Archive for the ‘Angela Ahrendts’ Category

Angela Ahrendts’ Makeover of Apple Retail Outlined in New Profile

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

A new profile of Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has been posted today by BuzzFeed News, providing a look into Ahrendts' move from Burberry, the inspiration for her approach to retail from late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and her partnership with Apple design chief Jony Ive. Ahrendts has been in the spotlight lately following her presentation during the iPhone X keynote event in September, where she explained Apple's new retail initiative, Today at Apple, and provided a sneak peek into upcoming locations around the world.

Ahrendts said that her approach to the new retail strategy began with an inspiration from Steve Jobs, comparing the brick-and-mortar locations as the retail team's "hardware" and the inner workings of the store -- like Today at Apple programs -- as the "software."

Image captured by Hoss Ghertassi via BuzzFeed News
Ahrendts’s approach to retail harkens back to the late founder Steve Jobs’ insistence on building “the whole widget� — in other words, constructing the look and feel of a device, as well as making the operating system and the processor that runs it, in order to fully optimize — and control — the entire user experience.

“This is our hardware,� she said, pointing to the Indianapolis store’s glass doors and indoor ficuses. �Then you say, ‘What’s the software of the store? How do we turn it on?’ Because this unto itself is magnificent, but it's not just what it is, it's what it does,� referring to the new Today at Apple program, under which locations host events like photography workshops and coding classes.
Ahrendts has tweaked parts of Apple's retail "software" by changing employee t-shirts to a softer material, and removing lanyards so employees "make a human connection" with customers. One former Apple Genius said that while removing lanyards made uniforms "cleaner," the high amount of customers visiting Apple every day is a "reality of retail" that made connecting with every customer difficult.

When she was creating her strategy, Ahrendts discussed the design and look of the new Apple locations with Jony Ive, who was said to have told Ahrendts, "Don't mess with the tables," referring to the iconic wooden tables that line every Apple store. Ive further described these tables as "sacred."
Before embarking on the redesign, Ahrendts consulted creative chief Ive, whom Steve Jobs once called his “spiritual partner.� “In one of those very early conversations,� Ahrendts recalled, Ive “said, ‘Don't mess with the tables. They're the same tables we used in our design studio and I love that it goes from the studio to the stores.’ He said, ‘They're sacred.’�
Ahrendts also recalled the company's expansion into China, where she asked all United States retail employees if they would be interested to move overseas and assist in running new stores in China. The executive said she was expecting 100 or 200 responses, but ended up with 2,000, half of which ended up moving overseas with plans to stay for between 1 and 5 years. Those who remain in the U.S. said that under Ahrendts' leadership, worker benefits have improved.

Image captured by Hoss Ghertassi via BuzzFeed News
All of the employees who spoke to BuzzFeed News agree that Ahrendts improved their benefits soon after she joined in May 2014. For example, Ahrendts introduced restricted stock units, or gifted Apple stock (which could previously be purchased at a discount), that vests every three years. She also extended school tuition reimbursement to part-time workers. Most said they were happy with their pay, which ranges from $17 to $20 an hour for non-Genius roles and up to $30 an hour for Geniuses.
Still, some employees have described their work as starting to feel "increasingly corporate" under Ahrendts. One technical specialist stated that Apple retail "now feels more like a Circuit City, a Best Buy" because of increased micromanagement, rising repair prices, a focus on moving customers in and out of the store as fast as possible, and an "emphasis" on attracting business accounts.

The rest of the profile on Ahrendts covers much of the same ground as BuzzFeed's iPhone 8 launch video about Apple's "war room," as well as an interview with CEO Tim Cook and Ahrendts posted yesterday. In that interview, Ahrendts said it was "fake news...silly" that she was being groomed as future Apple CEO. Cook then said, "I see my role as CEO to prepare as many people as I can to be CEO, and that’s what I’m doing."

Check out the full BuzzFeed News article on Angela Ahrendts here.


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Angela Ahrendts Says Apple Won’t Try to Upsell Customers to iPhone X

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Apple Store employees won't try to upsell customers to the iPhone X, according to Apple's retail chief Angela Ahrendts.


Ahrendts, who is in Chicago today for the grand opening of Apple's new Michigan Avenue store, told CNBC that Apple recognizes each customer has different needs that may not require purchasing the most expensive iPhone model.
"Internally we said the tagline was 'an iPhone for everyone,'" she said. "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?"
iPhone X starts at $999 in the United States with 64GB of storage, while a 256GB model is available for $1,149. By comparison, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus start at $699 and $799 respectively.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a reputable Apple analyst at KGI Securities, recently said only 2-3 million iPhone X units will be available to purchase when the device launches. Pre-orders begin October 27 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time.

