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

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.

angelaahrendts.jpg
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.

Ahrendts and new online stores VP Kupbens are seeking to improve mobile payments in Apple's retail stores and mobile apps for both the online and in-person purchases. Ahrendts is said to be eyeing a major focus on blurring the lines between Apple's online and physical stores in order to improve the overall experience for Apple customers.

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.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Top Rated Comments

Tanegashima Avatar
94 months ago
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.
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.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TWSS37 Avatar
94 months ago
So much airbrushing
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
firewood Avatar
94 months ago
So much airbrushing
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.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tanegashima Avatar
94 months ago
So much airbrushing

Don't be rude.

She can afford make up. And she isn't exactly 21.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tankmaze Avatar
94 months ago
She's hitting the right note, keep it up.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
parlour Avatar
94 months ago
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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 4: Safari Tweaks, MagSafe Battery Pack Support, Notification Updates and More

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:47 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, introducing additional refinements to the new features that are coming in the software updates. In these betas, Apple has introduced changes for Safari, Notifications, Focus mode, and more. Safari Updates Apple is continuing to refine the design of Safari on the iPhone, and in iOS 15, there are tweaks to improve usability. ...
new m1 chip

Tim Cook on Apple Deciding to Manufacture Components: 'We Ask Ourselves If We Can Do Something Better'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 3:04 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how Apple decides what components to purchase and what components to develop, and Cook said that Apple asks if it can be done better. We ask ourselves if we can do something better. If we can deliver a better product. If we can buy something in the market and it's great...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...