Ron Johnson believes consumers want the convenience of e-commerce combined with the competence of physical stores, so he created a company that leverages the best of both platforms. Enjoy.com provides last-mile delivery by trained tech experts for brands such as Google, Sonos, AT&T and Magic Leap.
Johnson, chief executive officer and cofounder of Enjoy.com, launched the company with chief creative officer Tom Suiter, whom he met at Apple in the early Aughts. Each of Enjoy’s experts receives more than 160 hours of training before they can schedule an appointment to deliver products such as Magic Leap One’s virtual reality headset or Sonos speakers and teach consumers how to use or set-up the devices.
“Service is a luxury in today’s world,” Johnson said. “Enjoy works in the comfort of consumers’ homes and on-demand.
“I’ve always been a kind of contrarian,” he added. “We’re entering the golden age of retail — for surviving retailers.”
Johnson witnessed the evolution of the shopping mall from a unique vantage point. “When I was born, people shopped on Main Street,” he said. “Then, Southdale Mall, the first enclosed mall in the U.S., opened in Edina, Ohio, where I lived, and disrupted Main Street.”
Other disruptions followed. Walmart and Kmart opened in the early Sixties, specialty stores disrupted retail in the Eighties, big-box category killers and superstores for toys, and off-pricers and outlet malls opened.
“Online shopping is simply the latest disruption — it’s a big one,” Johnson said. “Online shopping is the first disruption that can be disrupted back. The same tools that Amazon used to disrupt physical retailers are now being used by stores. Target and Walmart basically turned their stores into warehouses. They fought back and are proving that they can win. Now, Amazon has to figure out how to catch up to them.”
Johnson said Amazon will open more square footage than any other retailer. “The fastest way to acquire new customers is through stores,” he said. “[But] the U.S. is massively overstored. Tired retail has never worked.”
Struggling retail formats cited by Johnson included Macy’s and J.C. Penney, where he served a brief and disastrous tenure as the retailer’s ceo. “Those retailers haven’t reinvented themselves,” he said. “They haven’t embraced technology. They need to find a way to reinvest in POS-systems and update their physical environments. Apple’s 15-year-old store on Fifth Avenue was just remodeled for the third time.”
Enjoy is creating career paths with full-time jobs for people with tech backgrounds, and Johnson sees the brand working with high-end specialty retailers and department stores. A consumer’s home could become a dressing room for looks delivered by a stylist. “When we get into fashion, the salespeople and specialists will be stylists,” he said. “These experts are important to your life and they’re candidates for [providing] mobile retail experiences.”
There’s also broad applications for Enjoy and beauty products. Aestheticians would introduce brands in a convenient and more intimate way than department store beauty counters, where makeovers and sampling are done out in the open. Unlike Avon or Mary Kay, Enjoy doesn’t sell its own products. Orders are placed through a manufacturer’s web site, which offers Enjoy’s free expert delivery during the online checkout process. Brands pay for the service.
About 40 percent of Enjoy’s customers request same-day delivery for orders, and 50 percent, next day.
The ceo said the brand is innovating with its business model. “Enjoy is disrupting physical stores because it does last mile delivery. We’re disrupting the warehouse and disrupting the retail work force because all of our employees work out of consumers’ houses. There will always be disruptors. Embrace disruption.”