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Old May 19, 2014, 12:23 PM   #1
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Apple Retail Under Angela Ahrendts: Focus on Mobile Payments, Customer Experience, and China




Angela Ahrendts officially joined Apple just under three weeks ago, but the new retail chief already has a solid plan in mind for improving both the online and retail Apple Store experience for customers. In a detailed report on Ahrendts, 9to5Mac suggests the retail leader will focus on three separate areas in her efforts to revamp Apple retail: China, mobile payments, and a redesign of the "end-to-end Apple Store sales experience."

Growth in China is highly important to Ahrendts as it represents a major market where Apple hasn't managed to gain a strong foothold. As of February, Apple only had seven percent of total smartphone market share in the country, but the company has worked to secure deals with all of China's major carriers over the course of 2013, leaving it ripe for expansion. Ahrendts has plans to bolster Apple's retail presence in the country, reaching 30 stores by 2016, up from the current 10 stores.

Along with expanding Apple's footprint in China, Ahrendts is also said to be aiming for an overhaul of the end-to-end Apple Store sales experience, reimagining product discovery, customer interactions with employees, and mobile payment options, another tenet of Ahrendts' three point plan. Over-the-phone service, Personal Setup, and the company's trade-in programs may also see improvements under Ahrendts.
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Ahrendts and new online stores VP Kupbens are seeking to improve mobile payments in Apple's retail stores and mobile apps for both the online and in-person purchases. Ahrendts is said to be eyeing a major focus on blurring the lines between Apple's online and physical stores in order to improve the overall experience for Apple customers.
As she settles into her role and begins enacting major changes to the retail and online sales experiences, Ahrendts has been visiting Apple stores close to Cupertino, in San Francisco and Palo Alto. Employees have described her as "honest," "warm and genuine" and "so Apple."

Ahrendts has also reportedly re-architectured Apple's in-house retail team to better suit her needs, with longtime Vice President of Retail Stores Steve Cano moving on to international sales. Wendy Beckman, head of retail in Europe, and Denny Tuza, head of retail in China, will gain new responsibilities, while Apple's VP of Apple Retail Real Estate Bob Bridger and the company's VP of Retail Operations Jim Bean will both retain their roles. Bob Kupbens, the new VP of Online Retail will handle Apple's online stores.

Back in October, when Ahrendts' hiring was first announced, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was "thrilled" she was joining the company, emphasizing that she shared Apple's values, "focus on innovation," and the company's dedication to customer experience.

As CEO of Burberry, Ahrendts famously revamped the company's entire shopping experience, and it's likely that she will bring similar improvements to Apple customers at a time when the company is poised to launch several new major products, including the iPhone 6 and the iWatch.

Article Link: Apple Retail Under Angela Ahrendts: Focus on Mobile Payments, Customer Experience, and China
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:26 PM   #2
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So much airbrushing
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:27 PM   #3
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She's hitting the right note, keep it up.
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:29 PM   #4
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One thing valuable to me...

I was one of "those" people that had Pro Care. That was valuable to me. I ran a business that depended on functionality. My one request would be that this was brought back. That is from the (what worked best for me" file, and I suspect responses will be:

1) She doesn't take requests from macrumors

2) That is a terrible idea because...

I already know 1, and I'd have to concede 2 because as I stated, this is an opinion.
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:30 PM   #5
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Go Angy!

I always enjoy going to the apple store, but I do have to say the experience walking into a Burberry store is a bit better. Maybe it's because there are not hordes of people in the Burberry store but are in an apple store. However, in the apple store it always feels like a bit of a controlled chaos. The ability to scan and pay for my own stuff is helpful to avoid waiting for someone (but only helps if I have no questions). Otherwise, waiting for someone and then being handed off for set up has always been a bit weird to me. Hope she really amps up the experience. It is good now, but she can make it great - I hope.
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:32 PM   #6
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:33 PM   #7
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Exciting times!
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:34 PM   #8
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It all depends on the implementation, but the issues are exactly the right ones. It’s not that Apple Stores are bad, it’s mostly that the experience of buying something could be better and more streamlined, as could everything else the stores handle. It’s all a bit clunky and weird.

Sure, the stores are somewhat victims of their own success (too crowded, too little time to take care of everyone), but I’m sure it’s possible to come up with clever ideas to make that experience better.

During the last years (heck, during the last decade) the stores didn’t change much – and it’s about time for that to change.
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:41 PM   #9
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Customer Experience, Mobile Payments...Oh...there's a new idea
she is worth all of those millions
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TWSS37 View Post
So much airbrushing
Don't be rude.

She can afford make up. And she isn't exactly 21.
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TWSS37 View Post
So much airbrushing
Time for an Aperture update ?
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tanegashima View Post
Don't be rude.

She can afford make up. And she isn't exactly 21.
The whole picture is completely touched up for no apparent reason, complete with the background blurring. She CAN afford make up, she ISN'T 21 - but to have a professional photo that is so obviously doctored for no real purpose is absurd.
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:57 PM   #13
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Mobile payments, customer experience, and China

One of these is not like the others. Two are tactical, one is strategic.
Eisenhower helped plan the strategic Normandy invasion but was not responsible for tactically taking every hill.