Related: iPhone X vs. iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 8 Plus

Related Roundup: iPhone X

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Here’s a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Apple’s Pre-Order ‘War Room’

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

BuzzFeed News has put together a video of how Apple prepares for an iPhone launch day around the world.


When iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K pre-orders began at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time last Friday, dozens of Apple engineers were assembled in a so-called "war room" to ensure the process went smoothly.


For around three hours, these engineers sat in front of at least 10 TVs forming a larger display, which appears to show the system status of pre-orders in launch countries. One engineer had a map of the world open on his iMac.


"Over half of the orders that night will come in through the Apple Store app," said Apple's retail chief Angela Ahrendts. "We turn the whole world on at once. I think you saw the map with everything lighting up all over the world."

BuzzFeed reporter Nicole Nguyen then visited UPS's Worldport shipping facility in Louisville, Kentucky, a major hub for Apple products.

Nguyen said the volume of Apple products is so large that UPS has to set aside time to sort just those deliveries. Apple's launch day haul took up an entire large room, and the products later traveled along miles of conveyor belts.


UPS delivers some of the orders to Apple retail stores, while others arrive directly at customers' doorsteps.

Apple retail stores usually attract long queues of customers on launch days, but the crowds have been smaller for today's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus launch. Many customers are likely waiting for the iPhone X, which launches November 3.


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Angela Ahrendts Climbs to Thirteenth Spot in Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ List for 2017

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Apple's senior vice president of retail stores, Angela Ahrendts, has climbed to grab the 13th spot on Fortune's "Most Powerful Women" list for 2017. In 2015 Ahrendts took the 16th spot, and in 2016 she rose to the 14th spot.

The top 5 women on the list this year are Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO, #5), Abigail Johnson (Fidelity Investments CEO, #4), Marillyn Hewson (Lockheed Martin President and CEO, #3), Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo CEO, #2), and Mary Barra (General Motors CEO, #1).


Fortune's list includes a brief summary of Ahrendts' latest accomplishments at Apple:
Since being persuaded by Tim Cook to join Apple in 2014 (she previously led British fashion brand Burberry), Ahrendts has been heads down on the tech behemoth’s largest store redesign in 15 years. In May the company launched its long-awaited “Today at Apple” initiative, which seeks to supplement public education through free courses on everything from coding to music production to photography. Apple’s highest-ranking woman, she oversees 60,000 retail employees and is responsible for the in-store experiences of a more than a million daily customers. Research firm eMarketer estimates that the combined revenue from in-store and online sales is nearly $50 billion. Ahrendts was the second executive after Cook—and the only woman—to take the stage at September’s keynote, where she spoke at length about Apple’s “town squares”—the new moniker for its retail stores.
Ahrendts joined Apple from Burberry in the spring of 2014, when she said she'd bring a personal touch to Apple's retail management. Three years later she has spearheaded the launch of Apple's next-generation retail store design and "Today at Apple" classes worldwide.

Last week, Ahrendts also appeared on stage during Apple's iPhone X keynote event, where she went into detail about new and upcoming Apple Town Square locations in Chicago, Paris, and Milan.

For more information on Fortune's ranking, the site has published a few articles today: explaining the list's continued importance, highlighting the newcomers, and pointing out those who have dropped off the list this year.


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Apple’s Retail Chief Angela Ahrendts and Top Lawyer Bruce Sewell Each Sell Over $10 Million in Stock

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Apple's retail chief Angela Ahrendts and top lawyer Bruce Sewell each sold over $10 million in company stock over the past week, according to a pair of disclosures with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Pursuant to her trading plan adopted in February, Ahrendts sold 75,000 shares of Apple stock between May 4 and May 8, netting nearly $11.1 million based on the weighted average sale price of the five transactions. Ahrendts still owns 103,116 shares in Apple following the sale, worth nearly $16 million.

Sewell sold 67,500 shares of Apple stock in multiple transactions on May 5, netting just over $10 million based on the weighted average sale price. Sewell still owns 141,325 shares in Apple following the sale, worth nearly $22 million.

Ahrendts has served as Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail since 2014, overseeing the company's physical and online storefronts. Under her leadership, Apple has been renovating several of its stores, partly in an effort to turn them into community gathering places rather than just sales floors.

Sewell has served as Apple's General Counsel since 2009, overseeing all legal matters, including corporate governance, intellectual property, litigation and securities compliance, global security, and privacy. He came into the spotlight last year twice during separate battles with the FBI and Spotify.


