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%)

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
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: Office Administrator

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

    Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

    Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

    £23500 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Essex based I.T solution provid...

    Recruitment Genius: Internal Sales Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: New exciting opportunity has ri...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders