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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Angela Ahrendts, Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail, was the opening speaker for Fortune's annual Most Powerful Women Summit, speaking a little about the next-generation Apple retail stores, her vision for Apple's physical presence and more.


Ahrendts started the evening by talking about her background and how Apple CEO Tim Cook recruited her, mentioning that she originally tried to convince Cook she wasn't right for the job. Ahrendts said that her big pitch for Apple was to integrate Apple's retail and online stores and turn the company's physical prescence into a bigger part of the communities they operate it. Cook, much to her surprise, loved the idea.

She said that she believes that "the bigger the company, the bigger the obligation" of that company to do something other than rake in profits. One of the things on her agenda was education, so Ahrendts planned on a next-generation of Apple retail stores that could function as something more than retail stores.

The new next-generation store designs are the culmination of that vision, featuring a town square concept that's focused less on selling things and more on enriching lives. She notes that the retail side of the company tries to hire candidates based on their empathy and compassion so that they can enrich lives rather than salesmanship. For instance, Apple wants to teach kids things they can't learn in school, which is why the retail stores will start hosting Swift programming lessons for kids, teachers, and parents.

The lessons, which are currently available for teachers at Apple Union Square in San Francisco, will slowly roll out to next-generation stores by next year. Kids, teachers, and parents will be able to attend Apple retail stores and learn to code for free three times a day. Currently, Apple provides educational camps for kids during the summer.

Another driving force behind the next-generation stores was making the retail spaces represent the products better. "How do we make it so the best of Apple can come together in one place?" Ahrendts said they asked as they designed the new stores. Their solution was to map out everything people did on their devices and integrate them into the stores, which meant a larger focus on the liberal arts.

applecreative-800x490.png

Ahrendts said that she's always been in a believer of Steve Jobs' "technology married with the liberal arts" philosophy, and that she wanted to increase the presence of liberal arts in the stores. She explained the new Creative Pro position at Apple retail locations is the liberal arts equivalent of the Genius, and that the two are equal in terms of importance. Creative Pros are supposed to help you figure out what to do with your Apple product, which could range from photography lessons to coding to learning how to make movies or music.

Another way of integrating the liberal arts with the retail stores is turning the stores into community centers. "On the weekend you'll see an artist sketching things or a guy playing a guitar," Ahrendts said. The goal is to help foster human experiences that draw people out of their digital bubbles. The town square concept also extends to naming. The accessory-laden "avenues" represent avenues bordering a town square, while the giant screens are called "forums" because they act as a hub for many activities.

Finally, Ahrendts said she considers the retail store the biggest product Apple has. Employee retention is also strong, with Ahrendts saying they have an 87 percent retention rate, better than the average retail retention rate of 20 percent. The company plans to have 95 next-generation Apple stores open by the end of the year.

Ahrendts has been the head of Apple's retail efforts since 2014, when she left her job as CEO of Burberry to join the Cupertino company. Earlier this month, Ahrendts had her title shortened from Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores to just Senior Vice President of Retail, reflecting Apple's new vision of tightly integrating its online and retail efforts. Similarly, Apple dropped the "Stores" from Apple store branding in August, reflecting a more singular experience as well as Apple's efforts to turn the store into more than retail outfit.

Article Link: Angela Ahrendts Talks Concepts Behind Next-Generation Apple Stores at Most Powerful Women Summit
 

BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
1,676
3,345
I've often wondered why they don't have coffee shops within Apple stores..
Sure, I see the down-sides and hazards (!).. but it would not only be extra profits as they steal a large group of customers away from SB and C, it would fit with their ethos for the stores, and culture.
 

efktd

macrumors 6502
Sep 29, 2011
469
499
USA
Just how exactly do you pronounce her last name? Ahh-Rents?

Apple Pay didn't work for me when I went to buy a case for my phone last time... But at least I got to check out without a sales associate; great thing because they were no where to be found.
 

Aluminum213

macrumors 68040
Mar 16, 2012
3,560
4,231
I've often wondered why they don't have coffee shops within Apple stores..
Sure, I see the down-sides and hazards (!).. but it would not only be extra profits as they steal a large group of customers away from SB and C, it would fit with their ethos for the stores, and culture.

yes, let's have more lines and crowds in the Apple Store, that will add to the experience
 

tentales

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2010
771
1,184
I've often wondered why they don't have coffee shops within Apple stores..
Sure, I see the down-sides and hazards (!).. but it would not only be extra profits as they steal a large group of customers away from SB and C, it would fit with their ethos for the stores, and culture.
Coffee & Electronics don't mix well, as anyone can attest to when they've spilled a cuppa on their keyboards.
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.... how Apple CEO Tim Cook recruited her, mentioning that she originally tried to convince Cook she wasn't right for the job.

