Only one out of every 100 visitors entering an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) retail store actually makes a purchase, averaging out to about 3.95 million paying customers in 2013, said Apple's former VP of retail, Ron Johnson, during a speaker series last month at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.
In total, Apple stores generated $4 billion in profits on sales of $20.2 billion in fiscal 2013.
Johnson discussed being recruited by Steve Jobs in 2000 to create a retail operation for Apple, reported Forbes. Johnson immediately began designing Apple's new storefront, after which he was asked to start over at least once. But what he knew for sure was that stores needed to be built where shoppers already existed, so he looked to popular high-end shopping malls for potential store spaces.
Johnson wanted to attract people into stores to showcase the broadband Internet accessibility, which was rare at the time, as well as ongoing in-store activities. The idea was to get people to spend more time in the store, whether it was to attend classes, presentations, receive technical help or just hang out with fellow Apple enthusiasts--which is exactly what the other 99 non-purchasers now do when they walk into a store.
The average purchase of an Apple store visitor in 2013 amounted to $5,114, meaning a small group of loyal customers are contributing to a high per-purchase average. However, the number also includes non-visitor sales, such as online purchases and business orders.
Clearly, the community that Apple has built is important for both paying and non-paying customers, but Apple still wants more.
Apple recently initiated a retail reinvention, starting with the hiring of Angela Ahrendts, new senior VP of retail and online stores. The result is a three-part vision focused on China, mobile payments and the revamp of the Apple store experience.
-See this Forbes article
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