Joe Caiati on Ron Johnson’s new retail startup, Enjoy:
When I worked at Apple’s Genius Bar in one of their Flagship Manhattan stores, me and co-workers would be asked often by customers if they could take us home with them. Some were jokingly asking, most of them weren’t.
There is no shortage of entitled, technologically inept or busy people in Manhattan who would pay for a service like Enjoy, let alone use it for free. But many aren’t buying new expensive gadgets all the time and I’m wondering if Johnson and team are banking on large city’s to make up for the infrequencies.
I think the economics of Enjoy are sound. Retail space in San Francisco and New York City is expensive and being able to remove that cost entirely in exchange for salaried employees is a worthwhile tradeoff.
And, I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble keeping their emoloyees’ schedule booked. The nice thing about not having retail space is that you can have as many or as little employees as sales require — expanding and contracting your team depending on how much you sell not the square footage of your retail space.
Joe also has some inside information on the experts Enjoy has been hiring for launch:
Sources have told me that prior to Enjoy’s launch, Johnson had been aggressively poaching Apple retail upper-management and Genii who he once used to be Senior Vice President of. One source described a mass exodus from the Grand Central Flagship store with a rumored number of over fifteen employees leaving.
It’s people he’s already familiar with and has a good understanding of how they’re trained and what they know. I think he’d be foolish not to poach these employees. Especially considering that they’re among the best retail employees in the world.
Enjoy seems like it’s set up to be a success, my only concern would be whether or not they’ll capture enough mindshare to make an impact — brick and mortar retail presence goes a long way towards promoting your existence and the company might need to purchase a lot of advertising to overcome that shortcoming.