The new store in Beijing brings the total number of Apple Stores in China to six. China is also getting their 7th store relatively soon, the upcoming first Apple store in Shenzhen. Media reports leaked out showing workers installing lights and tables for the new store. Apple is also planning more stores in other cities like Dalian, Chengdu and Guangzhou. The company’s goal is to eventually serve many customer in every major cities, however, we are concerned about whether this will help to meet the high demand of iPhone 5 in the country. A Chinese casual consumer just want to know whether they can easily purchase an iPhone 5 while they walk-in to the new store …
As we mentioned before in our stories covering other Apple stores opening in various other cities in China, Apple is making its big push. However they are still having significant difficulty finding store leader and appropriate location for Apple store use. We would like to say again that an Apple store in China has the highest traffic of any Apple stores in the world. This entails 4000+ people in and out per day. In smaller stores like Xidan Joy City and Sanlitun which located in Beijing, this can be quite difficult for both customers and employees alike. Apple actually wanted to open the first store at Dongcheng district, where it’s a bustling commercial area in the city, but in the end settled for Sanlitun instead. This was because the delay of the city construction during the 2008 Olympic. What they ended up with was a rather small store which is not up to Apple Store standards. The second store Xidan Joy City again is a very small one, so unlike say the Pudong store or Nanjing Road store in Shanghai, the size of the two Apple stores in Beijing are small and over-packed.
The Wangfujing Apple store is the first store which has over 400 employees worldwide. This is to help the service of the customers and improve service times in both Sanlitun and Xidan Joy City. The store is designed to allow long lines and it’s also very close to a major public security bureau station, what happened before during the product launch will not be repeated. Apple chose this location because of this, and the street outside the store is much harder to get crowded quickly.
Apple is splitting China into two markets section. One is northern China, with all of the 3 Beijing and 3 Shanghai stores encompassing this. The existing store leader in Shanghai Pudong who doubles as the current market leader for China will handle the northern China region. For the upcoming Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other Apple stores located in south China, there will be a new store leader in-charged of that. This will allows Apple for a much easier expansion in China market.
There are so many Chinese customer come through the doors everyday, it is difficult to get the level of service that is expected of say an Apple store in the U.S. Booking a genius bar appointment in Beijing’s Apple stores, you will be in a long waiting list. Are you a walk-in ? Expect to wait an hour or more. It’s always cramped and noisy at the genius bar. Apple’s benchmark NPS (Net Promoter Score) which measures how satisfied customers is noticeably down at all Chinese stores. The NPS of all the Beijing stores is below 40 percent, according to our insider source. Now for the worst part is, most of the Chinese consumer are expecting when there are more Apple stores open in their country, it suppose to be easier to get an iPhone, but the result is they are still restricted to buy one. The retail market in China is not working in this way.
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