A new Apple store opened at the King of Prussia mall this weekend. The 10,000 square foot electronics emporium replaces the postage size, ten-year old store a few storefronts down the Neiman Marcus mall wing. It’s a fitting upgrade to one of the elite consumer electronics and lifestyle retailers of the decade when they re-upped their lease in the premiere mall on the east coast.
The store draws customers in with bright white rear illuminated product wall graphics that continue two-thirds of the way into the store. A ceiling of metal and illuminated panels are meticulously knitted into a linear pattern that runs to the back wall which sports three large LCD screens with the Genius Bar logo splashed across a blue screen. The ceiling integrates the traditional speakers, sprinklers and mechanical diffusers in linear slots that are as well crafted as the ports on the side of a Mac Book Pro. The walls are framed with silver metallic panels that highlight maple benches displaying the current iPad’s, iPhone’s and Mac product lines. The overall look and feel of the store is very machine like, but the maple benches act as a natural, warm counter point where enthusiastic customers experience the magic of Apples unique product lines. As simple and elegant as this concept is, Microsoft totally missed or misunderstood this feature in their store and used grey stone table tops, in an otherwise direct copy of the Apple store. For additional review of the Microsoft store see my post from last month here.
The Bottom Line: The store is a refinement of the stores seen throughout the county and not a reinvention of the prototype. And that is exactly what Apple should be doing, why spend time and money reinventing something that is working extremely well. Instead Apple is concentrating on delivering superior products. It’s a testament that the store was so well designed over ten years ago, and that it represented the brand so well that ten years later in an industry where products become obsolete in eighteen months, that Apple only needs to refine and refresh its store and not reinvent it. For an additional post, commentary and photos of Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue link here.