Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Business

Apple shifts design of stores to lure newcomers and sell more to existing customers

SAN FRANCISCO

Goodbye, Apple Genius Bar. You are being replaced by a tree-filled Genius Grove, which will have more room to sit and more Apple customer service specialists to troubleshoot devices.

In May, on the 15th anniversary of the first Apple retail store, the technology company unveiled what it called its largest product: a new design for its sales outlets.

Apple's 477 physical stores are showrooms for the Apple lifestyle, not just places to buy the latest iPhones, iPads, Macs and accessories. As the company tries to reverse a recent slump in sales, luring newcomers to the Apple brand and persuading existing customers to buy more Apple goods and services have become more important than ever.

The first store with the new look — a two-story location in San Francisco's Union Square that recently opened to the public — has 42-foot-tall glass doors that slide open to expose the interior to the street.

Wide aisles, including one with special displays devoted to photography, music and other thematic uses of Apple products, give visitors more room to wander, learn and play with the latest iPhones, iPads and Macintoshes. An open space that Apple calls the forum provides room for presentations as well as small classes on various topics.

And then there are the trees. The back of the second floor is filled with ficuses, each encircled by a leather bench, where customers can wait or sit next to Apple's "geniuses" as they work on the customers' gadgets.

"We didn't want it to feel like a store. We wanted it to feel like a town square — very open, and everyone invited," said Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of retail and online stores.

A courtyard next to the store, which has a separate entrance and is open to the public 24 hours a day, has more trees, a fountain, free Wi-Fi and seating for about 200 people. Apple intends to hold acoustic music concerts there regularly.

B.J. Siegel, Apple's senior director of design and development, says the store relies on solar panels for electricity and is using new cooling techniques to reduce the need for air conditioning.

Ahrendts, who has rarely spoken to reporters since quitting as chief executive of Burberry in 2013 and joining Apple two years ago, said the new design elements would be incorporated into future Apple retail stores.

Two crucial audiences for the new store are small businesses and mobile app developers: Both will be able to hold meetings and training sessions in an on-site conference room outfitted with the latest Apple gear.

The idea, Ahrendts said, is to make the Apple store a destination, not just a place to shop.

"We want people to say, 'Meet me at Apple,' " she said. With more open space and places to sit, including wooden cubes and large leather medicine balls, customers will be able to linger.

"The next generation just wants to flow," Ahrendts said.

 
Comments
Study: Tampa International Airport ranks fourth best for satisfying travelers

Study: Tampa International Airport ranks fourth best for satisfying travelers

Times Staff WriterTampa International Airport was named the fourth-best large airport in the U.S. at keeping travelers satisfied, according to a study by J.D. Power released Wednesday.Meanwhile, the study ranked Orlando International as the country’s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Counter to the national trend, refinancings in the Tampa Bay area increased in the second quarter of this year. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, lenders originated 41 percent more refinancing loans in April, May and June than they did in the same p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Too many homeowners forced to tap home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses

Too many homeowners forced to tap home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses

Tapping home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses like groceries and utilities is a recipe for financial peril. It can work for a while, especially if home prices are rising. Eventually the spigot runs dry, bills pile up and your home can be lost to...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

This has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. As the force behind a number ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

SEMINOLE — There were so many unusual aspects to the sale of a certain Seminole villa that it’s hard to know where to begin. Is it with the fact the villa sold for $100,000 despite a cash offer of $128,700? Is it that the buyer was a Realtor in the s...
Updated: 3 hours ago
New restaurants: Olivia from Chris Ponte, Crabby Bill’s Off the Hook

New restaurants: Olivia from Chris Ponte, Crabby Bill’s Off the Hook

COMING SOON: OLIVIAChris Ponte, right, has been a steady and notable culinary leader in our area for more than a decade with his flagship restaurant Cafe Ponte in Clearwater. A couple of years ago he mixed things up a bit by debuting On Swann in Hyde...
Updated: 3 hours ago
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson steps down after 20 years in driver’s seat

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson steps down after 20 years in driver’s seat

Associated PressFORT LAUDERDALE — Mike Jackson is stepping down after almost two decades leading AutoNation, the nation’s largest dealership chain. Jackson, 69, steered AutoNation through the economic crisis and shares have increased fourfold since h...
Updated: 5 hours ago
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18
Apartments, retail centers planned for north side of SR 54 in Land O' Lakes

Apartments, retail centers planned for north side of SR 54 in Land O' Lakes

LAND O’ LAKES — A forest of pine and oak trees and an aging mobile home neighborhood could be replaced by luxury apartments and a pair of retail centers along State Road 54 west of Cypress Creek.In separate proposals, land owners and de...
Published: 09/19/18