Angela Ahrendts Says Retail is Broken

In the latest interview by Ms. Ahrendts, she says that retail is broken and stores need to rethink their approach to compete with online shopping and connect with younger customers (via Vogue Business).

[Apple Retail Store Experience Hardly Needs Fixing]

Rethinking Retail

image of angela ahrendts in a new apple retail store
Credit: Amy Harrity

Since 2017 almost 10,000 U.S. stores have closed, and by 2022 one in four U.S. malls could shut down as well. Apple has been trying to prepare for the future with a series of large, flagship stores since 2015.

We are now opening fewer, larger stores so that you can get the full experience of everything that’s Apple…I think as humans we still need gathering places, and when you are serving digital natives, the thing they long for more than anything is human connection. Eye contact.

Angela Ahrendts

As CEO of Burberry from 2006 to 2014, Ms. Ahrendts transformed the company’s retail stores by appealing to a younger generation of customers. For example, they fitted stores with 10,000 iPads.

But it isn’t just about customers. Apple retail employees are also connected to each other via apps like Hello, which features briefings on the “need to knows” of the day, and Loop, an internal social network where employees can share knowledge.

Ultimately, Ms. Ahrendts says stores should lessen their focus on numbers and invest in people:

You can’t just look at the profitability of one store or the profitability of one app or the online business. You have to put it all together: one customer, one brand.

Angela Ahrendts

[Ageism Is Not an Institutional Problem at Apple Retail]

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