Angela Ahrendts interview addresses Apple retail refurb, town square concept successes

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Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts launched the 2016 Most Powerful Women Summit on Monday, and talked about her path leading to Apple, initial reluctance to take the job, and successes in tailoring the Apple Store experience for customers.









"I told him, 'I'm not a techie,'" Ahrendts told Forbes about when she was approached by Cook for the job. "And he said, 'I think we have 10,000 of those, you are supposed to be here.'"



Over the course of the next few conversations with Cook about the position, Ahrendts suggested that instead of just helming retail, that her position focus on blending retail with the online presence, and re-focus the stores to be a larger part of the community as a whole.



Ahrendts proposal to Cook led to the town square concept in some of Apple's newer stores and recent remodeling efforts.



"Companies have a huge obligation right now, and the bigger the company, the bigger the obligation," Ahrendts said. "We are thinking about what the community needs."



Ahrendts noted that before the end of the year, 95 stores will be redesigned to accommodate Apple's vision of a community surrounding each store, with the town square serving as educational centers for the area. The executive pointed to "Teacher Tuesdays" and the forthcoming classes for children to learn Swift in conjunction with the recently released iPad Swift Playgrounds app as part of that larger vision for the stores.









"The store is now the biggest product we produce and we have five new features," said Ahrendts. "Accessories are avenues, and the huge digital screen in each store is the forum."



"On the weekend you'll see an artist sketching things or a guy playing a guitar," Ahrendts said about the new Apple store concept. "The goal is to help foster human experiences that draw people out of their digital bubbles."



Ahrends was the CEO of fashion icon Burberry from 2006 to 2014, before her tenure at Apple. She joined Apple on May 1, 2014, and is the only female senior executive at Apple.
lostkiwi
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,760member
    Video?
  • Reply 2 of 42
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,894member
    She's doing a great job from what I can see.
    nolamacguyargonautlostkiwilolliverjony0propod
  • Reply 3 of 42
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,184member
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job
    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show

    was this hire just based on diversity?

    what contributions has she really done?

    planting trees in the stores is the only thing I notice
    What do you want her to do? Who would do better (male or female)?
    edited October 2016 zer0her0gilly33Deelronviclauyyclolliverjony0
  • Reply 4 of 42
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,405member
    The Apple Stores have been a massive success since they opened.  My worry is tinkering for the sake of it might be a case of fixing what isn't broken.  That isn't to say improvements can always be made in any endeavor and should be but I just hope nothing is done that ends up being damaging.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 5 of 42
    macxpress said:
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job
    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show

    was this hire just based on diversity?

    what contributions has she really done?

    planting trees in the stores is the only thing I notice
    What do you want her to do? Who would do better (male or female)?
    Agreed, I don't get all this hate she gets (I can only assume it's because she's a women, hence the diversity comment). I feel she's done a lot to bring back the "old Apple store feel" the way I felt back when they first started opening. Not to mention she is WAY better then what's his face, basically almost turned the stores into a Best Buy.
    tycho24gilly33Deelronnolamacguyargonautlostkiwimdriftmeyerlolliverjony0propod
  • Reply 6 of 42
    As long Apple continues to make money hand over fist in retail, experimentation with the format is harmless. Just remember though, no matter how the words are danced around or avoided, everything is about making it easier to spend money (and that's what's really important for Apple).
    edited October 2016 gilly33nolamacguylolliver
  • Reply 7 of 42
    An artist sketching and a guy playing a guitar? Sure, why not bring in a homeless guy to sleep and pee on the floor and make it just like San Francisco.  Get rid of Ahrendts before she Marissa Meyers Apple Retail.  The only thing Apple Retail needs to do is double the size of every store, maybe add a cafe and call it a day. Stop worrying about the retail stores and update the Mac Mini, Mac Pro and the Cinema displays which haven't been refreshed in 1860 days as of today.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,760member
    sog35 said:
    macxpress said:
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job
    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show

    was this hire just based on diversity?

    what contributions has she really done?

