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Apple Embraces ‘Town Square’ Store Model To Lure Consumers

Apple is joining the host of retailers seeking to lure consumers, and keep them there, by offering stepped-up educational sessions.

In a similar vein to what B&H Photo, Adorama and Microsoft have been doing for years, Apple will host free how-to photo, music, coding and design classes at all 495 retail stores under a “Today at Apple” umbrella. More than 60 sessions will be offered, Apple said, all taught by pros and ranging the gamut from beginner to advanced.

The programs, which will begin in May, will also help the company bring consumers deeper into its product ecosystem. Apple will reach out to the education market via Teacher Tuesday and to students with a Kids Hour coding session. A Business Circuits program will target small-business owners.

As the Apple tech-service employees were given the moniker “geniuses,” teachers at Today at Apple will be known as “creative pros.” Among other things, the creative pros will hold 90-minute sessions where they will give advice to consumers who have brought in personal projects. They will also hold sessions outside of Apple’s stores, known as Photo or Sketch Walks.

All stores will receive mobile screens and showcase wall displays designed specifically for Today at Apple, as well as updated seating and sound.

The retail initiative is being charged under the leadership of Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s retail senior VP. Ahrendts joined the company from Burberry in 2013, tasked with growing its brick-and-mortar and online sales.