Apple Retail Employees Vent Frustrations About Stores Becoming Less 'Shopper-Friendly' in Recent Years

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 7, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    A new article by Bloomberg has highlighted some customer and employee frustrations with the state of Apple's retail business, particularly in the wake of changes introduced by former retail chief Angela Ahrendts. According to some current and former Apple employees, the retail stores have become more focused on branding than satisfying shoppers, leading to more complaints lodged against some stores.


    Ahrendts left Apple last month after first joining the company in 2014, and Apple executive Deirdre O'Brien has succeeded Ahrendts in the retail position. The shake-up happened as Apple's retail business faces more and more issues alongside slowing iPhone sales.

    O'Brien is now tasked with revitalizing Apple's retail business, even if that means moving away from the idea of Apple retail stores as social gathering places, which was the initiative spearheaded by Ahrendts. The former retail chief built stores with less clearly defined locations for checking out and speaking to Apple's Geniuses, in an effort to promote the company as a luxury shopping brand amid the launch of the first Apple Watch and its $17,000 Apple Watch Edition models.

    According to Bloomberg's sources, this led to customer confusion and was accompanied by other issues, like less skilled employees and the removal of the traditional Genius Bar at some stores.
    One former Apple executive said that O'Brien is looking to borrow from the past and break up Apple stores into more clearly defined sections. These include areas that promote Apple's growing services business, like Apple Music and Apple TV+. A few employees speculated that she will also bring back the original Genius Bar.

    To help boost sales in the interim, Apple has begun offering discounts on iPhones, cheap financing, trade-in offers, and more. These offers were seen around the world, including specific promotions in Australia and China, with Apple typically e-mailing customers about the limited-time discounts. In the United States, Apple even updated its website to promote a monthly payment option for iPhone XR and XS trade-ups.

    The first Apple retail store that will open under O'Brien will be the Carnegie Library location in Washington, D.C. on May 11. As of now, Apple still sees its stores as communal gathering places. According to CEO Tim Cook, "We should probably come up with a name other than 'store,' because it's more of a place for the community to use in a much broader way."

    Visit Bloomberg to read the full article: "How the Apple Store Lost Its Luster".

    Article Link: Apple Retail Employees Vent Frustrations About Stores Becoming Less 'Shopper-Friendly' in Recent Years
  2. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Exactly, Apple stores have gone downhill when Ahrendts had control...
  3. Digital Dude macrumors 6502a

    Digital Dude

    Oct 12, 2008
    Arizona where freedom still means something
    The open air store layout is chaotic, cold and dysfunctional. Employee knowledge of products has dropped significantly in recent years.
  4. B4U macrumors 68020


    Oct 11, 2012
    Undisclosed location
    And when people criticize her bad decisions, they are labeled as misogynists just because the bad decisions are made by a woman.
    But the fact is, the decisions themselves are simply bad no matter who made them.
  5. Baymowe335 macrumors 601

    Oct 6, 2017
    They need to separate sales and service. Angela needed to go.
  6. BigMcGuire Contributor

    Jan 10, 2012
    Can't tell you how many times I was told to stand somewhere and wait, only to hear someone call my name somewhere else in the store and have to walk over to them and ask: Are you asking for me? (They were).

    I don't go to the Apple Store very often but you would think that this is not something difficult to do?

    The biggest "problem" I see with Apple Stores is that they're really packed. The appointment system basically guaranteed us service when we walk in, I like it.

    Either way, my service at local Apple Stores has been absolutely amazing. Apple support (replacing my broken phone in 6 minutes, for example) is one reason why I pay the Apple Tax if you want to call it that.

    Happy to see they're working on improving this!
  7. macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2018
    Melbourne, Australia
    Totally agree with less knowledgable staffs. I've talked to so many stupid staffs and in most cases I know more than them. One genius even refused to repair my MacBook with a bad hinge because he thinks there's nothing wrong with it, I insisted for him to open it up and finally he came back to me admitting the fault.
  8. Scottsoapbox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2014
    Ah corporate America, where one executive gets a bonus for changing something and the next executive gets a bonus for changing it back. :rolleyes:

    But change is often confused with progress in both corporations and forums. o_O
  9. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    Less and less third party accessories, more and more pointless expensive stuff, tens of versions of old and new iPad, iPhones and MacBook scattered across tables, nobody knows which one is the latest version. A bulk of store area is used to place... stools on it with random kids and grandmas sitting on it doing nothing, with a giant crazy screen playing nonsense ads. Noisier than a market. Extremely difficult to find someone to help, even for checking out. What is a Genius Bar? Apple Store's service has never been this bad before 2015 or so. These 2-3 years has negated the good reputation of the Apple Store built up in decades.

    And god damn it I cannot return any goods in Hong Kong's Apple Stores since 2017. WTF? Tim Cook may care about your privacy but he never cares about Apple Store's service.
  10. jweinraub macrumors 6502


    Jun 26, 2007
    Sol III
    If I was going there for a recall, I had to make a genius appointment to drop off the phone. They had to still run diagnostics on it. I brought two phones in and had to wait four hours for that phone to be seen. I was furious at that. I don't know if that was Angela or Tim policy but how the stores are run with returns/exchanges/and what not is stupid.