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‘Today at Apple’ Sessions About Art, Music, and Coding Expanding to Every Apple Store in May

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Apple today announced that it will be expanding its "Today at Apple" educational sessions to all of its 495 retail stores around the world in May.


"Today at Apple" will offer programs with more than 60 different hands-on sessions in creative skills. The free sessions, which have been offered at Apple's flagship Union Square store in San Francisco since last year, will cover topics such as photography, videography, music, coding, art, and design.
“At the heart of every Apple Store is the desire to educate and inspire the communities we serve,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president, Retail. “‘Today at Apple’ is one of the ways we’re evolving our experience to better serve local customers and entrepreneurs. We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level. We think it will be a fun and enlightening experience for everyone who joins.”
Many sessions will be taught by highly-trained Creative Pros, which Apple describes as the "liberal arts equivalent" to its technical Geniuses. In select cities, Apple says world-class artists, photographers, and musicians will also teach sessions from "basics and how-to lessons" to "professional-level programs."

"Today at Apple" will cater to all skill levels and ages, with special programs such as Teacher Tuesday and Kids Hour targeted towards families and educators respectively. Other sessions will focus on professional software such as Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, or coding with the Swift Playgrounds app for iPad.
Teachers can come together for Teacher Tuesday to learn new ways to incorporate technology into their classrooms, or aspiring coders of all ages can learn how to code in Swift, Apple’s programming language for iOS and Mac apps. Families can join weekend Kids Hour sessions ranging from music making to coding with robots.
Apple said each of its stores will receive large displays created specifically for "Today at Apple" sessions. Each store will also have updated seating and sound. Apple has already renovated dozens of its existing retail stores with these next-generation features since 2015, with dozens more locations to follow this year.

Apple has been redesigning its stores under the leadership of retail chief Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of luxury fashion brand Burberry. Ahrendts wants to position Apple Stores as not only shopping destinations, but also as gathering places for the community. "Meet me at Apple," she envisions someone as saying.

Video is available in the United States only

Ahrendts, in a new interview with CBS This Morning:
“A lot of the big online guys have said they’re opening stores. Amazon’s investing in stores. Google’s investing in stores. ... Starbucks figured it out, you know? Being a gathering place for – right? ‘Meet me at Starbucks,”’ Ahrendts said. “And you know, I’ve told the teams, ‘I’ll know we’ve done a really, really great job if the next generation, if Gen Z says, “Meet me at Apple. Did you see what’s going on at Apple today?”’”
Apple's latest next-generation store will open at Dubai Mall on April 27, the company recently announced.


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Angela Ahrendts Talks Concepts Behind Next-Generation Apple Stores at Most Powerful Women Summit

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Angela Ahrendts, Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail, was the opening speaker for Fortune's annual Most Powerful Women Summit, speaking a little about the next-generation Apple retail stores, her vision for Apple's physical presence and more.

angelaahrentdsfortune
Ahrendts started the evening by talking about her background and how Apple CEO Tim Cook recruited her, mentioning that she originally tried to convince Cook she wasn't right for the job. Ahrendts said that her big pitch for Apple was to integrate Apple's retail and online stores and turn the company's physical prescence into a bigger part of the communities they operate it. Cook, much to her surprise, loved the idea.

She said that she believes that "the bigger the company, the bigger the obligation" of that company to do something other than rake in profits. One of the things on her agenda was education, so Ahrendts planned on a next-generation of Apple retail stores that could function as something more than retail stores.

The new next-generation store designs are the culmination of that vision, featuring a town square concept that's focused less on selling things and more on enriching lives. She notes that the retail side of the company tries to hire candidates based on their empathy and compassion so that they can enrich lives rather than salesmanship. For instance, Apple wants to teach kids things they can't learn in school, which is why the retail stores will start hosting Swift programming lessons for kids, teachers, and parents.

The lessons, which are currently available for teachers at Apple Union Square in San Francisco, will slowly roll out to next-generation stores by next year. Kids, teachers, and parents will be able to attend Apple retail stores and learn to code for free three times a day. Currently, Apple provides educational camps for kids during the summer.

Another driving force behind the next-generation stores was making the retail spaces represent the products better. "How do we make it so the best of Apple can come together in one place?" Ahrendts said they asked as they designed the new stores. Their solution was to map out everything people did on their devices and integrate them into the stores, which meant a larger focus on the liberal arts.

applecreative
Ahrendts said that she's always been in a believer of Steve Jobs' "technology married with the liberal arts" philosophy, and that she wanted to increase the presence of liberal arts in the stores. She explained the new Creative Pro position at Apple retail locations is the liberal arts equivalent of the Genius, and that the two are equal in terms of importance. Creative Pros are supposed to help you figure out what to do with your Apple product, which could range from photography lessons to coding to learning how to make movies or music.

