When the iPod came out with a version that allowed Windows syncing there was a lot said about the ‘iPod Halo effect’ ((See Wikipedia for a definition.)) – essentially because the iPod is so popular Apple would sell more Macs to people. The same thought has come about with the iPhone. Essentially pundits are arguing that people will like their iPod/iPhone so much that they will want to give Apple their computer business.
The Halo Effect I Saw
Standing in line on Thursday I witnessed a very pronounced halo effect from the iPhone. The first part was from those in line. While standing in line a lot of people came by asking why we were in line and if it was ‘worth’ it for a phone. Every person who answered these questions extolled how awesome the phone was (though they had never used it) and talked it up quit a bit. People walked away stunned and you could see that their interest had been piqued. This alone is not a halo effect but it takes us right to the most pertinent part of the halo effect.
A lot of the first time buyers that I talked to had never been inside an Apple store, which is a shame as it is probably the best retail experience you will get. From what I could see inside the store is that the people who already purchased their iPhones really did not want to leave the store. No they wanted to stay and look around – leading to a lot of frustrating delays outside the store. Apple employees were using Macs to activate phones – with very little trouble. They were using an iPod touch to sell you the phone and so forth.
The halo effect I saw was not from people loving their iPhones so much that they wanted to try a Mac – it was people loving the store and immersion in the products so much that they wanted to try more stuff.
This is not to say that people there is not the traditional iPhone halo effect (where people love the phone so much they buy other Apple products) – I am simply saying that there is another component that is often ignored. The Apple Store is such a great retail experience that it makes people want to come back, and want to stay for quite a while. Even – especially – on the stores’ busiest day.