This post was originally featured on FastCompany.com. The original blog can be found here: What Apple Can Teach You About Not Having To Compete on Price
Rumors are swirling across the blogosphere regarding the expected introduction of Apple’s iPad 3—the third iteration of their groundbreaking tablet device. And while the specifications of the device have yet to be revealed, experts project that millions will be sold in 2012 alone.
The idea of an Apple product selling like hotcakes isn’t surprising. But when you consider the difficult economic environment Apple has battled over the past four years, the success they have achieved is remarkable. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Apple products are rarely, if ever, cheaper than the competition. The iPad, for instance, retails for $499. Competitors, such as the Kindle and other tablets, often sell for $200 or less. Yet, in 2011, Apple controlled a whopping 66% of the tablet market.
Apple has achieved what every business owner dreams of: the ability to charge premium rates and still attract business. Apple has successfully refused to compete on the basis of price—and your business can too. Here are four ways Apple has accomplished this… can you apply these principles to your business?
1) Powerful branding. Thanks to a well-executed branding campaign, Apple has built a brand that is trendy, cool, and technologically advanced. The iPhone, in particular, has become a status symbol for many.
2) Strategic marketing. Every time a new product is launched, customers line up for hours (if not days) outside Apple retail locations. And every time, a product shortage prompts anxiety and even desperation from customers who were unable to get their hands on the product. The result is a palpable feeling of scarcity and value—customers feel privileged to fork over $500 for an iPad! While Apple won’t admit that they intentionally create product shortages in order to create a buzz, it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t be able to meet everyone’s demand on day one if they so chose.
3) Excellent customer service. Apple Care, the company’s warranty and customer care program, provides a level of service that is unparalleled in the electronics industry. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that expert help is a phone call away is a big part of the value Apple provides.
4) A product that doesn’t disappoint. Branding, marketing, and customer service don’t mean anything if the product is disappointing. Apple doesn’t cut corners and doesn’t make promises that its products can’t keep—resulting in customers that are consistently thrilled with their purchase. At the end of the day, if a product can’t live up to the expectations set by its marketing, it won’t be successful for the long term.
Apple doesn’t compete on price—and your business doesn’t have to, either. Apply these lessons… and you’ll find that you have the ability to charge premium prices and still win the business!