How Apple May Change the Face of Retail


A single executive defection from Apple – Ron Johnson who will become the new J.C. Penney president is responsible for a 5.11% jump in the retailer’s stock price. This has me wondering if investors believe that some of the Apple magic which allows Cupertino to charge more for its products, in-part because its stores are busy will rub off on the retailer. Without question, for a techie or Apple fan, going into an Apple store is like a weight-challenged kid entering a pancake, ice cream and candy buffet.

But even if J.C. Penney stores are remade to resemble Apple stores, will the typical customer looking for the products in the store be wowed? I am not convinced that consumers need to feel like they have walked into a MOMA-inspired environment when they need an extra pair of underwear or socks.

But then again, the shopping experience in many department stores is fairly mundane. Even high-end Sachs – the one in Miami and Stamford, CT look archaic.

So let’s imagine a tech-laden store with interactive video to help you virtually try on clothes with an improved design with a feel which looks more like an Abercrombie than J.C. Penney. It may bring in new customers and get people defecting from other outlets to experience a cool new look and feel.

What blows the mind though is how the genius of Steve Jobs and Apple can be responsible for change across industry after industry. From music to movies to tablets to laptops and PCs and now potentially retail. It is amazing really and Apple may go down in history as the most influential company of our lifetimes.

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