    You would never see something like that at Best Buy. Why did Apple think that was such a good idea?
  11. sxdev macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2009
    I've not noticed it but few (all female) friends don't like visits to the Apple store since it "smells like gym".
  12. Spock macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2002
    The crowds of people make it difficult to find what you want and like others have said, the lack of knowledgeable staff doesn’t help. They also shouldn’t do training on demo machines, I made a trip to the Apple Store so I could take a look at the iMac Pro and the “Genius” was using it to show a 90 year old how to organize her photos.
  13. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    Finally, someone might do something about the fact it's actually quite hard to walk into an Apple Store and just buy something.
  14. poe diddley macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2005
    greensboro nc
    in all seriousness its a gigantic mess. there's nothing i hate more now than to have to go into one of those places. especially if i need service on my device. employee and most especially genius knowledge is at an all time low. it's just pre approved apple scripts now. no one has any legit tech knowledge. sad really
  15. Ronlap macrumors regular


    Sep 7, 2007
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I agree with you. I went into a San Francisco Apple store. Both the iPhone and MacBook tables had 6 devices quietly running demos, and nothing was marked. With the removal of the identifier on the back of the iPhone, I had no clue whatsoever what was in my hand. Same with the MacBook -- no specs anywhere thus making comparison between models useless.

    And there was an entire wall full of metal posts with iPhone cases mounted on them -- at least 3 dozen. Great for decoration but a total waste of space.
  16. BootsWalking macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2014
    Customer: "My iPhone isn't working right. Can you fix it?"
    Genius: "We sure can! Here are the new iPhone models we currently offer"
  17. itsmilo macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2016
    Why would you gather at an Apple Store? That’s such a random idea and never even occurred to me.

    „Hey bro. Wanna hang today? Sure. Let’s mEet at 4 pm at the Apple Store, i haven’t seen you in a while!“

    Also I agree that it has gotten worse. You check in and they just tell you to wait with no idea if they have forgotten about you or not. It’s worse than sitting at a waiting room at the doctors office. Why don’t they just give you a number or a buzzer and when it’s your turn you get informed via display at the store or the gadget buzzing
  18. Markgnyc2 macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2013
    I agree with the stores becoming less shopper friendly. I was buying a Macbook Air after the new models came out last year and the store was not crowded but I had to go into the queue and wait 45 minutes just to purchase the computer. There should be a clear way for a customer to purchase something (especially if they know exactly what they want) without an extended wait.
  19. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    East Coast, USA
    I haven't had any problems when making an appointment ahead of time. Walk in, get in seen in a few minutes and walk out.

    When I randomly walk in to buy a cable or something it takes way too long. The first person who looks like they can check me out usually can't so someone else gets called over. They really should just let me scan the accessory with my phone and pay right there.
  20. PeterL111 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2015
    I miss the day when Apple displayed new devices at the store front windows. It gives me an idea that new products are out. Now, it is just seeing clients in lines. For some reason the stores remind me of hospitals.
  21. slineaudi macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2009
    Maybe my local Apple store is just above average, but I like the changes. As soon as you walk in, someone asks you why you are visiting. If you need service, they enter you in the service queue and then you're free to roam around the store. If you need sales, they direct you to the product and enter you in the sales queue. In both cases, after a short wait an employee comes right to you and then helps you with the sales or service you need. I've done this several times and it's always been a much better experience than any other retail store I can think of. People always seemed to find the old genius bar confusing. While being helped, other customers would keep walking up to the bar and trying to squeeze in to get help. The 'bar' model didn't indicate there is actually a queue and someone will help you when it's your turn.
  22. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    I’ve never had an issue at an Apple store. Just a couple weeks ago I was there because I dropped my phone and needed the screen replaced. They took my phone and within an hour I was back at the store with a completely replaced screen. Seems to me the biggest issues with the stores are how crowded they can be. I’m not sure there’s much Apple can do outside of building more stores. Bringing back a Genius Bar sign isn’t going to make the stores less crowded.

    If Jason Snell’s contacts are right the new head of retail will be pushing employees to sell more product. One example he gave is using Today at Apple sessions to sell product. People complain about the stores now but will hate them even more when they become just another Best Buy.
  23. MyMacintosh macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2012
    This has been my experience as well. They barely even greet you when you walk in.
  24. Benjamin Frost Suspended

    Benjamin Frost

    May 9, 2015
    London, England
    This rings so true with me!

    I hate that there is no till to queue and pay at. Hate all the staff wandering aimlessly.

    The last straw was when I tried to buy an iTunes gift card. I had to speak to FIVE members of staff! Absolutely, utterly ridiculous. It was the exact opposite of what Apple used to be known for: ease of use.

    Don't get me started on the appearance of the staff...
  25. zoozx macrumors 6502


    Jul 23, 2002

    That ^^^^^

    Stores are Uncomfortable to say the least.

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