Apple Looks for Bigger Slice of the Retail Market
By Tom Ryan
Tweaking its already
wildly successful format, Apple plans to remodel 100 stores this year to
create space for customer training and displaying products. It’s also overhauling
its one-on-one instruction programs.
In an interview last
week with USA Today, Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president
of retail, said new tables will provide room for “twice the amount” of
products on display, and its Genius Bar, the tech support stations, will
be expanded by 50 percent.
In addition, its One
to One training program is being changed in several ways. Currently, anyone
with $99 can sign up for a year of unlimited training on Apple computers
and products. But beginning June 2, Apple will limit sign-ups to people
who buy new Macs at Apple Stores or via its website. Additionally, any
of the 500,000 current One to One subscribers can renew.
“We originally set
up One to One to get people to switch to the Mac,” Mr. Johnson said. “Now
we want to expand it to make it even more relevant to people who have bought
The annual subscription,
still priced at $99, includes personal setup, transferring of files from
an older computer (Windows or Mac) and help with projects. Other changes
include increasing each session time to a maximum of three hours, up from
one hour. But contrary to its “one on one” name, each
session may now include up to three participants.
The remodels come as
sales of Apple
computers slid three percent in its most recent quarter. While still
strong, traffic at Apple’s stores has also come down
compared to last year when long lines followed the introduction of the
Apple also plans to open
25 more stores this year, including a fourth location in New York City,
and new ones in Paris, Italy and Germany. At the end of its second quarter
ended March 28, it had 252 stores.
“We know that a
lot of people are cutting back, but we’re doing the opposite,” said
Mr. Johnson, a former Target executive who joined Apple in 2000. “We’re
investing in the downturn.”
CNET’s Jim Dalrymple said the renovations should enable the stores
to be more creative around its training sessions.
“One of the highlights
of the stores that have them are training theaters,” wrote Mr. Dalrymple.
“Apple Store employees, third-party companies, and other professionals
often put on seminars showing users how to get the most out of software and
hardware products. Apple even participates in events like the trendy Tribeca Film Festival, inviting entertainers like Spike Lee
and Natalie Portman to give sessions.”
But PCWorld’s Dan Moren believes
the moves to accommodate multiple trainees and restrict sign-ups in its
One to One programs suggests an attempt to rein in costs.
“The changes could
mark a sign of Apple streamlining its process and trying to do more with
less,” wrote Mr. Moren.
What do you think of the remodeling efforts at Apple’s stores? What moves
will be particularly beneficial? Are there any that have you concerned?
- Economy isn’t slowing Apple’s building – USA
- Apple continues investing during
bad economy – CNET
- Apple Remodeling 100 Stores, Changing
One to One Trainings – Macworld.com/PC World