Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Stores That Sell Without Selling

20111019_180013 aApple is renowned for their Apple Store concept. The main idea for the store is to enable potential customers to experience and try out their products. In fact, one could say that the Apple Stores are selling without even having to make a direct sale. Of course, these stores are bringing in a lot of revenue on their own, but they are likely a big catalyst for even more sales through other channels.

This idea seems to have caught on with many other brands too. For example, you’ve probably heard of Sony Centres, Sennheiser Concept Stores, and Samsung Experience Stores, among many other brands. Many of these stores probably don’t make it sales as their top KPI. They are there primarily to evangelise their products.

I like this idea a lot. As a customer in these stores, one feels very much at ease browsing the products without getting the sense of pressure from any sales staff to buy something. You know how it is like in many regular stores where, even if the sales staff are very mindful not to pressure shoppers, the shoppers sometimes give themselves the pressure knowing that ultimately the sales staff need to sell.


Shoppers sometimes just need some time and some room to try things out on their own. As products get more complex and consumers more sophisticated, very often the decision to buy depends a lot on how it feels to use the product.

As we start to do more of our shopping online, the way companies sell their products will likely have to change. The brick and mortar shops don’t need to make selling their primary KPI. These shops should, instead, just let customers convince themselves to buy their products. Yes, that’s right, let the customers do their own selling.

Incidentally, while I tried to downplay the significance of direct in-store sales, the Apple Store does achieve record breaking sales. In 2012, Apple Stores worldwide average US$6,050 sales per square foot, almost double that of jeweller Tiffany & Co. Pretty impressive considering that Apple Stores don’t seem to try all that hard at making direct sales.

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