Apple's troubles in the last several months have been well documented. After the company's value hit a record high last August, the stock has fallen roughly $200 per share. Some analysts suggest the company hasn't been the same since the death of former CEO Steve Jobs, and that current boss Tim Cook isn't equipped to handle the pressure of running the tech giant.
The main criticism of Cook his is lack of innovative new products. Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPod, MacBook, iPhone and iPad. In the 17 months since his death, most of Apple's new releases have been slight upgrades of older devices. The iPhone 5 was well-received, but it didn't have the "wow" factor of Apple's first generation gadgets when they were unveiled.
However, to say Cook hasn't been innovative would be inaccurate. In fact, Apple's retail stores have significantly improved since Cook took over, particularly the checkout process. While Steve Jobs started the trend towards automated checkout, Cook took it to a whole new level. Today, customers can use their own smartphones to scan small items, pay for them and walk out of the store, all without ever speaking with an employee.
Cook spoke about the future of Apple at the Goldman-Sachs Technology and Internet Conference last month, indicating that we have not seen the end of retail improvements.
"I've never been more bullish about innovation at Apple," Cook said. "I'm incredibly bullish on our retail stores."
A number of retailers, such as JC Penney with its mobile self-checkout system, have tried to emulate Apple's retail innovation. While this may not be an option that suits every retailer, companies should be investing in solutions like new credit card processing software that streamlines the checkout process. By giving customers a better overall experience, businesses can improve the overall value of their stores.