I tried to buy a Windows laptop last weekend, but no one would take my money. I write about PCs as well as Macs, and I need something a little bit more fancy to run Windows 10, so I popped along to John Lewis. The laptop I wanted was on the display table with lots of those little sales tickets in the dispenser next to it. But when I took one to the sales assistant, I was told it was out of stock. It turns out those tickets don’t actually relate to what the store has for sale. They are just window dressing or something.
This would never happen in an Apple Store. Apple understands that
We need actual shops for laptops because it’s like buying clothes – you need to see if they match your shoes
you can’t make money unless you actually sell things to people. There are no pointless paper tickets; just staff in blue T-shirts who ask you what you would like and then bring it to you. We still need actual shops for laptops because it’s like buying clothes – you need to feel the craftsmanship and see if they match your shoes.
But here’s the thing: when my laptop is out of stock at John Lewis, I order it from hp.com instead and John Lewis loses a sale. If anything was ever out of stock at the Apple Store, I’d still get it online from Apple. This ought to mean that Apple could theoretically get away with worse customer service than anyone else, and yet it is the only company fighting to make shopping in person as easy as Amazon’s 1-Click.