Tuesday, May 14, 2019

How the Apple Store Lost Its Luster

Mark Gurman and Matthew Townsend (Hacker News):

In interviews, current and former Apple employees blame a combination of factors. They say the stores have become mostly an exercise in branding and no longer do a good job serving mission shoppers like Smith. Meanwhile, they say, the quality of staff has slipped during an 18-year expansion that has seen Apple open more than 500 locations and hire 70,000 people.


The overhaul of the Genius Bar has been especially controversial. Customers looking for technical advice or repairs must now check in with an employee, who types their request into an iPad. Then when a Genius is free, he or she must find the customer wherever they happen to be in the store. Ahrendts was determined to get rid of lineups, but now the stores are often crowded with people waiting for their iPhones to be fixed or batteries swapped out.

The Genius service also lost the human touch. In the past, Geniuses could work on a Mac or iPhone right at the counter, chatting and explaining what they were doing.

Nick Heer:

The store I most frequently visit when I need support has a really strange vibe around the Genius Bar. I guess the intent is that, while you’re waiting five to forty-five minutes for your technician, you can look around for stuff to buy. But I don’t see people doing that. I see lots of people sitting awkwardly waiting at tables with lots of other people also sitting awkwardly. All of us just want our products fixed so we can go home.

Mark Gurman:

A former Apple retail exec tonight: “It was a wholesale leadership takeover by fashion industry insiders and agency people who had no idea what they were doing with Apple. Most of the folks who knew better are long since gone. O’Brien has her work cut out for her.”

Mitchel Broussard:

One former Apple executive said that O’Brien is looking to borrow from the past and break up Apple stores into more clearly defined sections. These include areas that promote Apple’s growing services business, like Apple Music and Apple TV+. A few employees speculated that she will also bring back the original Genius Bar.

Alex Johnson:

Did an iPad trade-in: was what I said it was. Changed offer: no ability to speak to a person. Contrast @gazelle : real people. Retail: per Bloomberg story. iCloud billing: where to begin.


Update (2019-05-31): Mark Gurman and Taylor Riggs:

Former Apple Inc. retail head Angela Ahrendts defended her revamp of the company’s stores over the past five years, and called her tenure “mission accomplished.”

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

for years now, Apple favours form over function, in everything it seems. ;(

One hopes these problems are why the leadership of retail was changed.

Nick Radonic

Apple repair store waiting area -- saddest place in the world...(short of a medical emergency)...all those people waiting awkwardly for a repair that's going to take a while, and maybe cost a bundle. Psychologically painful because we identify so much with our phone and the information on it, and stand a decent chance to have it all disappear if its too old or too broken - costing us replacement cost, and having to reload everything.

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