A little over a week ago, we watched in passing as Apple Retail (the division that runs the Apple stores) rehired some employees who had been fired by mistake. John Browett, the head of the stores, admitted that they had made a mistake, provoking a variety of opinions on the matter. But recent leaks may suggest that Apple Stores are shifting their focus slightly, with the focus on profits rather than the customer experience.
There are some signs that indicate this : it seems that the number of workshops being done is decreasing, overtime that can be done by workers and the hours of part-time contracts are being limited, changes in the way of measuring the performance of a shop specialist… there are details to be taken into account such as that when a customer pays for an item using EasyPay the profit becomes the merit of the shop and not the employee… who is precisely instructed by management to explain the EasyPay payment method to the customers.
According to the source, changes are also planned in the layout of the elements of the Apple Store, with more products in the main area of the store and more accessories . It seems that the maintenance costs of the stores have also been cut. If we look at it, it’s as if everything is changing to concentrate on getting more profit from the stores.
The effects can already be seen in the morale of the employees according to the leaks received by ifoAppleStore, which has gone down seeing how Browett has not explained the causes of wrongful dismissals and has also asked the employees not to talk about the matter among themselves. We insist: these are leaks to the ifoAppleStore media that cannot be confirmed, although it looks like the arrival of Browett as Apple Retail’s vice president has set some changes in motion.
The main focus Ron Johnson had with the Apple Store is the one that remains now: the attention to the user . The experience that the user perceives when he enters one of the company’s stores and is served by the employees. Ron and Steve Jobs opened the first stores following that philosophy, and it goes without saying how far they’ve been able to go. But when Steve Jobs was absent, Tim Cook and Peter Oppenheimer (Apple’s top financial advisor) decided that the focus of the stores had to be on sales by seeing how more profit could be achieved through other channels such as the Apple website.
The deduction, according to the source, is that those layoffs that ended up being corrected were the result of the changes that Tim Cook is trying to apply to the Apple stores along with Browett. The author of the leaks “regrets” to have to say that innovation in Apple Retail seems to be slowly diminishing.
I’m not going to say that one should always follow “what Steve Jobs would have done” (he himself told Tim Cook not to), but the future of the stores and their performance depends on these decisions. Because it is not enough that it is architecturally unique in the world, it is not enough that its location is ideal to receive as many people as possible: the years have shown more than enough that what makes a person return to an Apple Store is the attention received and the experience he has had within the premises.
John Browett has Tim Cook’s hand on his shoulder, but after his start at the helm of the Apple Store, he’d better decide his next steps much more cautiously. After all, we are talking about a network of stores that has defied the current global economy by overflowing with profits and has earned the same adjective as most of its products during their launch: revolutionary .