    planting trees in the stores is the only thing I notice
    What do you want her to do? Who would do better (male or female)?
    free coffee and pastries to start 
    I'd like to have a lounge area in an apple store where i can sip on coffee and eat a free danish
    The thing you're battling with that idea is you need a trained barista to make the coffee and it creates noise and takes up lots of space. You need space for tables and chairs and a room for making the coffee and pretty soon you've 1/3 of the store used up and that's not Apple's business.
    edited October 2016 2old4funnolamacguyargonautlostkiwilolliverjony0
  • Reply 9 of 42
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job
    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show

    was this hire just based on diversity?

    what contributions has she really done?

    planting trees in the stores is the only thing I notice
    Yes, at least Browett had gonads!
    zer0her0
  • Reply 10 of 42
    "Ahrendts proposal to Cook led to the town square concept in some of Apple's newer stores and recent remodeling efforts."

    I don't think the "town square" idea (along with bringing in artists and musicians) is necessarily a bad idea in general (in fact, I kinda like the idea), but the biggest problem Apple stores have is the large number of people in them already. They need to figure out how to get people in and out *faster*, not have them linger.

    Perhaps the "town square" idea would be a better fit at the Microsoft stores....they seem to have more than enough empty space to do this right :)
  • Reply 11 of 42
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    sog35 said:
    macxpress said:
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job
    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show

    was this hire just based on diversity?

    what contributions has she really done?

    planting trees in the stores is the only thing I notice
    What do you want her to do? Who would do better (male or female)?
    free coffee and pastries to start 
    I'd like to have a lounge area in an apple store where i can sip on coffee and eat a free danish
    So that massive portfolio you keep banging on about won't let you stretch to a Starbucks?
    irelandbrucemcnolamacguyargonautlolliver
  • Reply 12 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,760member
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job

    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show
    You cannot be serious? You've jumped off the deep end sog. She's one of the most inspiring leaders I've ever known of. Apple's new stores are the most beautiful stores I've ever seen. Her vision and clarity and taste and sensibleness are nothing short of amazing. She is a great individual.
    edited October 2016 macxpressnolamacguyargonautlostkiwilollivercrowleypropod
  • Reply 13 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,760member
    "Ahrendts proposal to Cook led to the town square concept in some of Apple's newer stores and recent remodeling efforts."

    I don't think the "town square" idea (along with bringing in artists and musicians) is necessarily a bad idea in general (in fact, I kinda like the idea), but the biggest problem Apple stores have is the large number of people in them already. They need to figure out how to get people in and out *faster*, not have them linger.

    Perhaps the "town square" idea would be a better fit at the Microsoft stores....they seem to have more than enough empty space to do this right :)
    There's nothing wrong with the stores. They only need more of them.
    lostkiwilollivercrowley
  • Reply 14 of 42
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    zer0her0 said:
    macxpress said:
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job
    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show

    was this hire just based on diversity?

    what contributions has she really done?

    planting trees in the stores is the only thing I notice
    What do you want her to do? Who would do better (male or female)?
    Agreed, I don't get all this hate she gets (I can only assume it's because she's a women, hence the diversity comment). I feel she's done a lot to bring back the "old Apple store feel" the way I felt back when they first started opening. Not to mention she is WAY better then what's his face, basically almost turned the stores into a Best Buy.
    The problem is that many folk don't understand how ducks move.

    If they can't see something going on right in front of their eyes, they think that nothing is happening. Because Sog can't see China from his basement he has no inkling of the work Ahrendts has done there. When she started, Apple didn't have a single store. Now they'll have 40 by the end of the year). 
    nolamacguypalominelolliver
  • Reply 15 of 42
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,878member
    An artist sketching and a guy playing a guitar? Sure, why not bring in a homeless guy to sleep and pee on the floor and make it just like San Francisco.  Get rid of Ahrendts before she Marissa Meyers Apple Retail.  The only thing Apple Retail needs to do is double the size of every store, maybe add a cafe and call it a day. Stop worrying about the retail stores and update the Mac Mini, Mac Pro and the Cinema displays which haven't been refreshed in 1860 days as of today.
    You're obviously clueless. An artist sketching on a Mac or iPad is a real world example of what an Apple product can do. A guy/gal playing a guitar attached to a Mac or iPad also shows what an Apple product can do. That's two real world experiences and it provides a level of voyeurism to see actual people use Apple products. 

