Apple has proven resilient to the economic challenges many consumer technology companies have faced lately, and the opening of a new retail store in one of London’s wealthiest areas nicely embodies its continued success – and had an early chance to look around.
The new Brompton Road Apple Store – situated on London’s high-gloss corner of Knightsbridge, where designer fashion retailers co-exist with famous luxury department store Harrods – is located on the site of the former Brompton Arcade, which dates back to 1903.
Like the company’s other London stores on Regent Street and Covent Garden, Brompton Road’s design pays homage to its location; the shape of the floor-to-ceiling seven-meter-high arched glass windows echo the original arcade, for example.
As the storefronts go, it’s hard to miss, especially when you can see what’s inside.
take and go
The Brompton Road Apple Store is the first in the country to feature something Apple has been developing a lot in the US: the Apple Pickup, which evolved from Apple’s Express Pickup system that allowed consumers to get their hands on products without having to visit stores during block .
This is the first time at a UK Apple Store that customers will have a dedicated area where they can pick up items they ordered online, compared to needing to flag a member of staff to help with the order.
This will be hugely beneficial at the expected September launch of the iPhone 14 where a steady stream of customers will be expected in the weeks following the launch and having a way to navigate them will make the experience a little more fluid.
What’s interesting about the Brompton Road Apple Pickup area is that it’s on the left side of the store, towards the back. Apple Store blogger Michael Steeber recently wrote about how Apple is openly evolving the placement of these pickup areas in different storeswith different locations and layouts being used depending on the location.
At the new Apple Brompton Road Store, you’ll need to pass many other Apple gadgets to pick up your new device – passing through the wooded zones and a likely AirPods test zone, where you can see how Apple’s own headphones work.
As you pick up your order, attention can also be captured by the huge ‘Today at Apple’ screens that display workshops and other content taking place in the Store – perhaps another design option to engage customers in Apple’s different retail experience.
As with the company’s original location on Regent Street – which opened in London in 2004 and was later renovated in 2016 – the Brompton Road Apple Store features a familiar open-plan layout, dressed in natural materials, designed to reflect the promises company’s ecological
Sandblasted Castagna stone lines the walls and pillars, the tiled floor is made from a bio-resin that includes castor oil and recycled glass, and both the tables decorated with iPhones, iPads and Macs and the vaulted ceilings are all sustainable wood carvings; with twelve sizable fig trees helping to soften the space, intended to remind visitors that this is not just a retail space.
Located just steps away from one of the city’s most central green spaces, Hyde Park, at the launch, Apple dressed the windows in plant motifs, mixed with some of its most popular products, and attendees of the preview event walked away with a pack of wildflower seeds with the same bespoke designs.
It’s not the typical thing Apple customers can expect to buy when the store formally opens on July 28.
educate and entertain
As with other iconic locations, Apple’s new Brompton Road store will also host a number of free events; with training, lectures and much more, involving areas such as fitness and creativity.
To mark the opening day, Apple Vice President of Fitness Technologies Jay Blahnik will be in attendance, joined by trainers Cory Wharton-Malcolm, Jamie-Ray Hartshorne, Kim Ngo and Jonelle Lewis, who will lead an Apple Fitness + Session question-and-answer session, followed by a three-kilometer walk and a five-kilometer run around Hyde Park.
Additional sessions, including AR talks (the preview event also marked the launch of the new ‘United Visions’ AR Experience (opens in new tab)created for the Getty Museum by Tin&Ed and award-winning production company Just Blaze), as well as illustration sessions, where attendees will be shown how to create using ‘inspiration from local flowers,’ as Apple puts it.
Indoor and outdoor fans
The Apple retail store team is a notoriously passionate group and that rang true based on the interactions we had during the preview event.
The 200-person team is made up of musicians, artists and developers from 26 nationalities, speaking 45 languages and talking to a handful of them. initial wave of curious customers.
The stage is set
Apple Store Brompton Road carries all the features that make the company’s other London locations attractive for retail experiences.
There’s little doubt that this new store will host a familiar lineup of enthusiastic Apple fans in the coming months when the iPhone 14 series finally arrives (hopefully in late September).
Even if the rumors are true and the iPhone 14 ends up sporting a higher price tag than its predecessor, nowhere else in the city of London will a few extra pounds go unnoticed than in wealthy Knightsbridge.