actually worth seeing.

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Retail Therapy: Inside the Apple Store: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble.

When formulating the philosophy behind Apple Retail, brainstorming executives tried to recall their most exemplary customer service experience, which turned out to be hospitality at the Ritz Carlton.

Stealing one from the hotel business. Smart.

Free workshops for newer products like the iPad, free classes on photography and music programs, and inexpensive Personal Training sessions are known in business as “loss leaders.” They don’t make money, but they add perceived value to the things that do. Just as important, they get people into the store, where Apple makes more revenue per square foot than Tiffany’s or any Mercedes dealership—or any other major retailer in the world.

Stealing one from the schools. Brilliant.

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The Apple Store Pyschology

The Apple Store is more than a store.  It’s a study in psychological addiction.

There are five things Apple does to enhance the in-store experience:  

  1. Touch and Play – You can go into any Apple store and play with the machines as if you already own them.  The products are tethered to an extendable wire so you can  easily pick them up and move them around.  Playing with Apple products is like test driving a car.  The tangible experience imprints the desire to own the product.    
  2. Sexiness – Apple makes the sleekest product, hands down.  I got into a Disqus discussion yesterday with a PC diehard.  Even he admitted he wanted to “caress” Apple product.      
  3. Free Internet – Who doesn’t like free Internet?  Every time I hit up the Apple Store I browse the web.  I’ll hit up some basic sites like ESPN or even my blog, basically everything that I can do just by pulling out my own iPhone.  The combination of Apple and free wifi just makes you feel good. 
  4. Easy checkout – Forget the buzz around Square and Starbucks.  Apple built and implemented in-store the technology that removes the friction of the queue.  The irony of course is that the Apple store is so sticky that even when someone checks out, they still walk around to play with other stuff.  See #1.  
  5. Free Education – You don’t need to pay for Apple’s in-store tutorials.  All you need to do is sign up online and show up.  Everyone enjoys learning, especially when it feels like you’re learning from MIT nerds.  Again, this is all free.    

Apple built all the pieces to the perfect store.  The Apple Store is a futuristic museum of commercial and usable art.  

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One rule: ask for permission before touching anyone’s iPhone.

Apple’s retail army