Rotten Apple? British public loses faith with tech giant's retail arm


Personal Finance Editor

Have we fallen out of love with Apple? Shoppers have certainly lost faith with the technology giant’s high street stores. They have slumped from being our favourite shop to falling out of the top 10, according to the latest annual high street survey from consumer group Which?

In a double whammy of disaster for the firm, Google has today overtaken Apple as the World's Most Valuable Brand, according to BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands.

After three years at the top, Apple slipped to number two on the back of a 20 per cent decline in brand value, to $148 billion. Apple’s problem is the growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers, reflected by a lack of dramatic new product launches since the iconic iPad appeared back in 2010.

But among UK shoppers, the company’s stores have fallen from favour after customers complained about the difficulty of booking an appointment with its Genius Bar service, which helps consumers with technical problems.

There’s a general feeling that there’s no point in offering the service if it is seemingly unavailable. Anecdotally, some Apple users report annoyance at staff who are perceived to be self-regarding hipsters happy to have the chance to patronise uninformed punters.

Comment: How many hipster do you need for an iPhone upgrade?

The company has already taken steps to address its retail challenge by recruiting the woman who turned around the fortune of Burberry. Angela Ahrendts rescued the brand and turned it into a global luxury favourite.

She began her new job this month and her major task is a revamp of the Apple Store sales experience at the firm’s 424 shops in 16 countries.

Early reports suggest she wants to redesign the total experience, right from the point in which a customer finds a product, to how they discuss it with employees, even to how they pay for it.

And that won’t be before time, if Which?’s survey of 12,500 consumers is to be believed.

Apple has become a victim of its own success. It effectively broke the retail mould a decade ago when it opened its flagship Regents Street store in London. Since then fans have been happy to be seen queueing around the block for new products or even updates of old ones.

But that cultish love affair is ending as customer service issues take precedence over the attractiveness of the company’s hardware.

Which? editor Richard Headland, said: “We've seen time and again that people won’t settle for bad customer service. Stores giving people the care and attention they want have happy customers who return."

That’s a lesson that Apple seemingly needs to learn all over again. And the firm it can take lessons from in the UK is cosmetics chain Lush, which was voted favourite shop in the Which? survey. Customers praised the "personal" aspect of its attentive customer service and staff were described as "friendly" and "helpful".

No mention, you notice, of "sneering hipsters".

Meanwhile spare a thought for poor old WH Smith. It came last in the survey for the second year in a row, with shoppers complaining of “crowded stores with limited stock”. When Henry Walton Smith started the business in Little Grosvenor Street in London in 1792 he couldn’t have envisaged the heights the chain climbed, and the depths to which it then fell.

Around the corner in Regent Street there’re lessons to be learned that that, too.

Top 20 shops: How they rated

1 Lush (83%)

2 Disney Store (82%)

3 Richer Sounds (81%)

4 John Lewis (80%)

5 Waterstones (80%)

6= Clarks (79%)

6= JoJo Maman Bébé (79%)

6= Lakeland (79%)

6= Screwfix (79%)

10 White Stuff (78%)

11= Bonmarché (77%)

11= The Perfume Shop (77%)

13 Apple (76%)

14= Independent electricals (75%)

14= Jones Bootmaker  (75%)

14= Maplin (75%)

14= Sony Centre (75%)

18 Dunelm Mill (74%)

19 Wilkinson (74%)

20= Early Learning Centre (73%)

20= The Body Shop (73%)

Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    IT Project Manager

    Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London