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%)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

    £6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee