retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There is a great interview in Fast Company with Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president for retail and online stores, in which she talks about the future of the Apple retail experience.

Speaking at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, "Ahrendts spent much time talking about how to refocus the stores around Apple’s new services, some of which were not products. While the company has become masterful in selling iPhones and iMacs, Ahrendts says, 'How should we handle Apple Pay? How should we help customers download Apple Music? They're not products we’re selling—we get no credit for doing that at all. Yet that’s good for Apple and the customer'."

The story goes on: "Ahrendts bemoaned how fragmented the Apple retail experience has been in the past, with Apple.com separate from the Apple Store’s website, and both those separate from the in-store experience. 'I asked Tim (Cook) a very simple question: Why do we do it this way?' she recalled. "He said, ‘I don’t know—we’ve always done it this way.’ The company is now working to better unite its online and offline experience."

And: "One of the first things she decided to do was create a better way to communicate with her 60,000 Apple retail employees. 'My kids were visiting from London and all they were doing in the car was WhatsApp and Snapchat,' she says. 'It hit me: That’s the way we should communicate.' She now shares a video with her employees every week—three thoughts in under three minutes, she says—so her employees can feel more involved with Apple’s decision-making."
KC's View:
It is fascinating to me that in some ways, Apple is dealing with the same issues at a retail level that many retailers are dealing with, albeit at a different level. They're trying to figure out how to move beyond being a source of product to being a resource for service and information ... they're trying to eliminate silos ... and they're trying to empower and engage employees to a greater degree.

Here's the thing. Apple is the most successful and, arguably, the most innovative retailer in the country, if not the world ... and they're still working on this stuff.

Every retailer has to do the same. Actively. Persistently. Consistently. Because to do otherwise is to open a door that the competition may go through.