The recently unveiled Apple store concept demonstrates some interesting ideas; it also prompted me to consider where Apple retail could go next.
Apple pit stops
Apple’s clean, spacious, mesmerizingly beautiful stores are brand temples – they take care of customers who want to be inspired and educated. The Apple online store caters to those, who know what they are after and want to efficiently compare specs and place orders. What Apple could add to those two poles are smaller bricks-and-mortar units that would:
- Both literally and metaphorically favour human scale to larger-than-life experiences
- Introduce a shift from universal brand embassies to places for quick problem solving
- Move from product retail to lifestyle support
- Expand the in- and out-of-store experience
Located in the vicinity of parks, these smaller, single (ground) floor units would act as pit stops for people in need of quick fixes. With the Genius Grove experience at their core, they would concentrate specifically on providing the most efficient support possible, allowing visitors to drop in, fix issues and be on their way as swiftly as possible. Pit stops would have no stockrooms, although assistants would be able to demonstrate products and assist customers with placing online orders.
The smaller size would create a more intimate, communal relationship between the staff and the visitors. The pit stops could also hold regular classes on how to use Apple devices best, for example:
- Advise office workers on the best time management apps
- Have specialists share gaming tips
- Host software tutorials (e.g. Photoshop)
Plenty could be organised around healthcare:
- In the evenings, a fitness instructor could lead a group of runners for a workout in the nearby park (ideally – a high-energy park, of course), using the pit stop shop as a gathering point. The instructor would be well versed in all things Apple and would demonstrate the iPhone and Apple Watch’s ability to support a more efficient workout (ability to monitor data and achieve long-term goals).
- Apple Music could be used to provide tracks for the workout.
- Everyone would be welcome to work out – whether Apple customer or not.
Apple stores are powerful brand environments. The company would benefit from a secondary network that would shift the focus onto consumers and how Apple could improve the human experience.