Ron Johnson, the man widely regarded as the brains behind the creation of Apple’s hugely successful chain of retail stores, is on the verge of launching a “high-end, on-demand delivery service for gadgets.”
Several people with knowledge of Johnson’s plans told The Information this week that the former Apple retail chief has been talking to a number of smartphone manufacturers, among other firms, about the project.
He’s even reported to have brought on board former Apple executive Jerry McDougal to help realize his plan.
While Johnson’s startup is expected to be primarily focused on delivering tech to customers, it’s also suggested that customer service and advice will form a significant part of the business, which The Information’s report describes as “Best Buy’s Geek Squad meets Apple’s Genius Bar.”
It’s not immediately clear on what kind of scale Johnson’s service will launch, or exactly when it’s likely to start operating.
Johnson joined Apple in 2000, helping to develop and design Apple’s approach to retail, with the company’s first stores opening in 2001. The stores, with their minimalist design, glass fronts and staircases, and wooden tables showing off the company’s latest devices, proved popular with consumers who until then had become accustomed to more humdrum tech shopping experiences. Other electronics firms have since imitated Apple’s approach to retail shopping with similarly designed stores of their own.
Under Johnson’s guidance, Apple’s retail arm saw huge sales growth, generating billions of dollars in revenue. The Cupertino company’s brick-and-mortar operation has since expanded to more than 430 locations in around 15 countries.
After a stint at JC Penney following his departure from Apple in 2011, Johnson now looks to be turning his back on brick-and-mortar shopping and is instead looking at a delivery-based experience for shoppers.
The former Apple executive revealed his approach to the retail business a couple of years ago, saying that it was always his aim to “rethink everything.”
“Retailing’s always been about creativity, it’s about creating exciting new ways for people to shop, new products for people to purchase, new ways to do things,” Johnson said.
We should soon discover if this philosophy has been carried through to his latest venture.
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