Apple Store

Apple Store
Overall Rating: 5/5.0 store rating
Ease of Ordering: 4/5 stars
Customer Service: 3/5 stars
Selection: 4/5 stars
On-Time Delivery: 3/5 stars

The Apple Store - How to make a great sales website

A review by phungus written on Dec 16, 2009
Full review
I think Apple has one of the best websites on the Internet, and their Apple Store just plain rocks. For Christmas this year, I used it to order my wife an iPod Nano and had a really pleasant experience. Maybe one day I'll have the funds to actually order myself an Apple computer.

What I like more than anything else about their store is that product pages really feature the product. A lot of close-up shots are shown from multiple angles, and the images are all crystal clear. Apple is known for their excellent designs, and they really show them off on the Apple Store. With all the images and detailed information, you know exactly what that iPod or iMac is going to look like before you buy one. I wish more sites did this.

When you are looking up an item in the Apple Store, that item's page is presented in a very clean manner with lots of white space and easy to read information. For example, I can click on the MacBook page and get giant photos of the MacBook from three different viewing angles, plus bulleted lists with info on the features. It is very easy to read and discern information.

By comparison, on Dell's website I can pull up info on a laptop (which takes a couple more clicks to get to that on Apple's site) and then I have a cluttered screen full of different models with virtually identical components. It's way too much to sort through, and I can see how somebody not knowing much about laptops would be intimidated by it. HP's website is a little better, but they put way too much text on the main product page, and their photos are smaller.

If you order an iPod directly from Apple, they will put a free engraving on the back of it. This is a great security feature because you could have your name or something specific engraved on the back in case it ever got stolen. It's also something you can't get done in a retail store like Best Buy, so you can feel a little extra special with your engraved iPod.

On the downside, Apple does charge sales tax. On the plus side, they don't charge shipping. Since the price of iPods are basically the same everywhere you go, about the only benefit cost-wise of ordering directly from Apple is that you get the free engraving. I suppose it's also nice to be able to find the right color you want, in case inventory at your local retailer is limited. Apple is constantly updating their product line, so watch out for heavily discounted iPods in retail stores because they might be an older model.

One oddity about my shipping experience was that I ordered three different things and they were shipped in three different packages. I ordered the iPod Nano plus a case and a gift card. The case came via the USPS, the gift card came in an envelope, and the Nano was shipped via FedEx. I was required to sign for the Nano, and since nobody was home I ended up just going to my local FedEx office and picking it up. Apple requires this, and I suppose it's because you don't want boxes sitting on your front door that say ‘Apple' on the return address. You might as well put a big yellow ‘Steal Me!' sign on the box.

If you want to see a great example of how to properly make a commercial sales website, check out the Apple Store. It's clean and organized instead of busy and cluttered, and Apple really uses their site to show off the products they sell.

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