A pedestrian stops to look at an advertisement for the Apple iPad on January 18, 2011 in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Unless you spend entirely too much time on Reddit or worked for the Apple Store at some point, I'm willing to bet you had no idea that Apple positions all of the laptops in its stores at exactly 70 degrees. I didn't know until I read this piece in Forbes, and it says "the main reason notebook computers screens are slightly angled is to encourage customers to adjust the screen to their ideal viewing angles—in other words, to touch the computer!"
Apple wants you to come in and play around with their stuff.
How can entrepreneurs and manufacturers of products learn from this? Unless you also make computers, it might be hard to figure out.
"Depends on your audience/buyers -- retail consumers or professional." said Richard Janezic, VP of sales, marketing and business development at TBG Security in the greater Milwaukee area. "Interactive, multisensory experience can still apply to either audience… [but] most sales people don't like to offer touching and using the products/services unless they know [it] cold and can guide [them] if they do something unexpected or 'wrong.'"
I particularly loathe when sales people swoop in on me like a vulture when all I want to do is explore and see what they have in stock. Sometimes you walk into a store just to browse. If you want help, you'll ask for help. If a company thinks so little of its customers or assumes they don't even know what they want, then why do I want to give them my business?
The Forbes article calls out Best Buy, but for different reasons:
"Walk into a 'big box' retailer and you often find the opposite scenario. The devices are turned off and the screens are black. It should be no surprise that some of these retailers like Best Buy are in financial trouble and looking for ways to improve the customer experience."
I don't know about that. But I do think there is some truth to the fact you can't make a business succeed on price alone.
I guess ultimately it all boils down to this: Don't take your business so seriously when it comes to interacting with your customers. Invite them in to have fun. Don't swoop like a buzzard. No one likes being around desperation, and you can always smell it from the parking lot.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.