Apple Retail Under Angela Ahrendts: Focus on Mobile Payments, Customer Experience, and China

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 19, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. macrumors 65816

    Feb 4, 2011
  3. macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2012
  4. macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
    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.
  5. macrumors 68000

    Cuban Missles

    Dec 6, 2012
    My heart is in Camagüey, the rest in the USA
    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.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2012
    Cupertino, CA
  7. C64
    macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
  8. macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2007
    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.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2011
    Michigan, US
    Customer Experience, Mobile Payments...Oh...there's a new idea :eek:
    she is worth all of those millions
  10. macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2009
    Don't be rude.

    She can afford make up. And she isn't exactly 21.
  11. macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2003
    Time for an Aperture update ? ;)
  12. macrumors 65816

    Feb 4, 2011
    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.
  13. macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2013
    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.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2009
    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.
  15. macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    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.
  16. macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    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.
  17. macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2009
  18. macrumors 65816

    Feb 4, 2011
    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.


    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?
  19. macrumors 65816


    Apr 28, 2003
    That was an old Burberry pic (presumably)

    This is her Apple portrait. Not as flattering, but more genuine.
  20. MalcolmTucker, May 19, 2014
    Last edited: May 19, 2014

    macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2014
    I travel a lot.
    Just before hired: Burberry lost its trademark in China

    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...
  21. macrumors 65816

    Feb 4, 2011
    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 ;)
  22. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    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. :rolleyes:
  23. macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2003
    It's called experience and it's priceless.
  24. macrumors 6502


    Feb 8, 2013
    New York
    In case anyone forgot, today is the 13th anniversary of the first apple retail store opening. What a coincidence!
  25. macrumors member


    Jul 27, 2009
    New York City
    Well in my opinion, priority shouldn't be based on $$$.

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