“The Walt Disney Company, with the help of Steven P. Jobs and his retailing team at Apple, intends to drastically overhaul its approach to the shopping mall,” Brooks Barnes reports for The New York Times. “At a time when many retailers are still cutting back or approaching strategic shifts with extreme caution, Disney is going the other way, getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe — as well as opening new ones, including a potential flagship in Times Square.”
“Disney Stores, which the media giant is considering rebranding Imagination Park, will become more akin to cozy entertainment hubs. The chain’s traditional approach of displaying row after row of toys and apparel geared to Disney franchises will be given a high-tech makeover and incorporated into a new array of recreational activities,” Barnes reports. “The goal is to make children clamor to visit the stores and stay longer, perhaps bolstering sales as a result. Over the next five years, analysts estimate that Disney will spend about $1 million a store to redecorate, reorganize and install interactive technology.”
Barnes reports, “The involvement of Mr. Jobs, the Apple chief executive who joined the Disney board with the 2006 acquisition of Pixar, is particularly notable. For the first time, Mr. Jobs’s fingerprints can be seen on Disney strategy, in the same way that he influenced the look and feel of Apple’s own immensely popular retail chain. While Mr. Jobs did not personally toil on the Imagination Park concept, he pushed Disney to move far past a refurbishment. ‘Dream bigger — that was Steve’s message,’ said Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products.”
“Mr. Jobs provided access to proprietary information about the development and operation of Apple’s highly successful stores, and Disney executives visited Apple’s research operation in Cupertino, Calif. Mr. Jobs, who declined to comment, also insisted that Disney build a prototype store to work out kinks, a costly endeavor that most retailers skip,” Barnes reports. “The company followed his advice, working for the last year on a full-scale, fully stocked store inside an unmarked warehouse in Glendale, Calif. The prototype was crucial to shaping an overall philosophy, Mr. Fielding said, noting that he discovered the shops needed more ‘Pixar-esque winks and nods.’ To that end, one sales area is now labeled ‘WWTD: What Would Tinker Bell Do?'”
Barnes reports, “Disney will adopt Apple touches like mobile checkout (employees will carry miniature receipt printers in their aprons) and the emphasis on community (Disney’s theater idea is an extension of Apple’s lecture spaces). The focus on interactivity — parents will be able to book a Disney Cruise on touch-screen kiosks while their children play — reflects an Apple hallmark. Employees can use iPhones to control those high-tech trees.”
Much more in the full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Citymark” for the heads up.]