How Apple Retail Stores lost their luster

“Web Smith’s recent experience at his local Apple store in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, has been an exercise in frustration,” Mark Gurman and Matthew Townsend report for Bloomberg. “‘It took me forever to get someone to sell me the product,’ says Smith, who runs 2PM Inc., an e-commerce research and consulting firm. ‘It’s become harder to buy something, even when the place isn’t busy. Buying a product there used to be a revered thing, now you don’t want to bother with the inconvenience.’”

“Smith’s sentiment is shared by legions of Apple customers who vent on social media, customer forums and in conversations with reporters,” Gurman and Townsend report. “Only a few years ago, the raves easily outpaced the pans.”

“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,” Gurman and Townsend report. “In January, Apple Inc. stunned Wall Street, warning that revenue for the holiday quarter would come in well below forecasts, mostly owing to slowing sales of the iPhone. While weakening demand for Apple’s most important product largely reflects a maturing smartphone market, the problems at the stores weren’t helping. Weeks later, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook announced that retail chief Angela Ahrendts was leaving and would be succeeded by veteran Apple executive Deirdre O’Brien.”

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MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s giant-sized growing pains continue on multiple fronts from shipping product (Mac Pro) to decision-making (killing branded displays – seriously?) to shipping million upon millions or badly-designed keyoards to Apple Retail Store woes and beyond.

Apple is the most successful broken company in the history of the world... The butterfly keyboard is but one manifestation of Apple’s issues. The AirPower fiasco (printed on AirPods boxes no less) is another. Five+ years and counting with a dead-end goofball design on sale as the company’s flagship Mac, yet another. Need we go on? There have been many easily avoidable screwups over the years and, until the root cause is fixed — this stems from the very top with misplaced priorities and conflict aversion, to name just two biggies — these snafus will likely continue, further eroding Apple’s brand in the process.MacDailyNews, April 2, 2019

As for Apple Stores, especially the mall stores, what used to be a draw have become something to be avoided for years now due to overcrowding of what seems mainly to be people dealing with broken iPhones competing with people straining to hear free courses due to poor/no acoustical design by Apple interior designers, and asinine wooden boxes strewn about for “seating,” to name just three repellents. — MacDailyNews, April 15, 2019

Mallpocalypse: Even Apple Stores can’t save dying shopping malls – April 15, 2019

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