She had that right.
Guess Cook was enamoured with the idea of turning Apple from a tech company into a fashion house.
In that sense, he hired the right person.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
35,568
38,682
I've only had poor experiences at Apple stores since she took over. Next!

So your saying, Angela Ahrendts is the reason every one of your Apple Store visits has been "Poor experiences." Feel free to elaborate on how she has affected your experience and contrived to your anecdotal Dismay.

My visits to my Apple Stores and other Apple Stores around the country for that matter, have been excellent under her reign. Helpful staff, courteous and most of all, assertive in the right areas to answer My questions or concerns. Maybe I should commemorate Angela for providing an experience where I will and want to return in the future.
 
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Black Belt

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2007
957
822
California
So your saying, Angela Ahrendts is the reason every one of your Apple Store visits has been "Poor experiences." Feel free to elaborate on how she has affected your experience and contrived to your anecdotal Dismay.

My visits to my Apple Stores and other Apple Stores around the country for that matter, have been excellent under her reign. Help staff, courteous and most of all, assertive in the right areas to answer My questions or concerns. Maybe I should commemorate Angela for providing an experience where I will and want to return in the future.

Lookie Loos are given priority over people who actually want to buy something. It is a pain in the ass getting someone to get you product and check you out.
 

typecase

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2005
360
299
Hey, at least she's gotten ONE thing right.

Hahaha. She should have trusted her gut instinct. I will agree that since her arrival, each of my Apple store visits have been deplorable. Considering this is a store, I'd normally want to visit despite knowing all the current products, that's big change. Also, getting rid of the Genius Bar appointments from the App has been a real bummer.
 

Black Belt

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2007
957
822
California
Hahaha. She should have trusted her gut instinct. I will agree that since her arrival, each of my Apple store visits have been deplorable. Considering this is a store, I'd normally want to visit despite knowing all the current products, that's big change. Also, getting rid of the Genius Bar appointments from the App has been a real bummer.

Agreed, the stores are utter chaos. Drives me up the wall. I only go now if I have to, I am no longer happy going to look at their wares for a future buy. The place is crowded from people standing around waiting. You can't get to the stuff you want to look at! Customers have to fight to be serviced. That's insanely bad.
 

TheFluffyDuck

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2012
665
1,723
If Apple were as diligent releasing ground breaking products as they are at filling "equality" quoters, we would have had several product refreshes by now, and not staring down the last two months of the year with NO NEW MACS.

But hey, nylon watch bands!
 

richinaus

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2014
1,751
1,449
I've only had poor experiences at Apple stores since she took over. Next!
Exactly. I don't think she is right for the job, and anyone worth their $$ in the retail design industry knows that a wholistic approach in terms of online and built stores are the future - and that won Timmy over, give me a break.

I have been consistently disappointed with the retail stores since she took over.
 

Larry-K

macrumors 68000
Jun 28, 2011
1,852
2,316
The new next-generation store designs are the culmination of that vision, featuring a town square concept that's focused less on selling things and more on enriching lives. She notes that the retail side of the company tries to hire candidates based on their empathy and compassion so that they can enrich lives rather than salesmanship.
After my last trip, I honestly didn't think there was any way they could be less focused on selling things in the "Stores, Apple".

Some times, at a retail sales establishment, you just need a salesperson.

As for these new offerings, I'm holding out for "Empathy and Compassion Pro".
 

Mr Fusion

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2007
812
853
Haven't stepped inside an Apple Store in years. Half the merchandise on the floor is outdated (Macs) the iPads are still useless and the phones are still fugly. The colors they use for their products look like an Easter celebration gone horribly wrong. I walk past one every once in a while, see nothing new from the outside, sigh and continue on...

Sad what this company has become.
 

alanlau007

macrumors member
Jun 9, 2009
59
21
Irvine
I don't have much poor experience at Apple Store sine she took over.

However, the Apple's website, I feel the online store experience has got worst after she took over.

I'm not sure if she has anything to do with that, but her former title, Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, suggested she does.
 
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