Apple is taking a small-step to unifying the attire of its U.S.-based Apple Store employees this upcoming week: the black shirts worn by Apple Store Business Team members for several years will be going into retirement, and all Apple Store employees will begin wearing the same, classic blue t-shirts as normally seen on the store sales floors. Is this a move from the handbook of Angela Ahrendts’ fashion background? Probably not. Sources say that the move happened in Europe a few months ago and the change-up is simply to unify the Apple Store teams as one. The business team will continue to exist in its current form (for now), so this is mostly just a visual change.
In other news, multiple sources also say that Apple is planning some significant operational changes within its stores to improve customer experience…
The first change that customers will experience in the near-future is an enhancement to the Genius Bar that will give customers more one-on-one time with a Genius. Right now, Apple Store appointments are supposed to be 10 minutes each. So, if you have a problem with your Mac, you get 10 minutes with an employee. If you also have an iPhone problem, you’ll need to create a separate 10 minute appointment. In the future, this policy will go away and customers will be able to book appointments with time limits based upon how many problems they’re bringing to the store at that particular time. There’s no ETA on a widespread rollout for this, but select stores have begun training for this and a small-scale rollout could be expected in the coming weeks or months.
Apple is also planning another shift, but exact details on what the change is are yet to become available. Sources say that Apple will be training its retail employees on a major new initiative between August 10th and August 28th. Genius Bar employees will be going through individual three hour training sessions, and sales staff members will each receive five hours of training over that roughly two-and-a-half weeks. One source thinks that the new initiative revolves around in-store iPhone activations, but that is uncertain. We’ll likely hear more about this one in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. (Update: Apple Stores to soon open up iPhone sales via AT&T Next, T-Mobile JUMP, & Verizon Edge)
These Apple Store changes come in the months following Angela Ahrendts taking over the Apple Retail division, and ahead of major new products such as larger iPhones, skinnier Macs, and wearable fitness/health bands. Ahrendts has already overseen some significant new store openings, and many more are planned in China, Europe, and the United States for later in 2014 and into 2015.