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Feb 13 2012

The Apple Store Rollout Strategy


From Jim Collins in Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, describing the store rollout strategy of Apple known as Bullets, Cannonballs, and Disciplined Creativity:

Great by Choice

When Steve Jobs decided to move Apple into retail stores in the early 2000’s, he understood that he didn’t know how to do it.  Lacking empirical experience, he asked, “Who is the best retail executive?” The answer: Mickey Drexler, then CEO of The Gap.  So, Jobs lured him onto Apple’s board and began learning everything he could.  Drexler told Jobs not to just launch with a big roll-out of twenty or forty stores.  Instead, go off to a warehouse, prototype a store, redesign it until you have it right (bullet, bullet, bullet), and roll it out to the world (cannonball) only once you’ve got it working and tested.  That’s exactly what Jobs did.  And indeed, the first iteration just didn’t work: “We were like, ‘Oh God, we’re screwed,'” said Jobs.  So, Jobs and his retail leader, Ron Johnson, redesigned, tested, and redesigned until they got it right.  They launched their first two stores in Virginia and Los Angeles, and once those proved successful, they rolled them out with great consistency.  Bullet, calibrate, bullet, recalibrate, and cannonball.




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