Restoration Hardware’s E-commerce Fighting Formula

A Tasteful Blend of Starbucks and Apple Retail Experiences designed to make customers fall in love

apple-most-sales-per-square-foot.pngApple has the most valuable retail real estate in history, outdoing Tiffany. As a result, Microsoft has stores which mimic Apple. Samsung does as well. More importantly, many retailers emulate the look of Apple stores. Who would have thought two decades ago that retailers had anything to learn from the computer industry?

This is part of the reason their head of retail was lured away some years back to turn J.C. Penney around. This failed spectacularly. The question is, can Apple’s magic be applied elsewhere?


Next up, Restoration Hardware or RH. Penney is a low-budget retailer where low prices and frequent sales dictate the company’s survival. The changes which were made included eliminating sale prices and improving the brand quality and price of the in-store merchandise. Shoppers didn’t adapt to spending more and new, premium customers, not surprisingly, never materialized. RH on the other hand is a premium brand.


“The heart is ten-thousand times more powerful than the mind,” says company’s Chairman & CEO, Gary Friedman. He believes his brand will be the Apple of their market – they are looking to make an emotional connection with consumers, not just intellectual. He suggests in a video that the irrational desire for consumers to stand in line to get a phone when they an order it online is what they are looking to emulate.

The company’s new galleries in Los Angeles and Atlanta seem to be big hits. These new sites blur residential and retail, indoors and outdoors. Physical and digital.

He says guests say they want to live in these new store experiences.

These inspired spaces with garden courtyards and rooftop parks; with reflecting pools, trickling fountains and fireplaces are the company’s insurance against online competition he implies.

In my opinion, we are seeing Starbucks meets Apple.

This could be retail’s best hope to take on the web.

If it is, we can thank Apple for transforming retail once again and in a weird way, helping bricks and mortar compete more effectively with one of Cupertino’s big rivals – Amazon.

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