Apple Retail Woes Persist, Continued Focus On Revenue Over Customer Experience [Report]


John Browett joined Apple back in April as the successor to Ron Johnson.
John Browett joined Apple back in April as the successor to Ron Johnson.

Apple’s retail division has come under fire recently regarding staffing cutbacks and layoffs. Earlier this month, Apple’s newly-appointed head of retail, John Browett, admitted that he “messed up” with the new staffing formula, and that things would go back to normal for retail employees.

According to a new report, Apple’s retail stores are still suffering from new policies that have been implemented under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook and Senior Vice President of Retail John Browett. The internal focus has started to shift towards a more revenue-driven strategy instead of a strategy that prioritizes the customer experience.

ifoAppleStore has published a detailed report on the issue, noting that “signs persist of a continuing focus on revenues and profit instead of customer satisfaction.”

Sources say employee performance standards have changed to emphasize the employee sales functions, more small products will be stocked at the stores, and that several budget categories have been slashed, including for store maintenance. All the while, morale continues to drift lower among many retail store employees.

Tim Cook has always been known as the operations mastermind at Apple. While Steve Jobs was driven by a taste for excellence and a love for making the best products, Cook has mainly served Apple by streamlining its supply chain overseas and paying close attention to the bottom line. When Cook became CEO after Jobs died, there were concerns that his different approach to business would fundamentally change Apple as a company.

According to ifoAppleStore, Cook hired John Browett (former CEO of Dixons Retail) because of his “like-minded focus on the more traditional concepts of retailing—logic and process leading to revenues and profits.” Ron Johnson, Apple’s former head of retail, used an approach that was more like Steve Jobs’ mentality: make customer satisfaction and first priority, and revenue will follow.

Make sure to read the entire story from ifoAppleStore for more details regarding the recent changes in Apple Stores. Reduced store maintenance budgets, a push to sell more accessories, employee performance metrics, and more policies are all starting to affect Apple’s retail experience.

Source: ifoAppleStore

  • RaptorOO7

    Given how profitable Apple retail stores are per sq.ft. of retail space compared to any other retailer they have little to complain about. In fact their demands for even higher profits at the expense of customer service clearly shows the beginning of the differences between Steve and Tim.

    My recent visit to an Apple store to buy an iPad and Applecare+ took over 30 minutes just to check out (checked in, waited 25 minutes for help, then 5 minutes to actually get checked out). Honestly I prefer to do as little business in the Apple store as possible and even though the local Apple store jumped from 1800 sq.ft. to 9000 sq.ft of space I fear it will just slide further down in terms of help and customer service.

  • Lars Pallesen

    Apple Stores are getting Dixoned. So sad :-(

  • Bruce Schrock

    I noticed too I went in to swap my phone and early in the evening everything was already filled. I had to make an appointment for several days later. I just hope Tim doesn’t sacrifice quality for quantity as far as products. If quality suffers I’m looking else where.

  • code_poet

    Too bad … the Post-Jobs Apple era is starting to look like the Post-Gates Microsoft era. Why would you change a winning formula? That clown would never even had an interview if Jobs was still on board. I guess Tim thinks he is as good as Jobs. Why else would he make idiot decisions like this?

  • momusicman

    And thus begins the end.

  • bondr006

    I hope the board and investors are keeping an eye on this. Short term profits are just that…short term. I can’t believe that Tim Cook would be that short sighted. I also can’t believe that they learned nothing from Steve Jobs and what brought the company to where it is now. I never really liked Tim Cook from the beginning. Greed and selfishness over what is best for the consumer and long term health of the company will kill Apple. It happened once. With people like this in control, it will happen again.


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  • menithings

    I sure hope this is more hyperbolic speculation than fact. Things like the store’s “awesome policy” and lack of the hard sell sealed my impression that Apple is a special company. I’d hate to see the the store experience degrade, especially when Microsoft and Samsung have started to copy Apple’s retail approach.

  • technochick

    Ifo has already been shown to have misquoted etc in the article that this one sources. Take everything this guy says with a salt lick. Especially since this isn’t the first ‘insider exposé’ he has sourced out of his ass

  • iSteve

    We need Steve Cano as SVP of retail. Am I right Steve?

    I think Apple must also have a Vice CEO because Tim does not sound confident……

    Vice CEO == Sir Jonathan Ive!

  • Koban4max

    So, what is everyone going to do besides complaining? There’s nothing anyone can do about this except Apple. Until then, keeping supporting apple by buying their products.

  • marioyohanes

    Hiring dept store CEO is already a mistake, not firing him after 3 months is fatal.

  • zviivz

    Hiring dept store CEO is already a mistake, not firing him after 3 months is fatal.

    Ron Johnson was from Target before he joined Apple. Just saying …

  • markagall

    What a shame.
    I had a similar experience to Raptor007 recently.
    Went into the Apple Store in the Trafford Centre (UK) to discuss a defect with my iPhone and a member of staff (who, I might add, was very helpful) said that I could book an appointment with a Genius. Unfortunately, the appointment was for three days later as there there was nobody available sooner.
    This is a marked contrast to a similar situation in the same store two years ago where I was given an appointment within the same hour. Of course, this might have been a one off, who knows?
    I love the Apple retail experience, and it is still head and shoulders above most other UK retail outlets but I sincerely hope we aren’t going to see the gradual disintegration of the superb customer service I have always experienced with Apple.

  • ketchup

    Hiring the Dixons creep seems to be proving to be a spectacularly bad decision. Mr Browett needs to come up with clever decisions that don’t alienate staff and customer base. Would suggest HR sort this out quickly.