How do Apple stores balance productivity and service?

Any observer of The Apple Store has noted the phenomenon discussed by RetailWire panelists: The highly productive nature of these stores is beginning to compromise the customer experience. Here’s my point of view:

The Apple Stores in this market (Milwaukee) are hardly the monumental size of flagship locations such as Grand Central Station, the Back Bay (Boston) or others. Yet they have the same issues with overcrowding at almost any time you walk into the stores. Apple neeeds to look hard at added locations (or larger prototypes) in several markets as long as the real estate fits the brand profile. Otherwise the push for productivity is going to backfire, and the “easy experience” part of the Apple mantra is going to be lost in the crowds.

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