If we look at how Apple sells its products, on the surface it may not make sense how they thrive so well.
They sell electronics in a very competitive market but do not discount them at all!
Like most retailers, Apple does not allow us to walk into their store and negotiate on the price. However, unlike its competitors, Apple doesn't get involved in holiday sales or closeouts. It is only recently that retailers like BestBuy, Wal-mart, Target, etc. have been offering "discounts" in the form of gift cards with the purchase of an Apple product.
Customers are encouraged to come into their store to just look around and experience the products firsthand!
No other retail store has historically invited customers to come into their store without providing an atmosphere of "buy now". There are no "sale", "checkout here", or "clearance" signs anywhere. Customers of all ages are almost required to get hands-on with the products. Apple staff seem to simply be available for questions, not to sell us something.
The store design is set up to allow customers to freely decide how they want to move around the store.
The traditional retail layout is designed to funnel customers through the store and back through the front to checkout. (Have you ever noticed that when you walk into a store for the first time, you naturally head to the right before moving to the rear and finally circling back around to the front?) Apple, on the other hand, has an open design with no aisles and the actual checkout is on the "sales floor" with an employee rather than going to a counter.
so let's take a look at how they set the stage for writing their own rules:
No discounts - The only time that a consumer will make a purchase is when the value exceeds the price. Apple has done a great job of providing us with products that we happily purchase at full retail.
Experience the product - Apple has always had a laid back approach to selling. Rather than being sold when we go into the store to experience the product, we actually seek out one of the staff to allow us to buy an item and become part of the culture. This allows us to leave the store without any of the buyer's remorse that we sometimes experience a day or two later with other purchases.
Store design - The Apple store positively triggers many of our senses by providing a visually appealing layout that is bright and inviting while allowing us to feel the product in an atmosphere that is not audibly overwhelming. Some have even mentioned that the store has a distinct smell to it! All of these subtleties make for a pleasurable experience before, during, and well after the purchase.
Apple teaches us a lot about how stepping outside the box can marry the customer experience with profitability! What can your business do differently to provide your customers with an experience that causes them to flock to you in droves while paying you a respectable profit?