Apple CEO Tim Cook took time during his keynote address at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference to talk about the future of Apple’s retail stores. The average Apple store receives 10 million visitors a week, as a result, some 20 stores are being shuttered and moved to larger locations.
According to an article on TechCrunch:
Apple retail stores, he said, have gone beyond being sales hubs. A store “acts as a gathering place, which has an important role in the community” for youth groups, musicians and more. “I’m not even sure if ‘store’ is the right word any more,” he said. “They have taken on a much bigger role. They are the face of Apple. People don’t think about the Cupertino headquarters; they think of the Apple store.”
This is a message that’s important for Cook to get across, considering that last quarter, Q1 2013, the stores saw only an incremental increase in revenue per store compared to a year ago — $1.25 million per week compared to $1.22 million in Q1 2012. Overall, the stores pulled in $6.44 billion for the quarter. Cook noted that the average Apple store last year made over $50 million in revenue.
Cook noted that Apple will add 30 stores, “disproportionately outside the U.S.” In addition to adding “lots more” stores in China, he also confirmed that Apple will open its first store in Turkey this year. Apple had been hiring in both Rio de Janeiro and Istanbul but had only confirmed the Brazilian retail operation. “We still have a long way to go,” Cook said of the company’s plans to add more countries to its list. “We’ll never be in every one of them.”
Apple Inc. has been granted a trademark from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its store design. The trademark covers the furniture and fixtures, floors, lighting and shelves found in Apple stores, along with the “Genius Bar.”
In addition, the trademark covers Apple’s all-glass storefront design.
According to various reports, Apple first applied for the trademark in 2010, but its application was rejected by the patent office. A second application by the company also was rejected. According to the Apple retail news site Ifoapplestore, the earlier rejections came because the company failed to prove the design was “inherently distinctive.”
[via Chain Store Age]
The Apple Store has become an educational case on what to do right in the retail sector. And it appears Best Buy has taken notice.
The retailer is testing out a new prototype that cuts down on floor space and uses a help desk, run by Best Buy’s Geek Squad, as the focal point of the company’s layout. The Geek Squad desk allows customers to ask questions and handle issues. According to The Wall Street Journal, which took a tour, the desk closely resembles Apple’s Genius Bar.
According to the Journal, that’s not all Best Buy is mimicking. The prototypes are set up to allow customers to pay for products in a host of places throughout the store, and make product displays a bit less congested and more Apple-like, by using salespeople to share knowledge and ultimately sell products.
Best Buy is in desperate need of some changes. After Brian Dunn resigned as CEO and founder Richard Schulze left the board, the company appears rudderless. There is now talk of Schulze taking the company private in a leveraged buyout.
On the retail side, Best Buy plans to shutter 50 of its underperforming U.S. stores, sparking concerns that it may be on the decline.
Whether a new store design will help Best Buy remains to be seen. The company’s prices are, in many cases, higher on the same products customers can find online. What’s worse for the company is that many consumers simply go to Best Buy to see a product and then buy it online for a better price.
To make its stores more enticing, the Journal says that Best Buy is reducing the amount of space dedicated to televisions in its new layout and is increasing space for higher performers, like
tablets and smartphones. Overall, Best Buy’s prototype store is 20 percent smaller than the traditional locations, according to the Journal.
Apple is testing a new design of its Genius Bars to try to accommodate more users, according to ifoapplestore.com.
First, designers pivoted the Genius Bar tables by 90 degrees so they are perpendicular to the rear wall of the store. The kids seats and tables are also gone. Among a few other tweaks is a 10-foot long wood counter with black stools on both sides set 15 inches out from the rear wall of the store to allow employees to move from one side to another.
This new design, according to the story, is a way for Apple stores that can’t move or expand their store size to improve accessibility. It’s unclear how many stores will implement the new configuration.
[via Retail Customer Experience]