Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson to launch gadget delivery service, report says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2014
According to a report on Tuesday, former Apple SVP of Retail Ron Johnson is looking to open an on-demand delivery service for electronic devices, a sector currently being explored by the likes of Amazon, Google and others.

Ron Johnson Chicago


Citing people who spoke with Johnson about the project, The Information says the as-yet-unnamed startup will focus on on-demand deliveries, a departure from the retail guru's most recent job as CEO of J.C. Penney.

Johnson has also hired on former Apple employees to help with the new venture, including Vice President of Retail Jerry McDougal, who left the Cupertino company in 2013 to spend more time with his family.

While specific details are unknown, the upcoming service reportedly involves branded eco-friendly vans that are sent out on delivery runs on an on-demand basis. Similarities can be drawn with Uber, which is also experimenting with quick deliveries by way of food orders.

Amazon and Google have been looking for ways to make on-demand delivery services work, but so far their attempts have been largely unsuccessful. The logistics and economic viability of fast deliveries, however, continues to be roadblocks in rolling out a wide network.

Johnson is best known for realizing the Apple Store concept, which has become a major revenue driver for Apple and arguably serves as the face of the company. He left the company in 2011 to take on a position at J.C. Penney, but was fired in April of last year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    Or you could go off to the sunset and enjoy your coin. Why does everyone feel the need to prove they can do it on their own?
  • Reply 2 of 24
    I always hated that picture; it's so staged.
  • Reply 3 of 24

    Ronnie Johns Gadget Delivery - Freaky Fast

  • Reply 4 of 24
    The idea of having an on-demand gadget delivery service seems a bit strange. What exactly are the statistics on shoppers who buy gadgets? How many a year are people buying? Are they buying select brands?

    The thing with Uber is that once they've gotten past the new customer acquisition cost, it's very likely the new customer will use the service more than once and if like me, they'll use it regularly. That's where the payoff is. I know personally, I'm not buying but a couple of tech items a year. Perhaps I'm not the average, but I'm not seeing the business plan playing out well here.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,991moderator
    jmgregory1 wrote: »
    The idea of having an on-demand gadget delivery service seems a bit strange. What exactly are the statistics on shoppers who buy gadgets? How many a year are people buying? Are they buying select brands?

    The thing with Uber is that once they've gotten past the new customer acquisition cost, it's very likely the new customer will use the service more than once and if like me, they'll use it regularly. That's where the payoff is. I know personally, I'm not buying but a couple of tech items a year. Perhaps I'm not the average, but I'm not seeing the business plan playing out well here.

    Yeah, how many times a year are you buying a tech gadget AND not standing there in the store taking delivery of it or not buying it online in which case it's delivered pretty quickly. What is the specific purchase context he's trying to solve? Bigger question: aren't you glad Apple isn't in the business of trying to solve such low-margin problems? I'd sell every one of my 6500 shares if Apple announced it was taking on such challenges.
  • Reply 6 of 24

    Good. He can run and get my iPhone 6. It's in Louisville.

  • Reply 7 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ridikulas View Post



    Or you could go off to the sunset and enjoy your coin. Why does everyone feel the need to prove they can do it on their own?

    Because work is fun.  Because it's exciting to have goals and reach them.  Retirement is depressing for most people with active minds.

  • Reply 8 of 24
    I didn't see it mentioned anywhere that this would be for "tech" deliveries. My impression is appliances, house-to-house or new sales, that type of thing. Sell a fridge on Craigslist, or buy it from Home Depot, use this app to get it where it needs to go. Because the trucks would be in fuller use it would be more efficient than existing delivery infrastructures, and more flexible. At least that's the idea as I would imagine it might work.

    I am somewhat skeptical, though. Uber/Lyft work because there are no drivers to hire or cars to buy. This would be different.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    Originally Posted by ridikulas View Post

    Or you could go off to the sunset and enjoy your coin. Why does everyone feel the need to prove they can do it on their own?

     

    There’s a reason some people drop dead when they retire.

     

    Originally Posted by bennettvista View Post

    Because work is fun.  Because it's exciting to have goals and reach them.  Retirement is depressing for most people with active minds.

