I decided to pay a little visit to the Apple store on London's Regent Street this morning. It's one of those places I gravitate to when I'm in the area and have a few spare minutes, for no other reason than I just love being there.

And that's the point, really. The Regent Street store generates the highest revenue per square foot of any shop in the UK, and the 5th Avenue store in New York is the highest grossing retail shop in the US - and yet I have NEVER ever had anyone try to sell me anything in there. They just create a great, inviting environent where all the lovely goodies can be touched and played with, and then make it very easy to buy.

Sure, there are loads of staff around to help you, if that's what you want - and they really know what they're talking about when you ask them something - but not once have I encountered the predatory "Can I help you?" line so common in many (particularly electronics) stores.

Like I said earlier, I just love being there.

Now the specific reason I'm writng this today, is because, as I walked through the door this morning I encounterd one of those ever so subtle marketing/sales cues that are placed so brilliantly in the store. Most of the time they slip past my concious awareness, even though influence is one of my areas of specialism, but today I happened to pick it up.

Two days ago The Beatles back catalogue arrived on iTunes - and what was playing on the sound system in Regent Street this morning? (and, I guess, every other Apple store in the world) - you got it: The Beatles.

You can't even physically buy the music in the store, but this is a briliant example of Apple's subtle and holistic approach to marketing. It's one of the reasons they operate the highest grossing retail stores in the world.

Brilliant, subtle and perfectly executed - and no invasive DJ ramming it down my throat (or should that be ears?) in the style of some of the nearby clothing stores.

So what can you and I learn from this? I gues the big question is really: What can I do to emulate that kind of subtlelty, and reap some of the rewards, in my business?

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