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What Can The iPhone Teach Retailers?

A LOT. Apple knows as much about the cell phone business as Nokia knows about the PC, yet only one of them is going to add $10 billion to top line revenue through their new shiny product.  So what’s the lesson for the rest of us?

The good news is that this illustrates (once again) that understanding consumer aspirations is the only real way to launch blockbuster products and so every retailer (once again) has an opportunity to do what Apple has done and it doesn’t matter if your space is furniture, apparel, footwear or home appliances. The bad news is that Apple has demonstrated (once again) that moving from zero to complete domination can be both quick and decisive so it’s not enough to just look at your 2nd, 3rd or even 7th top competitor because it could be a new entrant that radically alters your industry. Creating conversations with evangelists is often the most effective way to generate new ideas that really work. It’s easy to do this; companies like Coach literally send out emails to their most loyal customers and ask them if they like new designs, others like Under Armour spend a lot of time talking to athletes about how products feel and work on the field. It’s no surprise then that the revenue of Coach and UA have been growing at clip rates of 30% and 100% over the last few years.


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