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What an Apple Store Can Teach Dealerships about Selling Accessories

Apple stores are one of the most successful retail stores in the world. In 2009, when retail sales declined around 2%, Apple’s retail sales rose roughly 7%. According to The Mac Observer, one of their largest growing product segments is accessories...iPad owners tend to average spending $150+ on accessories. Yahoo Finance reports Apple’s in-store retail accessories sales increased 85% from 2011 to 2012. And, technology experts believe that if others want to compete they will have to partner with an accessories maker.

How can dealerships replicate Apple’s success selling accessories?

Here are three key components that retail experts believe are a part of Apple’s secret recipe for success and examples of how you can mimic them in your dealership as it relates to accessories.

1. Visual Appeal

Apple...The Genius Bar: This is the heart of the Apple Store. Visually the Genius Bar’s displays are informative. They usually have at least two 15” computer monitors that offer tips and product information. Much thought and planning goes into the pre-loaded photos and videos displayed on every unit in the store. Personnel stationed at the Genius Bar carry Apple products like iPads to assist customers.

Dealership...Showroom Mannequins (pre-load): The same visual interest Apple uses The Genius Bar to create can be done with your display vehicle. Magnetic arrows can be used to display pricing information on pre-loaded accessories. Choose vehicles and pre-load accessories based on what sells in your store. You can also have sales consultants carry iPads with automotive accessories sales tools installed on them, as well as service appointment applications etc. The key is to be visually appealing and informative.

2. Knowledge & Process

Apple...Informative Staff (The Genius):  Sales consultants at the Apple store are referred to as Geniuses. Rightly so because, they are well informed on the product they sell. The lead Genius at the Apple store is in charge of overseeing customer service and support. All Geniuses can offer answers about Apple products and services and serve as somewhat of a cheerleader for Apple.

Dealership...Accessories Champions:  Just as it is done in the Apple store, when you establish your accessories profit center it’s important to have a trained staff person to answer customer’s questions, introduce options to customers and carry the accessories program banner throughout the dealership. This person is your accessories champion. They are well informed on the services you provide on accessories and the accessories themselves. They ensure that the accessories sales process is carried out properly from selection to installation.

3. Training

Apple...Detail Oriented Training: Apple has one of the most thorough detail oriented sales training programs in the retail sector. Many regard Apple’s retail training and certification program as one its secrets to success. Before you can become a Genius in the Apple Store you have to be a GYO first. In addition to that Geniuses receive regular training on new products as Apple is constantly coming out with original technology for their customers.

Dealership...Accessory Sales Training: If the dealership is going to be successful in selling accessories on every deal every day they have to know how and what’s expected of them. This is no different than how you view F&I sales. Apple’s training program sets the stage for awesome sales performances by their stores. In the same way training sets the standard and expectation of an accessory program. Each person should know the process, how it works, and what role they play.

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Tags: Accessories, Best, Practices, Revenue, Sales, accessories, assessories, automotive, car, dealerships, More…how, in, management, of, sales, sell, tools


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Comment by Ashley Poag on July 13, 2012 at 9:47am

Thanks Ralph!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 13, 2012 at 8:48am

Since Apple Stores are the most cash generating retail business in the world, on a square fot by square foot basis, I think Ashley article is a great way to start the process of using what we can learn from Apple in being better retailers of automotive products and services.  Many thanks for a highly relevant and thought provoking article!

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