I was recently in an Apple store and experienced something I had never experienced before. Apple is renowned for its exceptional customer service so it has always been one of my favourite places to shop. Their sales staff are friendly and most importantly, knowledgeable. Did you know they also trust their customers more than any other retailer I have encountered before?
On my recent visit, the sales person I was speaking with asked me if I wanted to pay for my purchase with her or through the Apple store app. I was curious about how the app worked so I decided to try it out. The sales person stayed with me just in case I had any questions but the app was so easy to use that all we ended up doing was chatting about the latest iPhone.
After I had paid for my purchase, she told me my receipt would be emailed to me and asked if I needed anything else. I didn’t so she thanked me for my visit and wished me a nice day. I looked up at her expecting her to give me something, a sticker or something that marked my purchase as paid. Or perhaps she would tell me to show my app to some security guard on my way out. However, she said nothing so I asked her how they knew if someone had actually paid for their purchase. She smiled back at me and simply said, “We trust our customers.”
Say what!?! They trust their customers? She saw the look on my face and started laughing. We ended up talking about it for a few minutes and what it basically boils down to is that anyone can come into an Apple store, pick up any item that is available for self-purchase, use the app to pay and walk out – all without speaking to a sales person. So in effect, if someone wanted to walk in and pretend to buy something, they could easily walk out without actually paying for their choices. There’s no security guard, nothing. I suppose the sales people could randomly ask people to show their receipts but this certainly wasn’t a practice I saw while I was there. Apple has instead chosen to trust their customers to do the right thing.
I love it! I seriously love it! In today’s day and age it seems like a lot of people are inherently suspicious, especially retailers because of the millions of dollars they lose each year to shoplifting. To hear of a multi-billion dollar company such as Apple taking this novel approach is such a breath of fresh air. I haven’t looked into the stats but my instinct tells me that when you have a system where you are allowed to exercise your free will and choose what you know is right, instead of having it enforced, most people will choose to do the right thing. Maybe my eternal optimism is shining through here but I really believe that people are, for the most part, good. I’m not big on shoplifting, all the drama of being arrested etc. tends to steer me in the direction of simply paying for what I want the old fashioned way, but if I was a shoplifter, I think I’d think twice before stealing from Apple. I suppose you could say it would be like stealing candy from a baby – just wouldn’t be that satisfying
I wonder if Apple has done research on this (my guess is yes) and that’s why they opted for this trust based retail experience. I was already a big fan of Apple before but I have to say that now my loyalty is even further reinforced. I feel good about shopping at their stores and will continue to support them with my retail dollars.
Now I know there are going to be some haters out there who will say something along the lines of “Apple makes tones of money by overcharging for their products so they can afford to risk some products being stolen.” Sure, I suppose that might be the case. And yes, they do make billions of dollars in profits each year but isn’t that what they are supposed to do? They are, after all, a business in a capitalistic society so yeah, I’m thinking making money is kinda important for them. It doesn’t change the fact they are still choosing a retail practice that isn’t common in the industry. Some might say they are as innovative in their retail shopping experience as they are in the products they create. Whatever the case, I liked what I saw and just had to share it with you guys.
Trust, what a novel concept!