Apple’s Ahrendts sees a ‘bigger purpose than just selling’ for retail
Apple’s stores generate more sales per square foot than any company in retailing. There has been a variety of reasons for that success over the years starting with products such as the iPhone and services such as iTunes that have changed the way consumers use technology in their daily lives.
Success, according to Angela Ahrendts, the leader of Apple’s retail business, also has a lot to do with how people who work for the company see its role. “Apple,” she told an audience at Cannes, “is in the human business. It’s our job to humanize technology.”
Ms. Ahrendts, who left her job as CEO of Burberry in 2014 to join Apple, views the company’s stores as community hubs and not simply places to buy tech. Associates in the more than 500 stores Apple now operates globally are trained to focus on sharing with customers how technology can enrich their lives rather than selling them products. Individuals who work in Apple’s stores, according to a 9to5Mac report, are hired based on empathy, and the company measures the human connection.
For those who believe brick and mortar retailing is headed in the same direction as dinosaurs, Ms. Ahrendts disagrees.
“The smart outside guys, they don’t say retail’s dying,” said Ms. Ahrendts, according to Apple Insider. “They say digital’s going to grow at three times the rate of physical. But in the next five years … 75 percent of the people will shop online — shop — but 75 percent of the business will still be done in physical stores.”
“And so, retail’s not going away, retail’s not dying,” she added. “But it has to evolve, it has to continue to move. And I think it has to serve a bigger purpose than just selling.”
- Cannes Lions – Twitter
- Angela Ahrendts discusses humanizing technology, Today at Apple, more in Cannes Lions interview – 9to5Mac
- Apple retail head Ahrendts talks demise of retail, ‘human business’ at Cannes Lions – Apple Insider
- Why is Apple dropping ‘Store’ from the name of its stores? – RetailWire
- Apple opens next-generation stores – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree with Angela Ahrendts that retailers need “to serve a bigger purpose than just selling” to achieve success? Do most retailers consider empathy when hiring customer-facing associates? Do they measure this personal quality as part of an associate’s job performance after they are hired?