Store Layout Makeover
On October 20, 2005 Apple began rolling out a reconfiguration of its retail stores' product displays that has rendered the old overhead section titles irrelevant, bumped G5s back into the store, and put iPods and entry level computer products up front. The reconfiguration was fully revealed in April 2006 with a store that had a Genius Bar, Studio Bar and iPod Bar (see bottom).
Not all of the stores received the make-over, and, in fact, some stores received a different make-over that moved the Genius Bar to the rear of the store.
The changes were apparently in recognition of the increasing importance of iPod sales in the stores, and were a prelude to a change by the end of 2005 that would formally re-order the store sections.
Previously, products were grouped according to six major categories (pro, home, movies, music, photos, genius), and displayed in sections of the store delimited by frosted glass dividers. In the first reconfiguration, the sections and dividers remained, but the location of products wasn't tied to their intended audience or use, but rather their customer popularity.
After the first layout change, even before you enter the store you can see the iPods on an white oval display counter, and iBooks on another--the entry-level products. After you enter, the first section left and right are Mac minis and iMacs on the wall display counters. Only if you take a few steps to the next section do you see the high-level and more expensive hardware, the G5s and Powerbooks. And you'll see additional iPods in this section, too.
The remaining sections of the store seem to remain the same, focusing on photos and digital cameras, the Genius Bar, speakers and printers, and software and books.
Here's what the store lay-out looked like after the first product reconfiguration:
From front to back:
In the second reconfiguration of Nov. 2005, Apple changed the overhead signs to further recognize the changing focus of products. The 'home' and 'pro' sections were relocated to the two front-left bays respectively, at most stores they are labeled just 'mac'. The two right-front bays were labeled as 'music' sections. The 'movies' and 'photos' sections were combined into a single 'iLife' section. The other sections of the stores remained the same. [photo of Cambridgeside (Mass.) store showing reconfigured signs]
Here is how the sections were changed:
In April 2006 the Southlake Town Center (Tex.) store opened with what appears to be the now-standard layout, with a Genius Bar, Studio Bar and iPod Bar, no theater, a general 'mac' section (2 bays) and an 'iPod' section (2 bays). Here's what it looks like:
Also check this alternate arrangement that was used at the Summit Sierra (Nev.) store, which is
a narrow/wide version at 30'x90'. It has six product bays on both sides.