GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Learning a lesson from an Apple Store


The new Apple Store at the Maine Mall.

by Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

The world has changed. “Amazon is taking over and killing retail stores.” Isn’t this what we hear and read about just about every day? When people want to buy something from a toothbrush, to a TV, to a book, they simply go to and buy it. Amazon, with its enormous warehouses all over the country can provide just about anything, at anytime, and send it overnight anywhere! How can you beat that? How can a small business even try to compete against that kind of availability and capability? Why don’t we just all give up and go home, some people think.

But wait, I’m here to tell you that you can compete with Amazon and the secret way to do it will surprise you. All you have to do is learn from another giant competitor, APPLE. Have you been in an APPLE store lately? Have you seen the way those folks handle customer service? Do you realize that APPLE stores are the most successful retail stores in the world? Did you know that APPLE stores make more in dollars per square foot than any other retail store in the world?

Every time I have been to the APPLE store at the Maine Mall, it’s been mobbed. In fact, the last time my wife and I went they had moved to a store space twice as large to accommodate all of their customers. When was the last time you saw a retail store do that?

Every customer was engaged with an APPLE “expert” asking questions, being instructed on how to get the best use of their products, advised on what the best APPLE model product they should buy to meet their needs. It was amazing and stunning to watch in an age deemed by the “experts” as the death of retail sales.

As a comparison, after we were done at the APPLE store, having spent $200 we did not plan on spending, we had to walk down the Mall hall to the other store that sells electronics among many other things including the office sized fridge we wanted to look at. And that store was virtually empty. We spent all the time we needed looking at the selection of models of the type of small fridge we were looking for. We spent a full 15 minutes in that store, and no one came up to ask if we needed any help. And we could see a number of blue-shirted associates in clusters talking and joking to one another, but none of them showing any interest in coming over to see what we wanted. None of them. And this is one of those chains that is consistently complaining that Amazon is driving them out of business. No, they I think they are driving themselves out of business.

Rather than driving my point home, dear reader, I’ll let you connect the dots. Picture my description on the APPLE store and then my description of that other store… and you’ll choose the right example on which to model on how to grow your own business.

Dan Beaulieu has owned his own business consulting firm since 1995, during that time he has helped hundreds of companies all over the world with their sales growth challenges and issues. Originally from Maine he returned a few years ago and is ready and willing to help his fellow Mainers start and grow their business. He can be reached at 07-649-0879 or at


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