Remember Gateway computers? Remember when Gateway decided to open up retail stores to show off their computers, digital cameras, plasma TVs and MP3 players?
They failed, and they failed spectacularly and quickly. Soon after Gateway stores crashed and burned, Apple computer decided to open up their own brand of retail stores, and the computer industry was skeptical of their chances of success, to put it mildly.
Apple succeeded where Gateway did not. They’re still going strong, and the presence of an Apple store may be the reason why some malls fail and some don’t.
Why? Well, I can’t put it better than this:
Many retail experts and analysts failed to predict the massive success of the Apple Store when it first opened in 2001 because they made the mistake of confusing numbers with feelings. Numbers don’t have feelings; people do. And people drive a great customer experience.
When you walked into a Gateway Store, you were shown a bunch of Gateway computers and gadgets, but had to figure out for yourself what purpose those gadgets were for. The purpose of a Gateway store wasn’t to sell a lifestyle based around Gateway products, it was to sell Gateway products and you had to figure out a reason why you’d use one. Their stores was product-centered, and they died quickly, along with Gateway itself.
Compare this to Apple Stores. When they first launched, they had five sections: Home, Office, Music, Movies and a “Genius Bar” where you got tech support for your Mac. In each area, there was a selection of Apple computers and other 3rd party devices which fit in with each section (this is before Apple made MP3 players, phones, set-top boxes, watches, etc.). They had a kid’s area which had a few iMacs with kids games on them. Apple Stores weren’t focused on selling product, they were selling a digital lifestyle based around the Mac.
And now they’re the #1 company in the world.
How many gun companies are selling product, and how many are selling lifestyle? Who is the Apple of guns, and who will be Gateway? Gun Culture 2.0 is, well, a CULTURE, and cultures have lifestyles.