How Angela Ahrendts' Burberry Experience Could Drive the Future of Apple Retail

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Later this year, Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts will move to Apple as a new senior vice president in charge of Apple's retail and online sales efforts. Before Apple announced her hiring in October, Fast Company spoke extensively with Ahrendts across several non-Apple related interviews. However, since the announcement, she has unsurprisingly declined any interview requests.

    In a wide-ranging profile, Fast Company looks at Ahrendts' job history and work style, the troubles Apple Retail has seen in the past few years, and how her experiences at Burberry could shape Apple Retail's growth going forward.


    Ahrendts' is not a tech-savvy geek, but she has a vision for how to speak for customers. In an interview with Vishal Sikka, a development executive at SAP, Fast Co. discovered that she exhibits some Steve Jobs-esque tendencies:
    Beyond that, Ahrendts put extensive amounts of technology into the sales experience at Burberry. She created a back-end system that allows every Burberry salesperson, across 330 stores, to access all the data that the company has collected on individual customers, including data as detailed as whether customers prefer to browse merchandise with assistance or to be left alone.

    The company uses RFID tags extensively, allowing customers to bring a piece of merchandise to a mirror and a video will appear with a model wearing the coat. She also oversaw the creation of a website where users can upload photographs of themselves wearing Burberry attire, allowing users to share their looks and potential buyers to imagine themselves in Burberry garb.

    Finally, Ahrendts appears to take a page out of Ron Johnson's communicative playbook. Johnson was famous for the videos he recorded to be played to all Apple Retail employees at quarterly staff meetings, and Ahrendts currently does weekly videos for Burberry's 11,000 employees.
    Angela Ahrendts will join Apple this spring and will continue in her role as Burberry CEO until then. In his email to Apple employees announcing the hire, Tim Cook said Ahrendts' shares Apple's values and "focus on innovation" and that she "embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people".

    Apple Retail has been without a leader since John Browett was fired in October of 2012.

    Article Link: How Angela Ahrendts' Burberry Experience Could Drive the Future of Apple Retail
  2. Aussi3 macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2012
    Facesticks on the App store
    I think she will fit in great :) excellent addition to apple
  3. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    She cares what consumers want and listens to what they have to say? That actually sounds like the exact opposite of how Steve Jobs was.
  4. Rogifan macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    From the article:
    Sounds like she and Ive are on the same wave length. Hopefully they'll be joined at the hip. :)
  5. WisdomSeed macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2012
    Its nice to know that Apple may finally add some kind of profile of the customer to their retail employees. Because it would be nice for them to know which Apple products I own, so I don't get treated like a leper in the stores.
  6. brianb568 macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2013
    Why don't you stop insulting dead people? How disgusting.
  7. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Back to the store topic:

    Hopefully someone, somewhere will fix the store experience when you know what you want, and you want to buy it right then and there.

    I went to what I wanted to buy. I then turned around (e.g., not facing the wall) and tried to make eye contact with one of the hordes of Apple folk around. I waited 8 minutes (I timed it) before I raised my hand, and even after doing that it took 2 minutes for someone to notice.

    That's a long time to wait for a over $1000 purchase.

    The number of times I've actually needed help at the store are few. Yes, people who read MacRumors are in the distinct minority, but it wouldn't take much at all to fix this. No, I don't want an app. Give some poor schmuck a bright yellow tshirt and spread the word that that's the person to go to for quick purchases...

    Rant over...
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I'm not sure that was an insult so much as an observation. It doesn't seem to be a secret that Apple has never really been in the business to give consumers what they seem to cry for as much as what they seem to think we want. I've said it a number of times, I've read it a number of times, and I will continue to think that way. For example, many people discussed wanting a larger iPhone. When it came it was only larger by way of height and not width. People buy the phones, they continue to buy it, and Apple counts their pennies yet still, people tend to long for some massive screen iPhone to be released. This is not to say everyone wants it, just that you do see people on the internet favoring this idea.

    Again, observations aren't really insults unless you are somehow overly sensitive to what is said about the late Steve Jobs. If the poster said Steve Jobs was a tool or something, then that's really an insult. A silly one, but an insult nonetheless.

    She sounds like someone who can be good for the company given her past experience.
  9. crossifixio macrumors regular


    Mar 21, 2007
    Not sure if that was sarcasm but Steve didn't care what consumers want in a way and this was unique because he managed to create products that people never imagined! If you read his biography by Isaacson you will get the idea!
  10. Illusion986 macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2009
    I always feel like an idiot walking around apple store looking for help and when I find someone lots of the time they ask me to wait for another person or send me across the store "see that guy with blond short hair? Ask him he will help you with your purchase." ......But last time I went they had small corner that was fenced off with one guy responsible for popular product purchases where you tell him what you want he hands it to you takes your money and you can leave without having to chase anyone down so they are doing some changes
  11. Alumeenium macrumors regular

    May 15, 2013
    order what you want online for pickup if you "know" what you "want"

    it's stupid easy, otherwise you look like a tire kicker, just like every other punter in the store
  12. Alumeenium macrumors regular

    May 15, 2013
    it was easier when the teams had different shirts

    I can't tell the difference between a genius, a manager, and a salesperson

    who is supposed to help, why is everyone else standing around

    why don't you know the answers to my stupid questions

    srsly though if Apple made their computers any more "dumbed" down for grandma, we'd have some real problems, they need to stop catering to the bottom of the barrel tech morons, go shop at Walmart…
  13. Atrin1 macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2012
    i had the total opposite experience you did.

