New Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts is continuing her Apple debut tour this week. The former Burberry Chief Executive Officer today toured through Apple’s many stores in the New York City area and she also held a question-and-answer session with select Apple Retail Store managers earlier this week week. Ahrendts today sent a memo with a transcript of some of the Q&A points to all retail employees, and a full copy of that transcript, sent in by a source, is below:
Question 1: How can we become better ambassadors of the company as the face of Apple?
Answer: We are all ambassadors of the company and staying in tune with our message is key to our success. Be involved and be astute about what’s going on inside and outside of our stores. Look at Apple’s website every day, and browse the Apple Online Store on a regular basis. Experience our new marketing and advertising by watching our new ad campaigns. Be aware of our earnings results, and watch our key events, like WWDC. These are external messages our customers see and hear about our brand, so we must stay attuned to the things that engage and entertain them. Retail employees comprise more than half of our total Apple population. As you build relationships with our customers, you are also building loyalty to the company. I love the last line of our Credo,” We are at our best when we deliver enriching experiences that help owners of our products get more of our technology and of themselves.” You bring this to life and by doing this we get the brand out there in the most compelling way.
Question 2: What can the online store and the offline retail stores learn from one another and how are they connecting?
Answer: The online store and retail stores are already connecting and learning from one another. Cross functional teams are meeting and gaining incredible insights into the changing customer journey, and how together we can Convince, Care, Customize, and Contribute as one team. There is more and more party in the images and look between our offline and online stores. We must know that 80% of the time, our customer journey begins online and we must evolve to ensure we support this preference.
Question 3: What has touched and changed you so far? Have there been any growing pains since you’ve started?
Answer: What has touched and changed me so far is the brilliant balance between the creative and the commercial that the company has maintained as it has grown so dramatically. I was slightly concerned at first that as a right-brain/left-brain leader, I wouldn’t fit into a technology company. I have realized, however, there is an unbelievable culture here that values leadership, marketing, and customer skills as I do. Everyone has been warm and welcoming, passionate, and compassionate, so my only growing pains have been to learn how to quickly navigate such a large and complex organization.
Question 4: Tell us more about Angela, the person.
Answer: Lastly, I am not sure if there are personal facts I can share that aren’t already in the public domain, but I’m so proud that my husband and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary next month. We have three amazing teens, two wonderful Bernese mountain dogs, and two beautiful rag doll cats who will soon make their journey to San Francisco.
Ahrendts ends her note to employees today by further reflecting on her first three months at Apple. “What an amazing 90 days it has been! I sincerely am honored to be here with you on this fantastic journey,” she told employees. These answers to employee questions come a few weeks after Ahrendts emailed retail employees regarding her start at Apple and some teases regarding her plans for the future of retail. Ahrendts has also been communicating with the public by way of frequent posts on LinkedIn. Ahrendts, as we first detailed, has also confided in select Apple executives and store managers in regards to her plans for the future of retail, which will focus on mobile payment technologies, a renewed spotlight on China, and a new end-to-end customer experience online and offline.
In addition to the aforementioned memo, Ahrendts today took a tour of Apple’s New York City-area Apple Retail Stores. I noted on Twitter this morning that Ahrendts will be touring New York Apple Stores, and our own Seth Weintraub happened to be at the Grand Central Apple Store for his now almost-monthly Retina MacBook Pro repair session at the Genius Bar. Sure enough, Seth spotted Ahrendts in the store at around 3:00 PM, and he saw her greet the workers and learn more about the store for the next half an hour or so. In addition to the above photos, here are a couple of videos Seth recorded at the store of Ahrendts’s tour:
Seth says that “Ahrendts seemed genuinely interested in how the store worked and especially how it was set up.” This is, of course, a large departure from previous retail head John Browett, who seems to have mostly focused on cutting costs, laying off employees, and not apologizing.
Looking ahead, Ahrendts is overseeing various other new store openings across America, Europe, and China.