Thursday, 16 October 2008

Apple's new glass store!

Apple Inc has got an all-new glass store in US. The glass-facade building, which is now Apple's largest retail store in the US, is sandwiched between aging brick buildings in Boston's historic Boylston Street.

The three-story building with Apple's iconic logo is said to be the result of a real estate hunt started eight years ago. The store has been built in the former location of an old Copy Cop store, which was demolished.

Before the store was opened to public this week, it was decorated with a facade meant to resemble the Green Monster, the famed left field wall in Boston's Fenway Park. Here's looking inside the walls of the Glass Store.

Three storeyed shine

The custom-designed three-story building at 815 Boylston St is 21,350-square feet with signature details including smoked glass, chrome and stone floors from Florence, Italy.

The first floor of the store sells computers, including iMacs and MacBooks. The second floor has Apple's hottest gadgets where customers can test-drive all of the iPods and iPhones.

The third floor is all about service. There is a "Genius Bar" of experts providing tips, tricks and personal training. At the 17-stool long Genius Bar customers can get technical assistance, as well as other services. Dubbed as "studio" section, the third floor also hosts one-to-one training sessions, on music, movie making and more.

Touch and feely!

Apple stores aim at providing customers a place to come and feel and touch the products, and more importantly, talk to someone who knows the products intimately.

A sales force of "specialists" wear aqua blue and technicians are each dubbed Genius as they work the third floor wearing dark blue -- all projecting a trademark retail image that has helped drive sales growth.

The store will also feature training for younger Apple users, with summer camp programmes and school nights.

Steve's touch

The store is designed by a team that is personally headed by CEO Steve Jobs. Little doubt then that layout differs from other retail stores of the company. There are three floors, connected by a central glass and steel spiral staircase, each targeted at specific products and tasks.

In the course of planning the store, Apple worked closely with the city of Boston and the Boston Redevelopment Authority to make the store fit into the neighborhood. In fact all of the store's employees are drawn from the surrounding area, many of them from local universities.

Over the years, Apple stores have also adopted new technologies such as handheld scanners that ring up purchases on the floor rather than forcing people to line up at registers.

Similarly, customers can go online to book time in a store with a "Mac genius" trouble-shooter or a "personal shopper" to help out with buying decisions.

Eyeing Green numbers!

Seems Apple is trying to make up for the poor Greenpeace rating at its new store. The company has made the sure that the new building is environmental friendly. The store has natural grass planted on its roof to provide some greenery in the urban environment.

The store is also set up to collect and filter rainwater to help rebuild Boston's Back Bay's water table.

Similarly, while the large amounts of glass and metal in the store's construction might present an air-conditioning challenge, Apple has worked hard to utilise natural light wherever possible to reduce heating costs in the winter.

Big on retail

The company's second-largest store globally after London's Regent Street offers a vivid glimpse into the latest retail thinking at the Cupertino, California-based Apple as it prepares to expand internationally with a new store in Beijing in the coming months.

In the last quarter, Apple generated $1.5 billion from its retail store sales, up a staggering 74 per cent from the year earlier.

The company now has 210 stores 183 in the US, 15 in the UK, seven in Japan, four in Canada, and one in Italy.