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Print 37 comment(s) - last by TakinYourPoint.. on Aug 29 at 3:17 PM

Apple's new retail chief looks to trim the fat

Odd things have been happening at Apple retail stores over the last few weeks. Earlier this month, reports started surfacing that a number of retail workers at Apple store locations had been laid off. Apple responded to those reports by saying that it had "messed up" in its retail hiring formula but hadn't laid anyone off. 
 
"Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed," said Kristin Huguet, Apple spokeswoman, at the time. "Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve."
 
However, reports are coming in that Apple stores are seeing their budgets cut, and a bigger emphasis is being placed on revenue. With a market cap of well over $600B and record profits quarter after quarter, it seems a bit odd to be placing such a heavy focus on revenue and cutting the budget of its retail outlets which have historically been very customer friendly. ifoAppleStore.com reports that employees still haven't received an official explanation of changes made in staffing levels, and that signs continue that Apple is focusing on revenues and profit instead of customer satisfaction.
 
According to sources cited by ifoAppleStore.com, employee performance standards have been modified to place an emphasis on sales functions. Reports also indicate that more small products will be stocked at Apple retail stores and several budget categories for the retail outlets have been cut, including the budget for store maintenance.
 
Sources say that workers are allegedly being evaluated based on the number of contracts sales for iPhones they're able to generate and a number of "essentials per hero product" sold with each product such as cases, and accessories. The sources also indicate that the number of training areas in stores is being reduced to accommodate the extra small products and accessories.

Sources: IFO Apple Store, Apple Insider



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I'm sorry
By FITCamaro on 8/28/2012 10:13:47 AM , Rating: 4
Apple ever cared about anything else? As well as any other company? That's their job. Provide products/services their customers want at a price they'll pay and customer support they'll tolerate.

Apple customers just are far more gullible than others and will pay a premium for shinier things than others have.




RE: I'm sorry
By retrospooty on 8/28/2012 10:48:07 AM , Rating: 1
Wait. They are shiny? Now I want one. ;)


RE: I'm sorry
By mydogfarted on 8/28/2012 10:53:49 AM , Rating: 5
Welcome to post-Steve Jobs Apple. Love him or hate him, Steve made the company an innovation and profit monster. Current management has no idea what to do going forward, so they fall back to traditional corporate thinking - coast on their following, cut corners where they can, and make as much money as they can before the bottom drops out. Sure, Apple products are over-priced and locked into their proprietary systems, but Jobs knew how to make people want them.


RE: I'm sorry
By paydirt on 8/28/2012 11:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
Apple does need to keep an eye on their costs and shouldn't wait for a recession to cut costs.

Apple store employees should be BOTH helpful and a good salesperson. They have to walk a fine line though.


RE: I'm sorry
By bobcpg on 8/28/2012 1:31:51 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Welcome to post-Steve Jobs Apple. Love him or hate him, Steve made the company an innovation and profit monster. Current management has no idea what to do going forward, so they fall back to traditional corporate thinking - coast on their following, cut corners where they can, and make as much money as they can before the bottom drops out. Sure, Apple products are over-priced and locked into their proprietary systems, but Jobs knew how to make people want them.


+6 +7 +8...

This is so true. You couldn't have said it better! I actually have nothing else to add because your post was perfect.


RE: I'm sorry
By Ammohunt on 8/28/2012 2:03:39 PM , Rating: 2
So we are back the years of the beige macs....oh lord!


RE: I'm sorry
By BSMonitor on 8/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: I'm sorry
By hiscross on 8/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: I'm sorry
By 91TTZ on 8/28/2012 12:16:11 PM , Rating: 4
I think there is a lot of confusion about PCs and mobile devices.

The PC isn't going anywhere. It's just that the whole mobile scene is relatively new so all the hype is surrounding that market. Of course new markets grow faster than established markets. That doesn't mean that the established markets are going away, it just means that the new ones will grow faster until they reach a point of equilibrium.

I remember just a few years ago all the hype was surrounding netbooks and nettops. People hyped up the Atom CPU, saying how netbooks were going to take over laptops. A few years later and we see a totally different picture. Netbooks ran their course, became mature, and gathered the market share that they were going to take. Both netbooks and laptops are still around, and their respective market shares indicate customer demand for them.

The entire tablet craze will eventually come to an end and the hype will go away. Once the hype clears you're left with a mature product that's going to do what it's going to do. The tablet won't go away, it's here to stay. It'll have a place in your home just like your PC and smartphone.


RE: I'm sorry
By Apone on 8/28/2012 12:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
@ BSMonitor

quote:
Or if the Mac's performance since bringing Intel onboard was somehow lacking


The Mac's performance was lacking; This is why Apple switched to Intel chips....you know, the same CPU's used in Windows PC's...

quote:
To criticize people for buying sleek, stylish products over mass quantity, cheaply made as possible revenue churners is pretty lame.


So you're telling me that Mac owners did their due diligence before shelling out double/triple the cash for a Mac? And didn't just jump on board the Apple bandwagon because their friends are doing it and to be socially accepted?

quote:
You can dislike Apple for its policies and practices, but don't blame the customers who enjoy simple, straightforward computing experiences... In a shiny box, as you say.


Explain to me exactly what is so mind-numbingly difficult about Windows 7.

@ hiscross

quote:
The post-pc whiners are having a hard time getting over the fact that their dull PC is fading into the sunset.


Thank you for clarifying; I had no idea the reasoning behind buying a Mac computer was because it came down to being a beauty contest and not important factors like upgradeability, cost, flexible hardware configuration, etc.


RE: I'm sorry
By FITCamaro on 8/28/2012 12:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
This post does the rest of my explaining.

And there is no real difference in build quality between Apple's phones and tablets and any of the other top tier manufacturer's really.

As far as their laptops, yes the build quality is high. Other's can build the same thing, just most Window's users aren't willing to shell out the premium for an all aluminum case just so it looks pretty. And while Apple might make it look good, it certainly leaves something to be desired when it comes to actually cooling their laptops. Using the user as a heatsink is hardly good design


RE: I'm sorry
By FITCamaro on 8/28/2012 12:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
I've had this screen name longer than you've been on here. And no longer even own a Camaro. But can't change it and wouldn't if I could. Then all my "fans" wouldn't know who I am.


RE: I'm sorry
By Argon18 on 8/28/2012 11:53:27 AM , Rating: 3
That's just not true. I suspect you've never been into an Apple store. Baseless slandering if all you're doing, and its shameful and dishonest.

I've dropped out of the Apple ecosystem, I no longer use any of their products. But when I did, the in-store experience was generally phenomenal. The workers really bend over backwards to help you, which is a very rare quality indeed, especially these days.

I bought a Macbook Pro used, off of craigslist, and the power cord was fraying on the end of it. I brought it in to the store, and they replaced it for me, for FREE. It's a $90 power supply they gave me for free. They didn't owe me anything, I bought it used from craigslist.

I bought my mother an iPad for Christmas a few years ago. A few months AFTER the warranty expired, it started acting flaky. She brought it into the store and they gave her a BRAND NEW iPad2, right there on the spot. Free replacement, free upgrade, and all after the warranty had already expired.

I'm a Linux guy now, no more Apple for me, but the in-store experiences I've had there were refreshing, certainly better than any other electronics retailer in the US.


RE: I'm sorry
By FITCamaro on 8/28/2012 12:53:22 PM , Rating: 1
Where did I say their in-store experience was poor?

I was commenting on the fact that the article says they're cutting back staff that undoubtedly will affect their customer service.


RE: I'm sorry
By ritualm on 8/28/2012 3:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
Any chances Apple Retail Stores will head down the same well-trodden path as Best Buy?

Ya know, the company that finally owned up to the fact that pushing revenue over customer service simply does not work in the retail game.


RE: I'm sorry
By FITCamaro on 8/28/2012 3:56:09 PM , Rating: 1
Pretty much all retail stores have terrible customer service now driven by our high minimum wage and the state of the economy.


RE: I'm sorry
By jeff834 on 8/29/2012 7:15:36 AM , Rating: 2
You must have been living in a cave before 2008. If the poor customer service in retail stores is driven by the high minimum wage and the state of the economy, how do you explain the poor customer service that existed when the minimum wage was lower and retail sales were at record highs?

The reason you have poor customer service in retail is not because businesses are paying their employees too much, it's because they aren't paying them enough. Salespeople used to work on commission years ago. Sure you had to be a little more wary of BS artists, but they actually gave a crap whether or not you bought something and they wanted you to be happy so you would come back to them or recommend them to friends.

Best Buy was a big part of changing that model, because they realized they could hire barely literate teenagers at nearly minimum wage and ride them about numbers and make a bigger profit. Back in the day, when stores with commissioned salespeople still existed, you would have no trouble getting help with something. Go into a Best Buy and try to get help, you practically have to set up a bear trap and hope you catch an unsuspecting employee.

I'm not a fan of Apple really, but I guarantee the people working in their stores are knowledgeable about the products and make more than minimum wage. Although I would guess it's probably still not a livable wage, let alone one you could plan retirement on.


RE: I'm sorry
By semiconshawn on 8/28/2012 5:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apple customers just are far more gullible than others and will pay a premium for shinier things than others have.


Exactly. I mean seriously a Samsung S3 is what like $199-$299 on contract and an iPhone is like $199-$299 on contract.


RE: I'm sorry
By TakinYourPoints on 8/28/2012 5:26:00 PM , Rating: 1
Facts have no place in a circlejerk


"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer














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