It’s been the decade of mobile.

When Steve Jobs debuted the iPhone in 2007, it opened up a world of possibilities that now drives many consumer and retail interactions in 2021, a mere fourteen years later.

Mobile has taken over the world, with Google and Apple citing their app stores as a major contributor to their revenue.

But let’s talk about how Apple pivoted their retail experience to work in tandem with their vision for a mobile-first customer experience and what we can learn from this by breaking down just one example: getting retail to work with mobile.

How Apple positioned with mobile

  1. Mobile vs web

It wasn’t an easy sell even within Apple. Our Senior iOS Engineer at Embrace, Eric Lanz, was working for Apple when their newest Senior Vice President of Retail, Angela Ahrendts, began making a mobile push in 2014. He distinctively remembers the web team being unhappy with the incoming mobile shift and their arguments for pushback:

  • Customers need to see large, high-definition videos to know if they want something!
  • Not everyone can be expected to have a mobile device!

But Angela had a vision of preparing for the future while the web team was concerned with the present. See, the web team wasn’t incorrect — everything they said about shopping preferences mattered at the time. However, those were the behaviors of early 2000 consumers. Angela knew that to continuously appeal to a changing demographic and grow Apple’s customer base, she needed to spearhead a vision of change at Apple.

2. The changing demographic

What was the change? Well, millennials were starting to reach their mid-20s and 30s, which meant that the demographic of customers with disposable income was changing. These customers were not sitting down on a laptop to shop for lengthy periods of time; they had a different set of circumstances and behaviors when it came to shopping.

Apple’s goal with Angela was precisely that. To target the incoming millennials and pivot into the rise of mobile.

3. Bridging the Gap

Apple took many steps to reorient their customer experience and buying journey for the changing demographic due to mobile, and a great example is how they envisioned their App Store as part of the retail experience. Their customers could buy a product through mobile ahead of time and show up at the store to pick it up, instead of seeing a product and needing to go to a store to buy it. This small shuffling of the order of events not only appealed more to a generation with smartphones, but also broke down the obstacles towards buying a product.

A look towards the future

Mobile isn’t done changing the world of retail. New technologies constantly extend what users can accomplish within their devices.

From trying on glasses to house and interior design , the reach that mobile-focused companies can offer their customers is rapidly changing.

If you aren’t already in mobile, Embrace recommends considering the impact a mobile shift can have on your industry, especially if your competitors beat you to it.

If you are, then let Embrace help you with your mobile pursuits!

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