The significance is that if Ahrendts is given such a broad range of duties, ranging from heavily strategic (Chinese store openings) to heavily tactical (mobile payments and customer service), they are really splitting her talents in two directions, setting her up to fully succeed in neither.

Hopefully Ahrendts can channel her inner Steve Jobs and find the right leaders to fight under her.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TWSS37 View Post
The whole picture is completely touched up for no apparent reason, complete with the background blurring. She CAN afford make up, she ISN'T 21 - but to have a professional photo that is so obviously doctored for no real purpose is absurd.
I assume you never photographed with a proper camera/lens for portraiture...

Large sensors, Long focal distances, and fast apertures make pictures like that all the time: soft details, sharp points of focus (eyes), blurred backgrounds.

Anyone can make a picture sort of like that without retouching just by using a 85/1.4 lens or 135/1.8 or something like that and a 35mm camera, or even APS-C.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TWSS37 View Post
So much airbrushing
She's a major executive from the fashion industry. If her publicity photo wasn't professionally polished, all her business peers would think she's gone insane. In her current position, street cred within her industry is massively more important than the opinion of some random tech blog reader.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:10 PM   #16
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She needs to know what Nike told Jobs and Johnson.

"Programmers beta test everything. Go beta rest your retail ideas as well"

Jobs and Johnson did this for Apple retail back in the day and it was the saving grace that helped to make the stores great. I hope she will follow this and beta test her ideas too.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:11 PM   #17
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I need a decent pantsuit.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanegashima View Post
I assume you never photographed with a proper camera/lens for portraiture...

Large sensors, Long focal distances, and fast apertures make pictures like that all the time: soft details, sharp points of focus (eyes), blurred backgrounds.

Anyone can make a picture sort of like that without retouching just by using a 85/1.4 lens or 135/1.8 or something like that and a 35mm camera, or even APS-C.
Yes, fine, but this isn't a senior picture for your yearbook... Note that I said professional photo - my opinion on the matter is that if this is the stock photo that's going to be circulated for her, it should not look like a photo that would have the same effects applied as you'd take for yourself at the bar to post on Facebook.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by firewood View Post
She's a major executive from the fashion industry. If her publicity photo wasn't professionally polished, all her business peers would think she's gone insane. In her current position, street cred within her industry is massively more important than the opinion of some random tech blog reader.
She WAS a major executive from the fashion industry. Now she is a VP for a tech company.

Why should her photo need to enhance her looks any more than a male VP at Apple?
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:22 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by TWSS37 View Post
She WAS a major executive from the fashion industry. Now she is a VP for a tech company.

Why should her photo need to enhance her looks any more than a male VP at Apple?
That was an old Burberry pic (presumably)

This is her Apple portrait. Not as flattering, but more genuine.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:24 PM   #20
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I'm not sure about Angela.

The videos of her desires to automate everything, is likely related to the bottom-line. Apple stores typically have 50-or so employees. In China, Apple will need to train as many customer-service people it can. (Translation: NO IBEACON!) If customer service isn't the best, most likely the Chinese people will just wholesale copy Apple technology or change the laws...

Remember, there are few patent protections, which can be enforced in China. Apple will have to do a better job than in the US. There's a lot at risk.

Also, Angela was known for outsourcing at Burberry. She closed the factories that were based in England, that no person in England wanted to do. There was a BBC documentary about the scandal.

Probably the biggest issue was in 2013. Once Burberry was firmly manufacturing in China, Burberry lost rights to it's trademark "Haymarket check" with a change of a Chinese Copyrights and possibly law.

Companies in China are now allowed to use Burberry's primary design in it's products, because it's symbolic of Scottish Heritage. People with pitchforks in England wanted to send Angela back to the US.


Still, whilst it's interesting and difficult to do business in China it would be strange if the China trademark authority allowed the Apple clone business to return in the country of China. But Steve Jobs isn't around anymore, and that DID happen before...

Last edited by MalcolmTucker; May 19, 2014 at 01:30 PM.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by iZac View Post
That was an old Burberry pic (presumably)

This is her Apple portrait. Not as flattering, but more genuine.
I didn't see anything attached, but if you are saying that her Apple photo is different then that is what the site should be using.

But who knows, the picture could be a mockup
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:35 PM   #22
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Wow another article about Angela Ahrendts where a number of the comments are focused on the photo accompanying the article instead of the article itself.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:36 PM   #23
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So much airbrushing
It's called experience and it's priceless.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:37 PM   #24
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In case anyone forgot, today is the 13th anniversary of the first apple retail store opening. What a coincidence!
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:41 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by kd5jos View Post
I was one of "those" people that had Pro Care. That was valuable to me. I ran a business that depended on functionality. My one request would be that this was brought back. That is from the (what worked best for me" file, and I suspect responses will be:

1) She doesn't take requests from macrumors

2) That is a terrible idea because...

I already know 1, and I'd have to concede 2 because as I stated, this is an opinion.
Well in my opinion, priority shouldn't be based on $$$.
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