The Apple Store changed retailing 15 years ago
Yesterday marked 15 years since Apple opened its first two retail stores in Glendale, CA and Tysons Corner, VA. At the time, as an article on the MacRumors site reminds, success for the new stores was considered far from assured. But a team that included a former vice president of merchandising at Target (Ron Johnson) worked with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to create a new kind of store that change retailing in the process.
A 2001 video includes Mr. Jobs providing a tour and making a big deal about the 36 computers in the store, all with access to the internet. The hands-on nature of the Apple Store shopping experience may seem mundane in 2016, but it was a big deal back when the chain was just getting off the ground.
“You can go up to any computer and start surfing, go to your personal website or do whatever you want to do on the internet. All of our portables are connected with Airport wireless networking so you can experience that for yourself. It’s pretty great,” Mr. Jobs said.
Tomorrow, Apple will open its newest flagship store on Union Square in San Francisco. The next generation Apple Store comes with 40-foot glass doors and is divided into five sections:
- The Avenue – Apple’s entire product line is on display. This is where customers can buy an iPhone, iPad, MacBook or Apple Watch;
- Genius Grove – Think Apple bar, but with shade trees to reduce the noise and make interactions with customers more relaxed;
- The Forum – Customers can view videos on a 35-foot-wide, high-def display while sitting on wooden and leather stools;
- The Boardroom – A space designed for business customers;
- The Plaza – Imagine Apple Store with a park that includes free Wi-Fi 24/7 and will serve as the site for live concerts and other events.
- Steve Jobs introduces the Apple Store (2001) – vintagemacmuseum/Apple/YouTube
- Today Marks the 15th Anniversary of Apple’s First Two Retail Stores – MacRumors
- Apple opens next-generation stores – RetailWire
- Inside the New Apple Retail Store Redesign – Bloomberg
- Apple just revealed the future of its retail stores – The Verge
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you think the Apple Store has changed retailing over the past 15 years? What will the chain need to do to improve on its record of success over the next 15?