Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has had a busy few days. He is in Mumbai for the opening of Apple’s first store in India. While here, he’s tried out the vada pav with actress Madhuri Dixit and played badminton with stalwarts like Saina Nehwal. He’s then headed to Delhi where he’s going to be meeting the PM ahead of the opening of the Apple store in Saket.
The first Apple store in India threw its doors open on Tuesday. Located in BKC Mumbai, the opening created quite the buzz. For Apple, there were many reasons to celebrate- the first store in India, it’s one of company’s most sustainable stores yet and there is a strong emphasis on creating a sense of community at the store with a series of workshops.
Aimed at bringing Apple users together, the series of workshops have been a staple with Apple for many years now. For Indian users, this was largely confined to online sessions but with the opening of the brand-owned stores, it means that in person conversations will now be possible. Called ‘Today at Apple’, these workshops feature local artists and Apple’s own creative pros. For the Mumbai store launch, there’s a specially curated series called Mumbai Rising that start on 18th April, Tuesday and goes on all throughout summer. Here’s the kicker, these sessions are free and all you have to do it turn up, Apple device in hand.
At Apple’s Delhi store, these sessions will be led by Apple Creatives, who are themselves talented artists and creators, the sessions range from basics and how-to lessons to using professional-grade programs.
ELLE’s Digital Editor, Mansi Shah, caught up with Tracey Hannelly, Senior Director, Retail Engagement and Marketing, for an exclusive chat about the sessions, the retail experiences (100 employees fully clued in are at Apple Mumbai store) and how the brand is hoping to engage with customers.
Of course, we start with Today at Apple right away and I ask her how she curates the experiences for the sessions. Tracey says, “This is a program we run globally. We’ve some things we do at a global level, few of the programs will be the same from Sydney to Tokyo to Mumbai. We call that flagship programming. This is usually around big Apple moments. And then we have highly localised, curated programming like we are doing here in Mumbai for Today at Apple. Mumbai Rising covers music, film, AR technology, and other creative goodness. All of the sessions are by culturally relevant artists who are local, they are either from India or specific to Mumbai. We start now and Mumbai is thriving with emerging talent whether its coding or music and film. There are other creative arts where artists are using Apple products to create beautiful things and we are excited. Of course, this also means we will be able to talk about them across the world, so we are looking forward to that.”
Diljit Dosanjh has just performed at Coachella and when the conversation turns to synergies, Tracey says that’s the next step. “We’re looking at art forms that are unique to a city or locale, music- India has a plethora of talent, all the different genres – we want to tap into that. We were just discussing Punjabi music is now breaking through all over the world and Apple music is supporting that. We want to tie into that and make sure that whatever Apple music is doing or the App store might be doing, we will support local developers and artists, we will showcase that with Today at Apple.”
While it may seem daunting or for those who come with plenty of talent, Tracey says it’s not like that. “We want to have a really human-centric way of introducing things. Like even basic iPhone skills. This is for someone who is an Apple phone user but they are not using the full feature set. From this person all the way to someone who wants to create a film, or someone who wants to do their first coding or make their first app. Today at Apple is to extend your creative capabilities. We want to inspire people and I think that’s why Today at Apple is such a special part of the Apple experience. We have the in-store and we are also taking a lot of these experiences online, which is really fun.” She mentions that all of the in-store sessions will not be online, users will be able to access only a subset of the session.
We chat briefly about the retail experience at Apple. The BKC store is spread over 20,000 feet with plants, plenty of light streaming in and the products laid out in a manner that’s aesthetically pleasing. Tracey says that the retail team enhances the experience at the store so that no one leaves disappointed. Tracey says, “We always try and understand what the customer is seeking- is this about creativity and passion, about privacy, business, do you need it to be productive etc. And then we tailor what we think might work best for you. We believe that our products can enrich lives. And if you do understand how to use them best, the possibilities are endless.”
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