    when i went in to buy my ipad air 32gb, it took me probably 5 minutes in total to walk out the door with my new gadget. the door person asked if i need help, i said ipad air 32gb space grey please. she took me to another person that was in charge of the sales of the ipads. she told him what i wanted, he grabbed it, asked if that was it and began ringing me up. i had 3 visa gift cards that totaled to $325 plus the remaining balance on my debit card. and it was a breeze.
  14. anomie Suspended

    Jun 29, 2010
    They have to do something. Apple stores are the most cold and boring places I have ever been to. All those ikea style tables make it look like a warehouse at best.
    If my first contact with Apple was trough a retail store I had never become a customer.
  15. bushman4 macrumors 68000

    Mar 22, 2011
    She could be a big + for Apple as her ideas and savvy have been proven
  16. teknikal90 macrumors 68030


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    maybe to you...... everything is cold and boring if youve been there 50,000 times...but i still think the apple store is still the best store out there...
    what electronics store is better???
  17. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

    Dec 15, 2013
    New York
  18. OneBagTravel macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2013
    This is so true. You walk in, find someone willing to make eye contact and then have to direct you to someone who directs you to someone who puts your name into their iPad. Not very efficient.
  19. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    Mod Note: This thread was closed temporarily to remove all the off-topic discussion of looks and gender. Now that it's reopened please remain on-topic. Otherwise, this thread may be closed again, perhaps permanently.
  20. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    I'm not insulting anyone. Jobs famously made it clear that he ignored what the public had to say, he didn't think it was useful. No focus groups. And his well known quote about people asking for a faster horse instead of asking for a car.

    Among other things she talks about what people are sharing on social media, which seems pretty much the opposite of "jobs-esque".
  21. 244620, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  22. BrockC macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    I can't think of anyone else who would do the job better than her. I'm excited to see how well she does.
  23. MacHumors macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2013
    A Kind of Alaska
    "communicates constantly with her 11,000 employees…"
    That's got to get irritating.
  24. 3282868, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    3282868 macrumors 603

    Jan 8, 2009
    True, yet pretty soon there will be little to no floor specialists, just "Geniuses" fixed iDevices, a "Pick-up" section and a store manager watching from the back office camera's. If a system I want isn't in stock, speaking with a specialist may help me better determine the "right" system that may be in stock and tailored to my needs. Otherwise, back of house may have a unloaded inventory.

    I understand iPad's and iPhone's are their current bread and butter, yet once upon a time Apple specialists had to have experience in technology, "Geniuses" had two week training in Cupertino and had to have at least an associates. Now it's part time "Floor Specialists" and iDevice repairs. I left right after the iPhone launch, and noticed all too painfully how the staff switched from well trained and informed specialists to reps who didn't know the differences between OS X and Windows systems let alone HDD and SSD, RAM, etc. I would believe those to be crucial in selling computer systems.

    Ahrendts is excellent in this position; a superior understanding in Industrial Organizational Psychology who has brought practicality and functionality by bridging technology with customer relations without eliminating the middle man. Improving Apple's retail experience is sorely needed, especially with better trained floor specialists. I loathe the idea that specialists are dispensable. Amazon CEO's idea of "drone's" for instant Prime customer deliveries made me nauseous. I don't need drone's replacing delivery men nor do I want neighborhood's with delivery drones also used to collect data in a joint venture with the government and Amazon, a hinted at compromise that may push this idea to market.
  25. vomhorizon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2013
    There are many levels to what consumers want...There are things you and I want in a particular product, changes perhaps then their are things that we would want if we knew what they were..A lot of times people are fairly good at recognizing needs or shortfalls in their tech or consumer product expereince but its tough for consumers to pin point a sollution..SJ was solid at finding what people would really like to have, getting apple to build it, then marketting it / showing people that this is what they really need ! IPOD , IPHONE and IPAD are perfect examples of giving the consumers the chance to expereince totally new form of technology (as an expereince (not nessesarily as hardware) ) and then convincing millions that this was infact what they really needed...Look at tablet sales post IPAD, others realized that people around the world really wanted TABLETS after they saw what apple did with the ipad...Steve was able to see the need for a tablet expereince (Again tabs may have existed earlier, but steve was able to provide an expereince that a heck of a lot of people wanted) and provide what the consumers desired long before others were able to zero in on it! In fact many top companies laughed at the IPAD only to realize later how it was essentially a market maker.

    The IPHONE SIZE question and giving the consumers what they want, is something totally different...These are changes to existing products which apple obviously has to make the call on while factoring in the umpteen compromises that it faces..There may be 100 different parameters on which apple has to make a call going in for a product refresh every year, but they do not nessarily make a 100 changes..Apple has not yet shown willingness to do a major form factor change every year..It would satisfy a lot of customers and feel like apple listens to its customers..but what about the increase in the cost of device due to the change in process? What if apple jacks up the price? Then apple will look like its not listening to customers :)...For a company that makes essentially 1 phone each year, compromises are the name of the game...

    Innovative, landmark technology companies are seldom run on customer democracy and feedback, they are run by employees, management and R&D departments that are filled with extremely smart visionaries with plenty of foresight..

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