The iPad has been wildly successful for Apple. Since launching in April 2010, it essentially created the tablet market. And while there was some initial question of the viability of a 'third screen" product, Apple's sale of well over 100 million iPads have proved the market was indeed there.
So what drove some amazing success? Was there a secret to the iPad success?
Great user experience?
Yes, yes, and yes.
A successful product launch tends to come through a convergence of a lot of things done right and the iPad was no exception.
And yet, Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn't attribute iPad success to any of these reasons. Instead, he credits Apple's retail stores. That's right. In an age where some are calling for the death of retail as we know it, a technology company is attributing success to retail.
As Tim goes on to explain, Apple stores are more than just sales outlets, they are places where customers get to see, feel and experience the product. "One of the things that's not understood that well about the stores is that I don't think we would have been nearly as successful in the iPad as an example if it weren't for our stores." Before the iPad, a tablet was seen as a heavy object that no one needed. "I don't think it would have been nearly as successful without stores welcoming people at a rate of 10 million a week to try them out…it gives Apple an incredible competitive advantage."
The take away? Even in the omni-channel retail reality, stores still matter. In fact, they are as important as ever. The store should be a physical experience – geared towards giving shoppers a chance to physically experience products and service. And that great experience should lead to a sale. And leading with experience pays. Just look at Apple's sales per square foot, more than double its closest competitor.
It is time to rethink the role of the store and the experience it provides. The stakes are higher than ever – the internet empowers shopper with absolute information and buying power. And yet, retail done right creates a powerful experience that enables decision. Shopper Marketing is more important than ever. Stores are more important than ever. Connecting with shoppers is more important than ever. It is time to rethink retail, which is why Theory House exists. We brought together the sharpest minds to rethink, reimagine and reconnect.