Published On: Sat, Oct 8th, 2016

Sohum Mehta: Will Apple’s Name Change Really Matter?

Is there something different about you Apple store?

In an attempt to offer a more tailored experience unique to each city, Apple is rebranding their iconic Apple Stores. The move started with the flagship location in San Francisco, which has been affectionately referred to as Apple Union Square for some time. The company is officially dropping the “store” definer from all of its Apple Stores and replacing it with a city descriptor, such as Apple Fifth Avenue or Apple Yonge Street.

The rebranding will not only affect the name of the stores, but also the type of experience customers can expect.

photo/ Benjamín Núñez González via wikimedia

photo/ Benjamín Núñez González via wikimedia

“Apple, and all smart retailers, are recognizing that in a world of smartphones, stores are less necessary for buying things, especially technology,” notes tech writer, Richard Kestenbaum. “Good retailers will transform their stores from retail to entertainment. Retailers who can make that transition will cause consumers to have a deeper relationship with their brands.”

Apple is also aware that everyone who ventures into one of their stores isn’t always looking to purchase something. Some customers are looking for technical support or just to peruse the merchandise and tap into the free Wi-Fi.

In order to cater to the wide array of Apple visitors, stores are also undergoing a makeover to make them more inviting and user friendly. The new stores feature large 6K video screens, lush greenery, and some have ditched the traditional Genius Bar setup in favor of giving customers an area to just sit down and hang out.

The massive overhaul was the initiated by Apple senior VP of retail Angela Ahrendts, who envisions the stores as a community hub. At the reopening of the Apple Union Square location Ahrendt’s said that the new vision is for “the store to become one with the community.”

The move, which takes a multinational company and gives it a local vibe, is being hailed as a smart move, especially in a day and age when customers want to feel more engaged and valued by the companies they choose to do business with.

Consumer bank analyst Sohum Mehta sees Apple’s rebranding as the company returning to its roots.

“For a company that has been thinking globally for over a decade, it is refreshing to see them refocus on relationships at the city and community level,” said Sohum Mehta.

Mehta explained that this new shift will lay the groundwork for other companies wanting to engage customers in new ways. “Shifting from a retail only focus to an immersive experience is exactly what a company with such strong digital and online ties needs,” said Mehta. “I expect other large companies to follow suit.”

In the fifteen years since Apple opened their first brick and mortar store, the company has become one of the most recognized brands on Earth and has built a brand that’s synonymous with innovation and evolution.  Today the tech giant has 479 retail stores in 18 countries and an online store that is available in 39 countries.

Apple’s market saturation has resulted in global sales of more than $16 billion USD annually. Currently, Apple leads the United States retail market in terms of sales per unit area.

Author: Ted Pearman

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