Three weeks into her tenure at Apple, Ahrendts is already reshaping the retail executive team, visiting stores, and holding calls with store managers. Most importantly, she has outlined a three-part vision for the future of Apple retail: an emphasis on China, mobile payments, and completely revamping the end-to-end Apple Store sales experience.
Ahrendts would like to focus on growth in China and will be working with the head of China retail to accomplish that goal. Ahrendts believes the tastes of Chinese consumers are critical across the globe, and plans on expanding its retail footprint in that area. Currently Apple has 10 retail stores in China, but plans to grow to 30 stores by 2016.
Ahrendts second focus area is mobile payments.
Senior Vice President Eddy Cue and former online store chief Jennifer Bailey assemble a team to build a mobile payments service for the iPhone, Ahrendts and new online stores VP Kupbens are seeking to improve mobile payments in Apple’s retail stores and mobile apps for both the online and in-person purchases. Ahrendts is said to be eyeing a major focus on blurring the lines between Apple’s online and physical stores in order to improve the overall experience for Apple customers.
Finally, Ahrendts third focus is an entire revamp of the end-to-end Apple Store sales experience with an effort to improve the customer experience. Ahrendts hopes to redesign the entire experience from the way a customer finds a product to the way they pay for it.
Many employees at Apple are already fond of Ahrendts and excited for what she has in store. She she noted that she has always been inspired by Steve Jobs, and told some retail managers "I got my MBA at Burberry, but I will get my PhD at Apple.” When she was appointed last fall, Tim Cook added "cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people. She believes in enriching the lives of others and she is wicked smart.”