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Apple is banking in physical stores when economies reopen, the retail chief said

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Apple is expanding its retail business as the United States emerges from the pandemic, betting that a combination of strategies developed before and during COVID-19 will make its stores more popular than ever, its retail chief told Reuters. .

Apple does so as the retail industry develops what the future will look like after the pandemic, including consumers accustomed to ordering almost everything online.

For Apple, the answer is to keep what helped it survive the pandemic, and to double its pre-pandemic strategy for off-store events and experiences.

Express counters, which have emerged to help customers take orders more efficiently, for example, will become regular features of Apple’s 500 stores worldwide, all of which open June 14.

The iPhone maker also adds a new Creative Studios program, launched in Los Angeles and Beijing, that aims to teach young people from underrepresented communities to use Apple products to create music, movies and photography. This adds to a wider range of store-based classes designed to attract customers more frequently in contact with Apple.

“We see this moment right now as a way to really start over and start all over again,” Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and human trafficking, told Reuters as the company prepared to open a new one Thursday store in the renovated Tower Theater in downtown Los Angeles, Apple’s second new store in the United States since the pandemic.

Apple thrives during the pandemic, hitting $ 2 trillion (approximately Rs. 1,48,36,500 crore) with a market capitalization in August 2020 and setting sales records for iPhone phones and several other categories.

According to analysts, one of the weaknesses associated with retail is the slowdown in sales of AppleCare, a device insurance plan that is often oversold when visiting a store, but easier for consumers to miss online. Over the past year, Apple has also experienced wrong steps in the supply chain by providing its own iPhone 12 later than usual last year and said in April that the global shortage of semiconductors would cost several billion dollars in sales.

Personal experience

Part of Apple’s success in the background of the closure was the streamlining of the process of buying online and making in person. Apple’s long-standing retail strategy is to encourage customers to walk through its online stores to touch and touch its devices.

During the pandemic, Apple redesigned many stores to have small express counters designed to make picking up faster, but still give a personal touch, sometimes by tracking online or over the phone later to set up devices.

“The goal was really for a speed that is very different from what we usually experience in a retail store,” O’Brien said. “We want to make sure that in this experience they can get the product they want quickly. But we want to make sure we can have a quick conversation with them to make sure they have everything they need. “

As local rules allow, Apple is returning to personal events and classes in its stores. Creative Studios’ efforts will eventually be incorporated into other major cities, O’Brien said.

Carolina Milanesi, chief analyst at Creative Strategies, said programs like these, in addition to courses designed to teach computer coding and other technical skills, are ways for Apple to strengthen its brand among consumers between purchases.

“The more they can get you to use the device, the more engaged you are, the more loyal you will be,” Milanesi said.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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