Angela Ahrendts offers deep dive into Apple retail, future aspirations

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2015
Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts, speaking at the Fast Company Innovation Festival on Monday, pulled back the curtain on Apple Store, revealing a few interesting tidbits about the company's current operating philosophy and future goals.


Angela Ahrendts speaking at Fast Company's Innovation Festival. | Source: Harry McCracken via Twitter


As reported through live tweets from the event provided by Fast Company's Harry McCracken, Ahrendts covered a number of topics during her chat with the publication's editor-at-large Rick Tetzeli. Tetzeli has for years covered Apple and last year co-authored the book "Becoming Steve Jobs" with fellow journalist Brent Schlender.

During today's interview, Ahrendts said she visited Apple Stores in 40 markets around the world during her first six months at the company, dedicating time to speak with employees to get a better feel for her new position. Ahrendts officially joined Apple in mid-2014 to replace former SVP of Retail John Browett, who was fired from the company a year and a half earlier.

Unlike Browett, Ahrendts has proved a more accessible high-level manager for Apple Store employees and often makes impromptu appearances at international stores to celebrate product launches. As for how she runs Apple's brick-and-mortar business, which generates the highest sales per square foot of any U.S. retailer, Ahrendts said staff members can access her directly via email.

"It's a pretty flat organization," she said.

Ahrendts has the difficult task of expanding Apple Store marketing as the tech giant ventures into new categories like Apple Watch and even more complex intangible services like Apple Music and Apple Pay, Fast Company reports. Commenting on the future of retail, she considers Apple retail as a giant product in itself, comparing its evolution to that of hardware like iPhone and Mac.

As part of this ongoing transformation Apple Stores are showing off redesigned accessory displays, which Ahrendts calls "The Avenue." The idea is to showcase products in a way that recalls peeking into shop windows while walking down the street of a small town.

Ahrendts is enlisting the help of other top-ranking Apple execs for future Apple Store projects. For example, Jimmy Iovine and Eddy Cue are lending a hand in the creation of a new in-store Apple Music experience, while SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi is helping to build a workshop curriculum for teaching code. There is no word on when these new services will debut, but that Apple is working on such designs illustrates a willingness to further enrich the Apple Store experience.

Moving forward also requires a strong online presence and to that end Ahrendts said she was responsible for merging Apple's informational and retail websites, a major shift in how the company handles e-sales.

Just as pressing is brick-and-mortar expansion, especially into regions of growth. Ahrendts said one of the first tasks she assigned her team was to generate a list of cities forecast to be most populated by 2025. With 20 locations falling within China, Apple made plans to construct 25 new stores in the region by 2016.

"If we're going to do ten-year leases," she said," that's what we want to invest in."

Interestingly, Ahrendts is also looking for ways to serve Chinese customers traveling outside of China. Apple Stores are popular destinations for Chinese tourists and the company is relocating some of its best Chinese employees accordingly. For example, there are now 21 Mandarin-speaking employees at the Upper East Side Apple Store alone.

Finally, Ahrendts said the iconic wooden tables that have become an Apple Store staple are likely to remain for the foreseeable future, as Apple SDO Jony Ive designed them.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Like the cofe curriculum idea ...
  • Reply 2 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,378member
    I can almost imagine the amazing ?Car showrooms....

    Good to know she isn't messing with Jony's tables, even if Microsoft stole the idea. The again what haven't Microsoft stolen from Apple?
  • Reply 3 of 22
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    She's been doing good it seems. The only thing I didn't like was the ?Watch exclusive to online launch. Talk about killing hype.
    I can't wait for the collaboration Jony Ive stores.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I can almost imagine the amazing ?Car showrooms....

    Good to know she isn't messing with Jony's tables, even if Microsoft stole the idea. The again what haven't Microsoft stolen from Apple?

    400

    Samsung is never far behind either. Just ask a Sammy Smartypants.
  • Reply 5 of 22
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I can almost imagine the amazing ?Car showrooms....

    Good to know she isn't messing with Jony's tables, even if Microsoft stole the idea. The again what haven't Microsoft stolen from Apple?

    I like the new tables. They have a long thin strip for the cords rather than 3-4 square cut outs. Now that Apple removed signs from the table the older tables really look out of place. I hope Apple updates their stores with these new tables fast and I wouldn't mind if they brought the table sign back. Just a simple sign that says iPhone or iPad or whatever.

