Apple’s retail guru Angela Ahrendts took to the stage at Fast Company‘s ongoing Innovation Festival to talk her role as senior vice president for retail and online stores.
With the highest sales-per-square-foot of any U.S. retailer, the Apple Stores were hardly in need of a total overhaul, but Ahrendts nonetheless discussed the ways she’s trying to tweak the physical shopping experience for the better — with some fascinating insights.
One of these involves the redesign of Apple’s retail stores, done in conjunction with Jony Ive. We’ve written about the new tree-lined appearance of the Apple Stores before, but Ahrendts adds a bit of context — noting that the decision was made to echo the feeling of walking down a, “small town and looking into each window.”
Called “The Avenue,” this strategy called for accessories to be repositioned from their original place on the wall.
In keeping with Apple’s focus on China, Ahrendts also says that she’s trying to up the representation of Chinese employees in all international stores.
Why? Because around 200 million people from China travel outside their country each year, compared to the relatively meagre total of 70 million Americans (out of a population of 318 million) who hold passports. For this reason, Ahrendts feels that flagship Apple Stores need to have Chinese-speaking employees. For instance, the flagship New York store has 21 Mandarin-speaking employees.
“We need not only need to move culture into China, but we need to move our best Chinese employees all over the world,” Ahrendts said.
The final notable point Ahrendts made was revealing that she now shares a short three-minute video with retail employees every week, so that employees feel more involved with Apple Store decision-making.
Describing the origins of the initiative, Ahrendts says that, “My kids were visiting from London and all they were doing in the car was WhatsApp and Snapchat. It hit me: That’s the way we should communicate.”
Source: Fast Company