By Patrick Avenell
How well do Australian retailers know their customers? Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys all have hundreds of thousands of customers — including this reporter — but only one retailer has ever contacted me post-purchase to ask about my experiences in the store.
The internet is overflowing with tech blogs claiming that Apple makes the best products, but when it comes to retail, it is also setting a very high standard.
Case in point: Apple this morning sent me a survey asking me about my recent experience purchasing an iPad from its store on George Street, in Sydney, New South Wales.
In three decades of shopping at consumer electronics stores in Australia, it’s the first time I’ve ever been asked to provide feedback on my experiences in the store, with the staff and at the register. No doubt this information will be used to create more beautiful products for me to upgrade to — I’m aware that I’m just a guinea pig in the marketing cycle of a gazillion dollar company — but I’m still impressed by this e-caring (or is it iCaring?).
So what does Apple want to know about me? (AKA: What are its retail competitors not asking about me?) Here are some of the questions asked in the survey:
What is your age?
What did you purchase?
Did you require help from a salesperson to complete the purchase?
Were you aware of the personalised set up service offered at Apple Stores?
I answered that I declined the service, so it then asked:
Why did you decline the service?
If you had participated in this personalised setup, what service offerings would you have found valuable?
The next questions were a tad more revealing:
Between 1 and 10, how intimidating do you find Apple Retail Stores?
Between 1 and 10, how likely are you to require sales assistance when purchasing products?
Between 1 and 10, how enjoyable do you find shopping at the Apple Retail Stores?
Then the most interesting question of all, which I’ve screen grabbed from the survey for the purpose of exact replication:
The survey concluded with some more standard questions:
What Apple products do you own?
What is your gender?
What is your employment status?
What is your household income?
The reason I was most intrigued by the preference in learning style question is that it offers an insight into how much Apple wants to connect with consumers, and potential consumers, in a face-to-face environment.
Apple wants to know exactly how its consumers learn to use its products. By learning more about the product, consumers get more out if it. The more you get out of a product, the less likely you are to be disappointed with it. Simple stuff, but it’s a point missed by a lot of vendors and retailers.
No retailer can be all things to all people, but a common complaint I hear about Australian electronics retailers is that many are nothing to everybody.
Retailers reading this should ask themselves: Would answers to all these questions from my customers be valuable to my business?
If the answer is ‘yes’, get started on your own survey.
If the answer is ‘no’, why are you in the retail industry?