Another way of integrating the liberal arts with the retail stores is turning the stores into community centers. "On the weekend you'll see an artist sketching things or a guy playing a guitar," Ahrendts said. The goal is to help foster human experiences that draw people out of their digital bubbles. The town square concept also extends to naming. The accessory-laden "avenues" represent avenues bordering a town square, while the giant screens are called "forums" because they act as a hub for many activities.

Finally, Ahrendts said she considers the retail store the biggest product Apple has. Employee retention is also strong, with Ahrendts saying they have an 87 percent retention rate, better than the average retail retention rate of 20 percent. The company plans to have 95 next-generation Apple stores open by the end of the year.

Ahrendts has been the head of Apple's retail efforts since 2014, when she left her job as CEO of Burberry to join the Cupertino company. Earlier this month, Ahrendts had her title shortened from Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores to just Senior Vice President of Retail, reflecting Apple's new vision of tightly integrating its online and retail efforts. Similarly, Apple dropped the "Stores" from Apple store branding in August, reflecting a more singular experience as well as Apple's efforts to turn the store into more than retail outfit.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
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Angela Ahrendts is Now Simply Senior Vice President of Retail as Apple Drops ‘Online Stores’ From Her Title

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

angela-ahrendtsApple updated its leadership page this weekend to reflect a minor change to Angela Ahrendts' title, which has been simplified to "Senior Vice President, Retail" as "Online Stores" has been dropped.

Ahrendts remains responsible for "strategy, real estate and development, and operations" of both Apple's physical stores and online storefront, according to her slightly updated bio.
Angela Ahrendts is Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail, reporting to CEO Tim Cook. Angela is responsible for strategy, real estate & development, and operations of Apple’s physical stores, Apple’s online store and contact centers.

Since joining Apple in 2014, Angela has integrated Apple’s physical and digital retail businesses to create a seamless customer experience for over a billion visitors per year with the goal of educating, inspiring, entertaining and enriching communities. Apple employees set the standard for customer service in stores and online, delivering support from highly trained Geniuses and expert advice from Creative Pros to help customers get the most out of their Apple products.
The title change is likely in line with Apple's simplified retail branding, including dropping the "Store" moniker when referring to its retail locations by name. Apple has also been attempting to converge its physical and online retail experiences over the past few years, and Ahrendts' new title reflects those efforts.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
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Angela Ahrendts Says She Views Apple Store Staff as ‘Executives’

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

angela_ahrendts_heroAngela Ahrendts spoke yesterday to Fast Company about her first two years as Apple's retail chief and her strategy to improve the company's customer experience at its global chain of retail stores.

In an interview titled "Apple's Angela Ahrendts On What It Takes To Make Change Inside A Successful Business," the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores explains that, in her first six months at Apple, she travelled to 40 different markets and met with retail leaders to learn about how stores were "uniting people and getting them to collaborate."

When asked if Apple Store staff feel the same pride working for the company as Cupertino employees do, Ahrendts boasted about the company's 81% retention rate in 2015:
We just ended the year with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had: 81%. And the feedback [from Apple Store employees is that it’s] because they feel connected. They feel like one Apple. They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers. I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony Ive and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way.
Ahrendts goes on to explain that her experience at Apple has taught her just how strong the culture is within the company, which was "built to change people's lives", and that the same core value is being continued by Apple's current CEO Tim Cook:
That foundation, that service mentality, that drive to continue to change lives — that is a core value in the company. And Tim Cook has added his on: He says it's also our responsibility to leave it better than we found it. So you have these two amazing pillars and a culture built around that. It's the same in retail and in Cupertino. That is the underlying mission, and how could you know that unless you're inside? But it is deeper than you would ever imagine.
Apple has aggressively expanded in China under Ahrendts' retail leadership, with stores opening last year in Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Nanjing and Tianjin, and several more on the way throughout 2016.

In an interview for 60 Minutes late last year, Ahrendts spoke about how Apple is continually refining new designs for its stores worldwide to achieve a common "wow" factor, so that customers are "transfixed" from the moment they walk through the doors.

Ahrendts officially joined Apple in mid-2014 to replace former SVP of Retail John Browett, who was fired from the company a year and a half earlier. Previously CEO of hugely successful UK fashion retailer Burberry, she is currently Apple's highest paid executive, according to a recent regulatory filing.

Read more of the Fast Company interview with Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts here.


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