  • Reply 10 of 24
    ibeamibeam Posts: 322member

    Unfortunately no one will be able to crack the on-demad delivery nut until the Beam Me Up Scotty transporter service is established in 2025. That is what Apple should be working on.

  • Reply 11 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    ridikulas wrote: »
    Or you could go off to the sunset and enjoy your coin. Why does everyone feel the need to prove they can do it on their own?

    Do it on their own or in some cases just do it again ... I couldn't agree more, and it is so often a huge mistake. Many have lost it all when they could have been on a beach but their egos couldn't let go without one more try. Human nature I guess. I think many folk fail to see they were lucky, and in the right place at the right time, the first time around. It's hard to repeat that.

    Oh look the sun is setting and the tide is coming in ... Pass the margarita will ya? :smokey:
  • Reply 12 of 24
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member

    I don't understand how this is much of an advantage.

     

    Consumer electronics are generally manufactured in Southeast Asia and arrive in the USA via air freight or sea cargo through a handful of ports of entry, then go to warehouses or get forwarded along the distribution channel down to the individual consumer.

     

    Ten pallets of widgets ships from Shenzhen, clears customs in Anchorage, then arrives at Oakland, CA. What difference does it make whether they go to UPS distribution centers or Johnson's gadget delivery service warehouse?

     

    You either have the inventory or you don't. On-demand delivery doesn't speed things up.

     

    On-demand delivery makes more sense when the source is relatively random (and local) and timeliness is of the essence, like a hot meal from a restaurant or a case of cold beer. On-demand delivery doesn't make sense for a 3-ft RCA audio cable, a 128GB SD memory card, or a tube of toothpaste.

  • Reply 13 of 24
    Unless Ronnie adds pizza to the mix, this is gonna end very badly with Ronnie wearing a little delivery uniform behind the wheel of a delivery van where its former life with Circuit City is faintly visible.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    I'm more and more convinced that Ron Johnson was merely carrying out Steve Jobs' vision for Apple Store retail and his personal contributions were minimal. He has demonstrated a real weakness and lack of understanding of business fundamentals in his post-Apple career moves.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    I'm more and more convinced that Ron Johnson was merely carrying out Steve Jobs' vision for Apple Store retail and his personal contributions were minimal. He has demonstrated a real weakness and lack of understanding of business fundamentals in his post-Apple career moves.

    I've wondered much the same thoughts. His failure at leading the charge to change up J C P, as he was fain to call it, was a spectacular failure. So much so, it calls into question his whole apparent Apple success.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    Am I the only one who sees the irony of the guy who basically created the experience of being in an Apple store now working on removing the in-store experience altogether?

    A very recent testimonial to the power of the "Apple store experience" was being in one two weeks ago to pick up a MacBook I had ordered, together with my wife and her sister. They started looking at the iPad Minis and each ended up buying one. Two years of my explaining the benefits were overshadowed by their being in the store.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    He is past being called a 'retail guru." I made a mess of J C Penney. J C Penney is doing much better without Ron Johnson.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ridikulas View Post



    Or you could go off to the sunset and enjoy your coin. Why does everyone feel the need to prove they can do it on their own?

    because he has not realize the success of the Apple stores had nothing to do with him, except that he was good Indian for Jobs. We all know the entire store idea was Steves and this guy just did what Steve told him to do. I bet he is not evens sure what specifically made it successful. Honestly, I am not 100% sure myself, it may a combination of things. But he is not actually grasping it himself, look at the mess he created at JC Penny.

  • Reply 19 of 24
    This is really bizarre... I don't see how he can make any money with this business. There are absolutely huge economies of scale with a logistics business. The only under served market is really same day delivery service which would be extremely challenging logistically (Inefficient and EXPENSIVE).
  • Reply 20 of 24
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member
     Retirement is depressing for most people with active minds.Quote:
    Originally Posted by bennettvista View Post

     

    Because work is fun.  Because it's exciting to have goals and reach them.  Retirement is depressing for most people with active minds.


     "Retirement is depressing for most people with active minds"............and no money to spend satisfying it. There. Fixed it for you.  ;) 

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