Apple Store shifts focus to dollars, not customers

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Get ready to be upsold next time you walk into an Apple Store.

Apple, the company that always pledges to be different and wants to be held to a higher standard than everyone else, is apparently looking to shift its retail policy into one that is more in line with the rest of the industry.

According to reports that have circulated all over the Web, employees are now being treated as a series of numbers - their performance will be looked at based on how many accessories they sell when customers buy a new product. If customer A goes into an Apple Store and buys an iPhone 4S, and customer B goes into an Apple Store and buys an iPhone 4S and an iPhone 4S case, the employee who checked out customer B will now be recognized in a more favorable light.

This policy of using upsells as the key performance metric for retail employees is the industry norm. With GameStop, that also includes pre-orders and with appliance stores, that includes extended warranty agreements. Those products are where retailers make their most money.

Apple wanted to be different, though, and tried to foster an environment where employees and customers could interact without the thought that employees simply wanted to boost their numbers for the month. Those days are gone.

Apple's head of retail recently admitted the company "screwed up," because he plugged in some random formula into a computer at corporate and it spit out a list of people who should be fired, so he sent that through the pipeline.

The seemingly random massive layoff of workers sent shockwaves through the blogosphere, leading Apple to play immediate damage control. Incidentally, the head of retail still has his job.