Apple Stores are getting a makeover. They’ll still be wide and open but you’ll see some with plants, benches, and more importantly, an audience. Apple Store head honcho Angela Ahrendts thinks Apple could be a bit more like Starbucks but also a place to learn about the company’s products.
Apple has 495 retails stores scatter around the globe; the most here in the good old U.S. of A. What’s coming is a change. Apple plans to launch 60 educational sessions in the stores to teach art, design, digital media, even coding. The program will be called Today at Apple.
What’s the result?
Apple hopes the retail stores will become something of a modern-day town square, a place where customers can view new products, get support and service on Apple products, but also learn about how to use those products and respective applications.
This makeover begins at most stores at the end of May, starting with classes, seating, wall displays, and mobile screens for the education sessions.
As Yogi Berra once said, “No one goes there nowadays. It’s too crowded.” That’s been an ongoing problem at many Apple Stores, though less so here in New York and in other larger metropolitan areas.
Elsewhere, Apple Stores are not so large inside so I’m curious to know how the company plans to remodel those stores and make room for education space. Stores in Canada, for example, are far smaller than in the U.S., on average.
Regardless, Apple plans to make the Apple Store a place to gather for information and instruction, and that further differentiates the Apple customer experience from any other PC or smartphone maker. Where do you go to get instruction on how to use a Samsung Galaxy whatever? Has anyone ever seen a Google employee at a store?
Starbucks has grown to become something of a gathering place, albeit for 1) short meeting times with a friend, or, 2) sit and lounge around using Wi-Fi. Apple’s objective is similar, but different. The new stores will be more educational, and classes are likely to attract onlookers from within the store, which will breed even more attendance and foot traffic.
Just remember what Yogi Berra said.
When friends and co-workers start talking about meeting up for a class at the Apple Store then you’ll know Apple’s store makeover is working.