    Apple-Store-Infinite-Loop.jpg

    apple-store-italy.jpg
  • Reply 6 of 22
    She fits in wonderfully with Apple's culture and philosophy, while also bringing her own sense of style to the table. A win-win.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    cali wrote: »
    400

    Samsung is never far behind either. Just ask a Sammy Smartypants.

    It was an inside job¡
  • Reply 8 of 22
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    bluefire1 wrote: »
    She fits in wonderfully with Apple's culture and philosophy, while also bringing her own sense of style to the table. A win-win.

    For the most part I agree, but I'm not feeling those grey shirts they are now wearing.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    cali wrote: »
    She's been doing good it seems. The only thing I didn't like was the ?Watch exclusive to online launch. Talk about killing hype.

    that wasn't a retail decision. as you may recall the AW was quite supply constrained.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    solipsismy wrote: »
    For the most part I agree, but I'm not feeling those grey shirts they are now wearing.

    the gray is lame. much harder to identify staff.
  • Reply 11 of 22
    nolamacguy wrote: »
    the gray is lame. much harder to identify staff.

    That's my problem with it. Plus, there only seems to be one or two people they send you in a store that have an iPad in hand when you have an appt. I wish those unique individuals would have something unique about their clothing specifically to tell where they are when they try to point them out in a crowded store.
  • Reply 12 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post



    the gray is lame. much harder to identify staff.




    That's my problem with it. Plus, there only seems to be one or two people they send you in a store that have an iPad in hand when you have an appt. I wish those unique individuals would have something unique about their clothing specifically to tell where they are when they try to point them out in a crowded store.

     

    Patients, young grasshopper. They're gonna splash some color when start selling the iPad Pro in the stores...

  • Reply 13 of 22
    irelandireland Posts: 17,207member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cali View Post



    She's been doing good it seems.

     

    She is one of the great leader of our time. She's a real leader who happens to be a woman.

  • Reply 14 of 22
    ireland wrote: »
    She is one of the great leader of our time. She's a real leader who happens to be a woman, until that witch that may get the Whitehouse.

    Just say "no" to Hillary.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,040member
    cali wrote: »
    I can't wait for the collaboration Jony Ive stores.
    That last sentence seemed like a subtle dig to me ... like the wife who's redecorating but has to keep the husband's favorite old delapodated easy chair. I'm wondering now just how much they actually get along.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,466member
    bluefire1 wrote: »
    She fits in wonderfully with Apple's culture and philosophy, while also bringing her own sense of style to the table. A win-win.

    This does seem to be the case! However what I can't get over is how good looking she is everytime I see a picture of her. Local exoerience has taught name that woman in such places are often pretty ugly, she is nothing of the sort.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     

     

    She's a real leader who happens to be a woman, until that witch that may get the Whitehouse.


    I don't think Carly has much of a chance.

  • Reply 18 of 22
    The last time I had cause to visit applestore was both humerous and depressing. I could not via the web book an appointment at a time suiting my schedule and the only time I could get was forced on me and was set 5 minutes ahead!!! So the only option for me was to take the long trip to the only applestore which is located outside of my city, Swedens capital, Stockholm. Some genious calculated the brilliant idea to put this citys only AS in a suburb far north necessating for all citizens only to travel by subway and then change to a tram which creeping steals another 20-25 minutes of your time!!! On place I was directed to stand up waiting in company with half a dozen other frustrated customers only looking stupid and bewildered as there was no system keeping us in order of arrival. After approx 20 or so minutes my errand to buy a 6s was dealt with. I have had much better experience dealing with customer telephone support so this was a massive let down for me and that day fellow customers. Although Sweden traditionally been an apple stronghold, even back in the days of the beleagered company, I cant say apple show much care for us now. Broader and far more lucrative markets are prioritized these days.
  • Reply 19 of 22
    ac1234ac1234 Posts: 138member

    Did Sir Johnny design the tables?

     

    In either case - her contributions to date, if any, are a joke in light of the $70,000,000 she was paid to join.

  • Reply 20 of 22
    ac1234 wrote: »
    ...her contributions to date, if any, are a joke...

    Based on what? Do you actually know everything she's done for Apple so far?
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