What’s Up with the Apple Store Name Change?
News has been making the rounds over the last few days about how Apple plans to change the name of its 479
retail stores location around the world, simplifying the name to just Apple. The changes have already gone into effect on the Cupertino company's website and will start rolling out in new and already-open locations. So, for example, one of the local Philadelphia locations formerly known as the Apple Store, Willow Grove Park, will now simple be known as Apple Willow Grove Park:
Same goes for the store in Manhattan Village:
And so on, and so on.
But why make the move? What’s Apple trying to do here by dropping the word store? Customers will still be able to walk into these locations, take out a credit card (or use Apple Pay) to purchase product. But, as the company noted in a memo to retail employees, the move is designed to signify the company’s shift towards a model where these “stores” are positioned more as gathering places for the community.
It’s an initiative that’s been spearheaded by the company’s senior vice president of retail, Angela Ahrendts. “The store becomes one with the community," she said at the opening of Apple Union Square, according to The Verge.
It was clear with the opening of the first Apple Stores that these locations were different from typical electronics shops, and the move really solidifies the company’s positioning as more of a boutique shop and experiential showroom. Sure, you can buy a new iPhone or MacBook, but the real fun of going to an Apple location is being able to test out the phones and computers, attend classes on how to use these gadgets and new technology, and—of course—get the one-on-one personalized product setup with a knowledgeable employee, and more.
It’s a model that any retailer can learn from in 2016. As in-store sales numbers continue to be cannibalized by the convenience of online shopping, retailers—big and small—can position themselves in their communities as places to gather. Showrooms that offer unique experiences for the consumer (i.e. free internet on an iMac) give them a reason to keep coming back. Maybe it’s something as simple as keeping a popcorn machine stocked and ready for the next hungry passerby.
Of course, the goal is to convert those lingering consumers into buying customers, but the struggle right now is even getting them in the door. So while dropping the word ‘Store’ might seem like an insignificant story as far as Apple news is concerned, it’s the idea that they’re driving a company-wide culture of being more than just a store that truly ought to be headline-grabbing and eye-opening for retailers.