In the era where most retailers are investing in line-busting technologies to reduce the idle time spent in the buying process, Apple is making sure the lines at their brick-and-mortar locations do not disappear. Business Insider explains 4 reasons why Apple uses long lines as a marketing strategy tactic:
1) Lines have been part of Apple’s marketing strategy for some time
Over three years ago, people joined long lines to buy the iPad 2 at Apple stores around the world. These lines were even longer than those for the original iPad. In fact, they were longer than expected. What many don’t know is that Apple orchestrated these lines by not allowing pre-orders. They did not want a reoccurrence of short lines at Verizon stores when the Verizon iPhone was introduced.
2) Competitors making fun of the lines are only helping to promote Apple products
Competitors, such as Samsung and Microsoft, are drawn into the “Apple trap” by disparaging the waiting lines in their commercials. What they don’t realize is that disparaging competitors only gives them free brand impressions and free advertising — helping them to sell their products. Here are some of the many reasons why.
- Free advertising
- No reasons to buy your product
- When you “put down” popular products, you are putting down the people that like them
- Makes you look arrogant and insecure at the same time.
- Puts a target on your back
3) The lines are forming, even if not spontaneously
While the early people in line for Apple products may have an agenda, the lines are already forming and growing. So are Apple’s profits. In spite of a smaller market share than its smartphone competitors, Apple still commands 60% of the profits. As Apple increases its distribution around the globe, its market share is likely to grow too. Many forget that when the iPhone was introduced only one major mobile phone service provider — ATT — sold the iPhone. The other big players in the US have been added in recent years and new deals with China Mobile and others around the world are expected to follow. This is likely to help Apple’s global market share.
4) It’s a great way to do marketing
As Apple has shown, lines are a great way to do marketing. When combined with the brand advantage of uniqueness built into all Apple products, these lines are likely to keep the Apple profit machine going for the foreseeable future. Of course, Apple will have to keep innovating. If it fails to do so, it could open the way for more innovative rivals to build a beachhead that eats into its share of the market and profits. Stay tuned. No matter what happens, it will be interesting.