Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Apple Stores Have Lost Their Lustre, Critics Say

Apple Stores Have Lost Their Lustre, Critics Say

Apple is not just a technology giant, it has also grown into one of the largest US retailers, with more than 500 stores on five continents. But the brilliance of its distinctive stores has eased, and stores face a pivotal moment - even before Apple announces this week that its retail boss will soon be leaving.
Apple Stores Have Lost Their Lustre, Critics Say
image cradit NDTV
Industry analysts say the same product problems and the slowing down of the modernization cycle that led to Apple's sales decline are reflected in the shrinking realization of the stores themselves - with a focus on the repetition of rogue products that no longer amaze and lack full and loyal experiences.

After five years of Apple's leading retail efforts, Angela Ehrends said she would leave "for new personal and professional endeavors," the company said in a press release on Tuesday. When Airlands used Arendtis away from Burberry Fashion in 2014, she highlighted the importance of her stores. Ahrends is one of five women holding senior leadership positions in the company, and an executive who saw him as a possible successor to Chief Executive Tim Cook.As soon as he leaves Ahrendt in April, Apple's human resources manager, Deard O'Brien, will manage retail and online retailers, as well as oversee company staff and recruitment.

Apple declined to comment on the story.

Daniel Ehves, a political analyst, said part of Ehrends' mission was to turn the consumer experience into visiting Apple, which remains a major sales engine and a powerful marketing tool for users to feel like part of a premium brand. In Wedbush Securities. However, recent product launch and storage events were frustrating, he said, reflecting the company's overall challenge of delivering innovative tools to customers when a high bar has already been set.

"The last few years have been free of the lines around the store, and sleep in the store, waiting for the product." "Part of it is that customers are used to the Apple store - there is no longer a wonderful factor."

As Apple's physical presence evolves as online sales become a greater component of customer engagement, attracting people to stores remains Apple's main goal, says Evis, especially in overseas markets such as India and China.

"Apple has beautiful products, but that's all you see," says Ross Gerber, president and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki, a wealth management and investment firm based in Santa Monica, California. "Do I really need five tables of the same hour and each different band?"

Gerber pointed to Apple's growing service sector - which includes iCloud, Apple Music and Apple Pay - and asked why more of its stores were not allocated to over-testing and converting Apple's 900 million users to subscribers every month.
In its latest profit report, Apple said its online and retail stores are selling strong sales for Mac and iPad devices, recording record numbers in the number of iPhones that are traded in newer models and making a big growth in paid digital services. In a call with investors, Apple noticed opening its first store in Thailand and Paris. (Apple said its revenue fell 5% from last year, partly because of people who keep their iPhones longer and a slowdown in the Chinese economy.)

"If Apple sells music, video and podcasts, this should be part of the store experience," Gerber said.

Ahrendts faced criticism after it announced in 2017 that Apple's stores would be redesigned as "city squares". Alexis Madrigal of Atlantic noted that Apple - after Facebook and Twitter - has adopted a false language of civic and democratic life, despite the obvious fact that Apple's stores are explicit private spaces. He said Apple's erroneous approach was part of a wider problem in the Internet age: people should not view technology giants as building a liberal democratic society or service or making people's voices heard because they are essential business entities.

In more practical terms, Apple customers have also complained about service in stores. Gerber said a more successful approach would shift stocks away from "check here and go there" to a more customer-oriented experience, with improved management, product assistance, video and music installations, and in-store flow.
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