The role of the physical store has evolved from the transactional to the experiential as retailers look to lure shoppers inside. And Apple definitely got that memo.
When the tech company rolled open the 42-foot-high glass doors to its new flagship in its hometown of San Francisco, on May 21, it also rolled out a host of new features that are designed to make it as much a community gathering spot as a place to hawk iPhones and smartwatches.
Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president of retail, said the space was designed to evoke a town square, while adhering to Apple’s signature wood, steel and glass aesthetic. New elements include live trees in the Genius Grove, a forum for hosting events and a public outdoor seating area with free Wi-Fi. “This is not just a store,” Ahrendts said. “We want people to say, ‘Meet me at Apple.’ ”