Tech giant Apple is among the latest retailers to revamp its stores in a bid to enhance the customer experience, unveiling a new-look outlet at Bondi Junction in Sydney.
The re-imagined retail store features a focus on “education and inspiration”, while also boasting environmentally friendly credentials.
It follows a trend that sees many big retailers re-thinking their bricks and mortar offerings in a bid to lure the digitally savvy consumer.
Here’s an insight into the new Apple outlet and other retailers undertaking a consumer-focused refresh.
Apple’s big reveal
The store at Bondi Junction is the first of eight Apple outlets to see a major revamp, with large screens, tables and a forum-like feel that is designed to entice consumers to stay longer in each store.
Apple will use the venue to offer free classes and educational sessions in a service called Today at Apple, aimed at ensuring consumers get more out of their devices.
Apple senior director for retail real estate and development, Rebecca Cullen, told the Sydney Morning Herald the redesign included signage and display upgrades that removed ambiguity and encouraged hands-on interaction with products while also inspiring and educating Apple customers.
“These re-imagined stores introduce our latest retail design and provide a new home for Today at Apple, free daily sessions designed to inspire and educate the community,” Ms Cullen said.
“All of Apple’s Australian upgrades will feature a central Forum and video wall, where art and creativity come to life.”
Apple noted the stores fulfilled an emerging customer need for assistance in learning about technology.
Meanwhile, the outlet also has an environmentally friendly focus, relying on renewable energy and offering customers a drop-off point to recycle their old devices.
Among other big-name national identities rethinking retail design is Telstra, who over the past year rolled out a new look in the form of their FRE 1.5 stores.
Resembling a co-working space more than a telecommunications provider, the new stores feature easy access to technology, along with sofas, booths, and workshop areas.
Featuring natural timbers, greenery and open spaces, the stores are designed to increase customer comfort, while showcasing products and offering a range of consultation spaces.
In what is probably Australia’s best-known store revamp, David Jones is currently undergoing a $200 million renovation at their flagship Elizabeth Street store in Sydney.
Announced last year, the makeover will include a champagne bar with city views, a focus on food, specialised “worlds” and removing shelves to allow natural light to stream in.
“A lot of people ask, is the department store dying? We like to think of the department store as becoming more relevant but the way we need to run it is changing,” Former CEO David Thomas told News Corp last year.
The new focus will include better products, better use of space, creating a must-see retail destination and better customer service.
Meanwhile, even grocery retailers aren’t immune to a refresh, with Woolworths recently announcing plans to change its store model for the first time since 2011.
Inside Retail notes, the supermarket giant is set to “put a greater focus on fresh food, convenience and customer service to suit changing customer needs” with the creation of two new fresh food departments in the coming months.
“Over the last few years our customers’ needs have changed, but the way we have been operating our stores has stayed the same,” Claire Peters, managing director, Woolworths Supermarkets told Inside Retail.
“With customers’ ongoing expectations in fresh, and more shoppers looking for increased convenience, our stores need to deliver the best possible customer experience, every time.”