    Double the the size of every store? and add a cafe? How does the latter help sell Apple products? How does the former help? Some store are small but most are the right size. What are you going to do with the extra space? Apple has enough space to display its hardware. 
    nolamacguypalominelostkiwilolliverpropod
  • Reply 15 of 42
    Maybe she's just rearranging the deck chairs on whatever would be the opposite of the Titanic?

    But Angela, if you're reading this, for god's sake do something about the nose level in the stores. I went to the new Brea refurb for a Numbers on the Mac class and besides barely being able to hear the instructor, my ears rang for an hour after leaving. Granted, this store seems to be packed all the time, but still . . .
    welshdog
  • Reply 17 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,760member
    Rayz2016 said:

    zer0her0 said:
    macxpress said:
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job
    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show

    was this hire just based on diversity?

    what contributions has she really done?

    planting trees in the stores is the only thing I notice
    What do you want her to do? Who would do better (male or female)?
    Agreed, I don't get all this hate she gets (I can only assume it's because she's a women, hence the diversity comment). I feel she's done a lot to bring back the "old Apple store feel" the way I felt back when they first started opening. Not to mention she is WAY better then what's his face, basically almost turned the stores into a Best Buy.
    The problem is that many folk don't understand how ducks move.

    If they can't see something going on right in front of their eyes, they think that nothing is happening. Because Sog can't see China from his basement he has no inkling of the work Ahrendts has done there. When she started, Apple didn't have a single store. Now they'll have 40 by the end of the year). 
    They had stores in China before she started. But her work has been nothing short of exceptional. I do wish Apple would throw a dog a bone though and add a store to Dublin at least. Lots of affluent people and lots of tourists.
    edited October 2016 argonautlostkiwilolliver
  • Reply 18 of 42
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,878member
    ...but the biggest problem Apple stores have is the large number of people in them already. They need to figure out how to get people in and out *faster*, not have them linger.

    Perhaps the "town square" idea would be a better fit at the Microsoft stores....they seem to have more than enough empty space to do this right :)
    That shows the success of the store. You never want more sales reps than customers. People may have to wait but as long as it's not a long wait, it'll be fine. I believe Apple does have personal shopping appointments. And you can't force people to leave stores. That's bad customer experience. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 19 of 42
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,184member
    jungmark said:
    ...but the biggest problem Apple stores have is the large number of people in them already. They need to figure out how to get people in and out *faster*, not have them linger.

    Perhaps the "town square" idea would be a better fit at the Microsoft stores....they seem to have more than enough empty space to do this right
    That shows the success of the store. You never want more sales reps than customers. People may have to wait but as long as it's not a long wait, it'll be fine. I believe Apple does have personal shopping appointments. And you can't force people to leave stores. That's bad customer experience. 
    You mean like Microsoft stores?

    ireland said:
    "Ahrendts proposal to Cook led to the town square concept in some of Apple's newer stores and recent remodeling efforts."

    I don't think the "town square" idea (along with bringing in artists and musicians) is necessarily a bad idea in general (in fact, I kinda like the idea), but the biggest problem Apple stores have is the large number of people in them already. They need to figure out how to get people in and out *faster*, not have them linger.

    Perhaps the "town square" idea would be a better fit at the Microsoft stores....they seem to have more than enough empty space to do this right :)
    There's nothing wrong with the stores. They only need more of them.
    Exactly! They're almost too conservative at times, but I guess its better than just building stores for the sake of building them. 
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 20 of 42
    ireland said:
    sog35 said:
    2 years on the job

    $100+ million in compensation

    pretty much nothing to show
    You cannot be serious? You've jumped off the deep end sog. She's one of the most inspiring leaders I've ever known of. Apple's new stores are the most beautiful stores I've ever seen. Her vision and clarity and taste and sensibleness are nothing short of amazing. She is a great individual.
    And they were crap before she was there? $100 million for some pretty obvious tweaks and frankly not much retail innovation (my g-friend is a global retail expert and has plenty of insight... says she hasn't contributed anything that a senior retail consultant couldn't manage... for about $400k a year).

    "She's one of the most inspiring leaders I've ever known of"... your bar is seriously low... you'd give McDs a Michelin star
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