Angela Ahrendts

Plenty of trees...no Apples by Mark Izatt

I was excited when I realized that being in San Fransisco for the Financial Times 'Business of Luxury meant I was also going to see the new Apple Store concept a day after it opened.

I needn't have been.

To quote one friend this is "same old, same old" albeit with the twist of bringing the outdoors inside.     It's Scandanavian airport meets hotel lobby - and, my biggest bugbear about the current format, it does nothing to absorb people or noise, remains.  It's still a scrum not conducive to spending a relatively large sum of money.

The sheer scale of this environment belittles the product to the point it's hard to find it.  Tucked into shelves amongst acres of light wood.

The plus points are, without doubt the outdoor terrace, and the massive 'hanger doors' which were wide open to Union Square - but that's not going to be replicable  on many of their sites around the world for both space and climate reasons.  Without this feature I'm not entirely sure what much has changed.

I had hoped for more.   

 

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Angela Ahrendts - MIA by Mark Izatt

I have had 3 Apple iphone 6S 'purchase' experiences in the last month.

The first was a gift to me, the second was a purchase by me via a UK airtime supplier (Vodafone) and the last and worst was a purchase by me in an Apple retail store.

For obvious reasons the gift was the most pleasurable experience - it was a surprise, I didn't pay for it and it shipped direct to me from the recipient.   That was an exceptional experience - the way that all gifting should be personal or corporate.

The Vodafone transaction - online and then store collect was smooth, efficient with a personal, focused, non-hurried handover in the store of my choosing.

The Apple Retail experience, despite me reserving and turning up at the beginning of my allotted time slot was miserable. In one of their stores in Central London, it was a mix between Ellis Island (circa 1910) and a large airport when every flight has been cancelled.   Think security, rope lines and a myriad of queuing options.   Lot's of people checking you in with iPads and very few people doing anything.

Apple makes fantastic products, their performance and profitability is beyond question but their retail experience continues to deteriorate as their price points go up and up.

What was once cool - the white, spare aesthetic, now comes over as little more than a large, functional clearing house.   All about the transaction and nothing about the experience.

It's fine when you are going into purchase a charging lead (you know, the ones that cost about $20 and don't quite last 3 months) and use the Apple Shop app on your phone - you walk in and serve yourself and leave, but what about purchases costing upwards of $1000.   The whole experience leaves you feeling violated.

When Angela Ahrendts joined Apple 18 months ago (that's right she's hardly new in post) much was made of what she would bring to the retail experience.   Beyond some tinkering with the size of the logo on employee shirts I don't see what she has brought to the table.

This is neither efficient or immersive.

Coincidentally, a few hours later, I received an Apple survey via email.   I hope someone reads my comments.  Better still call me, I bet I'm less expensive than Angela.