It’s all over the media… Apple has lost almost $450bn from its market value since its peak in 2018, and has issued a profit warning…. poor Apple… with sales down a measly $7bn based on the Q4 forecast made in 2018.
Aside from the sheer vastness of the numbers, there are some fundamental lessons even the smallest of retailers, brands and product creators can learn from this potential fall of the Apple from the success tree.
How can a brand giant such as Apple make mistakes I hear you ask? (we only need to look closer to home at M&S to know that even the oldest, wisest or most successful businesses can lose their way at some point or other)…
Let’s address where the problems lie…
Competitors – there was once a time when Apple was THE market leader, THE first to invent, THE innovator in technology… not just laptops, but tablets and phones. Some may say they still are. But the competition are catching up… Samsung, Sony, LG, Google and growing brands in Asia such as Oppo, Huawei and Xiaomi.
Each of them are working on a range of niche features for their products… whether that be an amazing camera, unlimited storage, or simply being different in terms of a price point under £500.
Apple have innovated but in the main, have focused on ONE thing with each new model… improved camera – great, but that’s it… why not improve and innovate on the whole model, large size screen – brilliant, but is that all you can do? Of course, there are small tweaks and improvements here and there, but since the launch of the iPhone, Apple haven’t totally reinvented it and worked on improving each and every feature of the phone with each upgrade. Meanwhile other manufacturers are doing exactly that.
The lesson here is to keep a very close eye on your competition and always try to be ahead of them.
Conversion – you’re an android or an apple person. Really? This is so last year. Yes it was one or the other and you NEVER faltered across to the opposition, it was too technical, your apps wouldn’t work, you don’t want to have to learn how to work a completely new model…. so different now, it’s easy, the guy in the shop will sort it for us, there’s a thousand YouTube tutorials. So the market is wide open. Customers are deciding to “quit” Apple and move over to Android, why? Because they can.
The lesson here is not to rely on loyalty. Customers are fickle, they will move. Looking after our most important asset, our customers is key. Never assume they will stick with you for life.
Manufacturing flaws – this HAS to be the battery life of its phones and ipads. Why the heck can’t they improve the battery? Why could a Nokia 5110 mobile phone from 1995 hold its battery for 3 weeks, but an Apple phone manufactured in 2019 drops to 40% battery life after 4 hours of surfing Facebook and checking a few emails? We expect more. And we know that Apple knows we get extremely naffed off by poor battery life, and this is one of the fundamental reasons why we consider an upgrade every 18-24 months. So Apple, address the biggest bug bear from your consumers, tackle it head on and improve it.
One over on the consumer – this relates to the above point. The consumer is wise… we know that Apple won’t improve the battery, we know Apple love a glass screen that is sooo prone to cracking and we know that Apple loves to take our money for new batteries and replacement screens…. or insurance.
Would we buy a sofa, tv or a bed that had only one redeeming feature? That was upgraded ever so slightly each year, that was a money suck if it developed a fault …. no. We love our brands, and we love what they stand for… easy to use technology, sleek design and modern… but it’s time for Apple to stop resting on their laurels, listen to their customers and create product and features that they want, at a price that is good value for each and every one of their products.
The lesson here is to constantly and continuously evolve and improve. Listen to our customer and give them what they want. Not what we want.
As a retailer, it can be easy to get sucked into the doom and gloom of depressing retail news… at this time of year, there are articles in the newspapers and on TV every day. But learn from these news stories, take away lessons from the mistakes others have made. Think about why you as a customer are no longer buying from that store or website? What is turning you and your friends away. And go and trade your business without making those same mistakes.
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