Angela Ahrendts Discusses Apple's Experiential Retail Strategy in New Interview

In a new interview with Vogue Business this week, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has talked about Apple's approach to "experiential" retail. Namely, Ahrendts discussed Apple's ongoing expansion of Today at Apple sessions, which transform the company's retail stores into communal spaces for classes, how-to sessions, photo tours, and more.

AP keynote 2017 wrap up Angela Today at Apple
The interview took place near Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C., where Apple's next major retail store will open soon. Ahrendts explained that the location will become a community hub for the area, including field trips for local schools and off-site walking tours of the nearby sites in Washington, D.C., teaching attendees how to capture the best photos on iPhone or sketch landmarks on iPad.

Ahrendts remarked that Apple's goal is to continue the vision for retail that began with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

“Steve told the teams when he opened retail 18 years ago, ‘Your job is not to sell, your job is to enrich their lives and always through the lens of education.’”

“I think as humans we still need gathering places,” Ahrendts says. “And when you are serving digital natives, the thing they long for more than anything is human connection. Eye contact.”

To manage an employee network of 70,000 people, each retail worker starts their day using an app called Hello, including briefings on important matters for the day with videos from Ahrendts and her team. There's also a partner app, Loop, that acts as an internal social network for staff members.

The retail chief said this internal communication between Apple and its retail employees is critical, and what's missing from a lot of other brands.

“We use auto-translate and everybody in the world can see what Tom in Regent Street is doing. It’s a huge unlock, just getting all the stores to talk to one another.”

“Many retailers have become so big they’re removed from their own employees. They are lucky if they keep more than 20 per cent every year. We keep nearly 90 per cent of our full-time employees. We moved 20 per cent of the people in retail last year – they got promoted, took on new positions.”

This Spring will mark the two year anniversary of Today at Apple sessions, which began expanding worldwide in May 2017. Ahrendts spearheaded the launch, kicking off the transformation of traditional ‌Apple retail‌ stores into "modern-day town squares" and hubs of education. Before the debut of Today at Apple, the company hinted at its upcoming retail changes by dropping the word "Store" from the Apple Store branding.

In the article, Vogue Business pointed out that since 2017 nearly 10,000 brick-and-mortar stores in the United States have closed, and analysts predict one in four U.S. malls will be out of business by 2022. Ahrendts explained that Apple's approach is "very different...from traditional retailers," because the company focuses on the effect of its branding on customers over profitability.

"One of the things we've had to do at Apple is to stop looking at everything on a linear basis," she said. "You can't just look at the profitability of one store or the profitability of one app or the online business. You have to put it all together: one customer, one brand." According to Ahrendts, "The tragedy in retail" for other brands is that they are too focused on numbers instead of focusing on and investing in their own employees, "and in that environment, big isn’t always good."

You can check out the rest of the Vogue Business interview right here.

Top Rated Comments

apple_iBoy Avatar
33 months ago
I hate going into the Apple Store these days.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JustinRP37 Avatar
33 months ago
I avoid these ‘stores’ as much as possible. They are always crowded with angry people waiting for service at the ‘Genius’ Bar. No Apple you are not the next Starbucks. As much as Starbucks would like to sell me a $3,000 Latte Pro, it isn’t happening. Focus on technology and keeping people happy with your products.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheShadowKnows! Avatar
33 months ago
"I think as humans we still need gathering places," Ahrendts says. "And when you are serving digital natives, the thing they long for more than anything is human connection. Eye contact."

Serving digital natives? Eye contact?
Ahrendts speaking in tongues using platitudes and gobbledygook.

speaking in tongues ::= "A person speaking in tongues is usually in the midst of religious ecstasy, trance, or delirium." That sounds about right./s
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rob_2811 Avatar
33 months ago
Apple has recently spoilt the look and feel of my local "town square" by putting up adverts for for the iPhone XR and various trade in programs all over the front windows.

Glad they aren't just focussing on sales and numbers..
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rmoliv Avatar
33 months ago
She’s boring...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DevNull0 Avatar
33 months ago
ROFL. Apple needs to get over their idiotic hyperbole and get back to making products.

The Apple store has become a miserable experience. The stench in their stores is so gross if I do actually need to buy something I'll go into a best buy instead. The staff is rude and non-helpful and seems to try and evade customers. What a difference from 5 years ago. It wasn't that many years ago that they replaced the logic board on my MBP just because I complained the audio wasn't switching to the earphones properly when I plugged it in, even though they couldn't replicate the problem. These days they will say or do anything to avoid repairing things. I remember when my iPad 1's cable failed. The Apple worker didn't even test it, he took a brand new retail boxed one off the shelf, opened it, handed me the cable and took the broken one. Imagine an Apple store doing that now. Laughable. My first 3.5mm-lightening adapter failed less than a year after the 7 came out. So every single one was under warranty, and Apple still wouldn't replace it.

Ahrendts explained that the location will become a community hub for the area, including field trips for local schools and off-site walking tours of the nearby sites in Washington, D.C.
You're a cell phone store. Not a major attraction. It is just sad and pathetic if you're a field trip destination, and I'd sure be complaining to the principal if I were a parent of one of those kids. Let's see, should we take our kids on a tour of the Capitol or of the local Apple store. Disgusting Angela.

each retail worker starts their day using an app called Hello, including briefings on important matters for the day with videos from Ahrendts and her team.
Wow...Cringe. 1984 is here and thy name is Apple. I feel sorry for Apple retail workers having to work for this hag.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

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 ...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...
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 ...
macos monterey tidbits feature copy

Apple Releases New macOS 12 Monterey Public Beta

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:19 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third public beta of the macOS 12 Monterey beta to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to test the new macOS Monterey software ahead of its public release. The third beta comes two weeks after Apple released the second macOS Monterey public beta. Public beta testers can download the macOS 12 Monterey update from the Software Update section of the System...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Apple Releases New Public Betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:16 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to download and test the new updates ahead of their fall release. The third public betas come two weeks after Apple released the second public betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS 15 updates over the air after...
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...