This is Your Idea of a Good Retail Experience?

After several years of getting accustomed to the kind of retail experience offered by Apple stores, all other retail stores seem to pale in comparison. If I just compare Apple’s retail environment to other electronic hardware stores such as Best Buy, the similarities end at the fact that both sell hardware, software and services.

I was in a Best Buy the other day — I try to avoid this when possible — and decided to pop over to the mobile phone department to kill some time. I had a look around to see what kind of Android devices were on demo. What I discovered was absolutely astonishing and quite possibly one of the worst demo setups I have ever seen.

If you’ve been to an Apple store, then you already know all iPhones and Macs on display are setup in a very deliberate way. Apple encourages and wants you to want to pickup devices and play with them. They want you to simply be delighted and to have fun while you’re in the store. The last thing that you should feel is that you’re in a hostile environment surrounded by non-functional demos and sales people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

To my astonishment, every single Android phone on display was locked down as if you were in Fort Knox. In addition to making it extremely difficult for customers to play with the phones on demo, many of the units on display weren’t even functional. Now I realize people like to steal smartphones, but there’s no reason for what Best Buy has done. When I tried to play with a Samsung Galaxy S2, not only was it locked down to the kiosk, but someone felt it was a brilliant idea to use two cable ties to also secure the phone. The cable ties were going around the phone, and as you know, these phones tend to have — you know — touch displays. I think you can see where this is going.

So Best Buy, if an interested customer (not using myself as an example, as I’m a happy iPhone user) walks into your store with cash in hand and wants to try a product before they buy, leave the cable ties off the damn phone and don’t treat them like a thief.