Apple's former retail boss spills magic beans on store strategy

Ron Jonhson on improving icommunities, transforming ilives


Apple doesn't just construct retail stores it brews a magical experience that transforms your very existence, or so said Ron Johnson, former retail veep at the firm.

Did someone say ahem...bullshit? No of course not.

The man - now CEO at loss-making J.C. Penny - gave an insight into the cerebral workings of an Apple exec during a film shot by Washington Square Films and pushed out to fanzine 9to5mac.

The film is way more than a year old - it is dated July 2011, many months before Johnson left the role for pastures new to be replaced by Brit John Browett.

Johnson said that when Apple launched its first retail outlet in 2001, "our first stores were like many retailers, prototypical stores put in a mall but then we discovered if you can tailor a store uniquely to its setting it can actually improve communities."

One community Apple hasn't helped to make better is the legion of loyal resellers that built shiny stores at some expense only to find that Apple was setting up stall around the corner.

"If I look at our stores half the physical space is devoted to ownership experiences, getting your personal timing, coming into the Genius bar, its about creating a great experience once you've bought the product and when we do it right they realise this store can be transformational to their life," he said.

The quotes keep on coming from Johnston, who said "most retailers view their space as the square footage they rent, we view our space as the environment we inhabit."

Apple's glass-fronted stores are things of beauty compared to other retail outlets, but they are also very successful for one other reason - they make shed loads of cash.

It's this sort of highfalutin nonsense and the ridiculous product launches which whip silly people into a religious retail fervour that are required to justify the premium prices Apple slaps on its kit. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Apple wins Epic court ruling: Devs will pay up for now as legal case churns on

    Previous injunction that ordered company to allow non-Apple payments systems is suspended

    Apple will not be required to implement third-party in-app payments systems for its App Store by 9 December, after a federal appeals court temporarily suspended the initial ruling on Wednesday.

    As part of its ongoing legal spat with Epic, a judge from the Northern District Court of California said Apple wasn’t a monopoly, but agreed it’s ability to swipe up to a 30 per cent fee in sales processed in iOS apps was uncompetitive. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ordered an injunction, giving the iGiant 90 days to let developers add links or buttons in their apps to direct users to third-party purchasing systems.

    Those 90 days were set to end on 9 December. If developers were allowed to process financial transactions using external systems they wouldn’t have to hand over their profits to Apple, they argued. When Apple tried to file for a motion to stay, which would pause the injunction until it filed an appeal, Rogers denied its request.

    Continue reading
  • Meg Whitman – former HP and eBay CEO – nominated as US ambassador to Kenya

    Donated $110K to Democrats in recent years

    United States president Joe Biden has announced his intention to nominate former HPE and eBay CEO Meg Whitman as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kenya.

    The Biden administration's announcement of the planned nomination reminds us that Whitman has served as CEO of eBay, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Quibi. Whitman also serves on the boards of Procter & Gamble, and General Motors.

    The announcement doesn't remind readers that Whitman has form as a Republican politician – she ran for governor of California in 2010, then backed the GOP's Mitt Romney in his 2008 and 2012 bids for the presidency. She later switched political allegiance and backed the presidential campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

    Continue reading
  • Ex-Qualcomm Snapdragon chief turns CEO at AI chip startup MemryX

    Meet the new boss

    A former executive leading Qualcomm's Snapdragon computing platforms has departed the company to become CEO at an AI chip startup.

    Keith Kressin will lead product commercialization for MemryX, which was founded in 2019 and makes memory-intensive AI chiplets.

    The company is now out of stealth mode and will soon commercially ship its AI chips to non-tech customers. The company was testing early generations of its chips with industries including auto and robotics.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021