Today at Apple Continues to Inspire Creativity, Community
Though it was something of a footnote during the MacBook Air and iPad Pro launch event on October 30, Apple did spend some time talking about its retail efforts and the strides the company is making with its brick-and-mortar stores. Retail chief Angela Ahrendts was on hand to provide an update on the Today at Apple program, which, shockingly, has already been around for a year and a half.
Since its launch, the program has built up into a content powerhouse for the company. According to Ahrendts, Apple hosts roughly 18,000 Today at Apple sessions per week with millions of attendees around the globe taking part in those sessions.
“The mission of our stores has always been to enrich the lives of our customers,” she said. And Today at Apple is doing that by offering a bevy of new sessions designed to deepen customers’ knowledge of Apple products.
At the event, Apple announced 60 newly designed Today at Apple sessions that include courses on video, music, design, walking tours, and labs. Some new sessions specifically highlighted include: the first-ever video lab called Small Screen Magic that was co-created by YouTube star Zach King; a photo lab that focuses on creating beautiful family portraits; a Color and Mood with Final Cut Pro video lab; a design lab called Drawing Treehouses; and more.
Additionally, Ahrendts said the company will continue to focus on opening flagship locations around the world that amplify the Today at Apple experience. “Today at Apple could be retail’s greatest platform,” she said.
Focus on Content
It’s that focus on content and creating experiences that should stand out and resonate with the retail community—from big box stores down to the local retailer. Apple as a brand is in a unique position with its retail locations because they’re specifically pushing their product, but the concept is one that can still be applied to the broader retail market.
By developing classes and experiences that attract customers into the store, Apple is creating a reason to come to their stores for a reason other than to simply shop. The act of buying or pushing the sale gets put on the back burner, and instead, customers are invited into the store to learn and engage with a content program. That program inherently leverages the very products that Apple is trying to sell, but it does so in a way that’s engaging and downright fun. Additionally, these programs have given local creatives a platform to get their name out there in their communities—so it’s a win for Apple, a win for the artists and talent who come in to help lead the sessions, and a win for the customers who engage in the program.
Apple’s commitment to the content doesn’t stop with the Today at Apple program itself, though. During the event, Ahrendts showed off some updates to the Apple Store iOS app, which was recently updated to include a Sessions spotlight. So, customers who venture into the app to browse through Apple products can also stumble upon Today at Apple sessions happening near them, view recommended sessions based on the products they own, and browse the entire collection of upcoming sessions.
Retailers today need to create a compelling reason for customers to come into their stores—reasons that extend beyond making a purchase. We’ve seen past examples of retailers creating co-working spaces. Others utilize special events to draw crowds. And even more have adopted educational sessions similar to Today at Apple to get foot traffic into their stores. Whatever the method, these types of non-traditional retail events are proving their worth. Sales are obviously important, but creating a sense of community and becoming a destination rather than a quick-stop has far greater long-term value.
Today at Apple has more than done that for the Cupertino tech company.