The Streets Of London.
Two leading tech businesses.
Two flagship stores separated by the width of Regent Street.
Two retail experiences separated by a chasm.
This is the new Nokia store at 4 p.m. today. A stylish place but few customers, no buzz and inevitably bored staff. A sterile environment.
Literally across the street is the Apple store. A similar design aesthetic but, as ever, full of people either using it as an internet cafe or buying stuff from constantly engaged staff. An active environment.
The design and ethos of both stores urges you to interact with the products. Indeed, the Nokia store explicitly exhorts you to "discover" more about each phone. But clearly, there's a difference between the two.
Each phone says "No SIM card inserted". We all understand why and I'm not saying Nokia are doing anything wrong, it's just that the nature of their product hamstrings them when it comes to customer trial so they surely have to do something more to facilitate that discovery. Both companies have commendably strived to make these stores remarkable and they both are. But these are the very different impressions they leave.
The Nokia store is a gallery.
The Apple store is alive.
The Nokia store staff are tech sellers.
The Apple store staff are tech users.
The Nokia store is a place where you browse.
The Apple store is a place where you use.
The Nokia store is about surface.
The Apple store is about corporate DNA.