Apple this year has begun redesigning their retail stores in a bold and dramatic new way. These stores are not just places to buy things, but express a feeling of community. Apple has always had Fan Boys and now they have a clubhouse. What the redesign is also is a strong statement of the Apple brand. This is an elegant, high touch and expensive high tech lifestyle.
The new store design emphasizes training with more classes and one on one help. This is smart because when people become more proficient and comfortable with their technology, they will be more brand loyal. The stores also have a new connection point for small business as they can come in and use conference spaces and get help from other developers. If you’re a young person looking for a job with a small business or startup, I might start hanging around an Apple store. The common theme here is help and support. This is a big advantage for Apple as no other large technology company has this kind of local on the ground interaction with customers. If you are having trouble with your Google Chromebook or Pixel phone, better call your cousin Vinny for help. Samsung has set up some beachheads inside BestBuy stores, but they are mostly about sales and certainly are no kind of community.
Apple talks about making the Apple store a destination and their desire to connect better with the local culture and style; to really be apart of the local community. I like this idea the best. In the past, large retailers create stores that all look virtually identical. The idea is no matter where you are, you’re in a familiar environment and you know how to find things. The problem is this creates large, impersonal and monolithic stores. Efficient and boring. I love the idea that retail stores can still express the company brand while at the same time being interesting and unique to their environment. Hopefully, Apple is successful and others follow their lead.