Apple's Ron Johnson on the Retail Store Experience

141422 covent garden macs
Mac displays at Apple's Covent Garden retail store in London

RetailWeek reports (subscription required, via 9 to 5 Mac) on Apple's retail store experience in the wake of the opening of its massive Covent Garden store in London. The report covers a number of details about Apple's retail store history and the Covent Garden store specifically, but also offers some interesting quotes from Apple's Senior Vice President for Retail Ron Johnson about the company's philosophy.

Johnson claims that the company embraced the retail store initiative as an opportunity to show off the company's sleek product designs and innovative technology. But even with the company now operating 300 retail stores, Johnson notes that most people still have never touched an iPad.

Explaining the stores' appeal he says: "10 years ago, we decided that, as a company that wanted to win in innovation, we wanted customers to experience the product at first hand."

That focus led Apple to its retail store concept, where stores function less like traditional shops and more like showrooms where people can play with Apple products as a destination in its own right, with sales taking something of a back seat in the store experience.

That meant the creation of a "gold standard" for Apple stores. While many retailers view stores by measures such as square footage and sales, Apple takes a different approach. "Our primary objective is to create a place that people will love," says Johnson. Covent Garden is the most significant iteration yet of that attitude. "We've not only created a store, we've created a place for people to be," he says.

With the fluid staffing and layout of Apple's retail stores, along with new technologies that allow staff members to execute sales from anywhere on the floor, the retail store becomes more about customers coming in to try out products, learning from sales staff, and then ultimately transitioning to sales in many cases.

Johnson says high-pressure sales techniques are alien to Apple's philosophy - and, in any case, the enthusiasm for Apple's goods from both customers and staff means there is no need for the hard sell. He says staff are taught "to look in the heart, not the pocket book" when dealing with customers. Staff, he says, are there "to help you buy".

Johnson noted last November that Apple was looking to employ a shift in its retail store strategy, looking to open larger stores to handle the increased traffic as the company's popularity has continued to surge while also placing more emphasis on "significant stores" offering iconic presences like the recently-opened Covent Garden and Shanghai stores.

Popular Stories

airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
10th Generation iPad Render

10th-Generation iPad With Major Design Changes Reportedly in Production Ahead of September Launch

Monday August 15, 2022 8:02 pm PDT by
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes. A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday August 15, 2022 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...
iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
apple watch se

Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series 8: New Features to Expect If You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday August 15, 2022 2:44 am PDT by
The Apple Watch SE was announced in September 2020 and has been a popular Apple Watch model for customers looking for their first smartwatch or an affordable Apple Watch. Apple Watch SE customers may be wondering, however, what's in store for them with the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 and what new features they can expect. Continue reading to find out. Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series ...
Apple Watch Series 3 v 8 1

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch Series 8: 20 Major New Features and Changes for Customers Upgrading

Tuesday August 16, 2022 6:52 am PDT by
It's crazy to think about, but next month will mark five years since Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3. Despite being a severely antiquated smartwatch, the Series 3 has remained at the bottom of Apple's lineup for $199. Suppose you're still holding on to your Apple Watch Series 3. In that case, this article will list all the major new features and changes you'll get if you decide to...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Purple

Apple Planning to Hold iPhone 14 Event on September 7

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:51 am PDT by
Apple is aiming to hold its first fall event on Wednesday, September 7, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The event will focus on the iPhone 14 models and the Apple Watch Series 8. The standard iPhone 14 models are expected to get few changes, but the iPhone 14 Pro models will include updated camera technology, the removal of the notch in favor of a pill-shaped and hole-punch cutout, an A16...