Apple banks with physical stores as economies reopen after COVID-19, head of retail, says


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

Apple does so when retailers find out what the future after the pandemic looks like, including consumers who are used to ordering almost everything online.

Apple believes the answer is to maintain what helped him during the pandemic and to double his pre-pandemic strategy for in-store events and experiences outside of shopping.

For example, to help customers pick up online orders more efficiently, the quick counters that have appeared will become regular features in Apple’s 500 plus stores around the world, all of which reopened on June 14th.

iPhone Maker will also add a new “Creative Studios” program, starting in Los Angeles and Beijing, designed to teach young people in underrepresented communities how to use Apple products to create music, movies and photos. This adds a wider range of categories based on stores designed to bring customers more in touch with Apple.

“We’re looking at this moment right now to start over and start all over again,” Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s vice president of retail and human resources, told Reuters as the company prepared Thursday to open a new store at the refurbished Tower Theater in downtown Los Angeles, Apple’s second new U.S. in retail after the start of the pandemic.

Apple flourished during the pandemic, $ 2 trillion (roughly Rs. 1,48,36,500 crores) at market value in August 2020 and setting records for sales of iPhone mobile phones and several other categories.

Analysts say one of the weaknesses in retail financial results was the slowdown in sales AppleCare, a hardware insurance plan that is often sold during a store visit, but is easier for consumers to skip online. Apple also experienced supply chain errors over the past year and delivered it iPhone 12 later than usual last year and said in April that a global semiconductor shortage would cost it several billion dollars.

Personal experience

Part of the success of Apple’s retail business during the closures simplified the online purchase pickup process. Apple’s long-term retail strategy has been to encourage customers to roam their airy stores to touch and feel their devices.

During the pandemic, Apple worked again in many stores to get small quick counters designed to make picking up quick but still give a personal touch, sometimes by following online or by phone later to set up devices.

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

As local regulations allow, Apple will return to personal events and classes in its stores. “Creative Studios” will eventually come to other big cities as well, O’Brien said.

Creative Strategies chief analyst Carolina Milanesi said programs like these, in addition to courses in teaching computer coding and other technical skills, are ways Apple can strengthen its brand with consumers between purchases.

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

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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