Apple has opened its 497th retail store, and it’s something visitors won’t expect out of a sales facility.
For one, hard upselling of Apple products won’t be the name of the game in the store, according to an Apple executive.
Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, said her vision for the store called “Town Square” is one where people meet friends, attend concerts and take classes.
New Flagship Store
TechCrunch reported that the store replaces Apple’s flagship North Michigan Avenue store that was established in 2004.
TechCrunch’s Lucas Matney said the store is “beautiful.” He noted the “massive slabs of glass beneath a roof that seems to solemnly float above.”
It is located between the Chicago River and a plaza outside the Chicago Tribune office buildings.
The “Town Square” features redesigned Genius Bars, rotating product displays, and even boardrooms for local businesses to meet and learn more about the company’s products.
It was in September when Ahrendts announced Apple’s goal to build a more “tight-knit relationship” between the retail stores and the communities that host them.
Ahrendts told CNBC’s Josh Lipton likened her visions for Apple’s retail stores to the fashion industry. Ahrendts joined Apple in 2014 from Burberry.
“The way we look at it is building a relationship. It’s no different from fashion — don’t you go back to someone who’s taken really good care of you, who you trust, to make you a better version of yourself?“
Ahrendts said she had told retail store personnel “not to try to upsell customers to the most expensive iPhone model, the upcoming iPhone X.”
“I prefer that we ask you who you’re buying it for. If they’re 6 or 7 years old, what do they need? If it’s someone who’s leaning into something else, what do they need?”
“We do that with Mac; we do that with iPad, why wouldn’t we do that with (the) phone?”
Ahrendts was quick to emphasize that automation or online shopping would subsequently take over retail jobs.
“There is a purpose. People want the human connection; they want a place to pick up their products.”
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