Apple Stores unify employee shirts as major customer service enhancements planned

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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…

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Apple announces August 2nd opening of Wuxi, China retail store

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Apple has officially announced plans to open its new Wuxi, China retail store on August 2nd, according to a listing on the company’s website.

The new establishment, which will be the 12th official Apple retail store in the country, will be located in the Center 66 Mall (pictured above). However, there don’t seem to be any photos of Apple’s new space available just yet, as the company still undoubtedly has some work to do before it’s ready for the public eye.

The Wuxi store, like the Chongqing store opening next week, is a continuation of Apple’s plan to increase its presence in China over the course of 2014 and 2015 under the guidance of new VP of Retail Angela Ahrednts.

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New iTunes Pass credit refill service now available in United States and several other countries

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Yesterday Apple rolled out its new iTunes Pass service to Japan, allowing users to use a Passbook card to add credit to an iTunes account from an Apple Retail Store. Starting today, the offer is also available in the United States and Australia. Users in Canada, Germany, and the UK are also reporting seeing the feature, though it’s not officially listed on Apple’s website for those countries just yet.

To take advantage of this new program, you need to use the iTunes Store app on an iOS device to obtain an iTunes Pass. You can get one of these by tapping the “Redeem” button at the bottom of the home page within the app. To use the card, you can visit an Apple Retail Store and ask a specialist to help you add credit to your account. The specialist can then scan the barcode on the Passbook card to immediately add credit to your account.

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Apple begins hiring for another 3 new retail stores in China

Photo: mshcdn.com

Photo: mshcdn.com

We previously reported that Apple had new retail stores planned for the Chongqing region as well as upcoming locations for Shenyang and Central Hangzhou coming later this year. Today three more stores in China get added to the mix with a job listing on the company’s website hiring for positions in Tianjin, Wuxi, and Zhengzhou in addition to the three stores mentioned above that we already knew about (via Bloomberg).  Read more

Impressive new Omotesando Apple Store Tokyo set to open on June 13th

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Last month we showed you the new Apple Store in Portland as well as to soon-to-open location in Madrid, and now photos of a new, multi-level glass Apple Store are starting to surface from Japan. The gigantic retail location is located on the Omotesando avenue alongside several other flagship retailers and is set to open to the public on Friday, June 13th, as invitations to attend the day one experience have already been sent out. More photos below… Read more

Apple plans ‘enormous’ iPhone upgrade event this week to boost sales

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Apple is planning to hold an “enormous” iPhone-related event in its stores this week in order to boost sales, according to a source with knowledge of the initiative. Beginning May 8th, the source said, Apple will be contacting upgrade-eligible iPhone users with older iPhone models via email to come into their local Apple Store to update to a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c…

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