Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 13, 2009 03:35 PM
Ten years ago, Apple Computer products were sold online or at computer retailers like the now-liquidated CompUSA. Today, the Apple Store is the jewel of many a mall and generates nearly five times the revenue as Best Buy per square foot of retail space.
So it’s no surprise that Disney called on one of the guys responsible for boosting its film fortunes – Pixar’s Steve Jobs, who you might also know is the CEO of Apple (and is on Disney's board of directors) – to help Disney inject some “think different” magic into its line of stores.
Steve’s advice: “Dream bigger.” That a computer company is demanding more creativity from the world’s largest entertainment factory, which once launched an initiative called “Where Dreams Come True,” says a lot about both brands.
Like the Apple Stores, the revamped Disney Stores, set to be unveiled next May and rebranded as “Imagination Centers,” will focus less on product and more on experience:
It’s your birthday? With the push of a button, eight 13-foot-tall Lucite trees will crackle with video-projected fireworks and sound. There will be a scent component; if a clip from Disney’s coming “A Christmas Carol” is playing in the theater, the whole store might suddenly be made to smell like a Christmas tree.
Disney is banking on the new stores, which each required $1 million to renovate, smelling like money. Gizmodo notes that “Disney + Apple has previously equaled Pixar, and that formula has worked out pretty spectacularly.”
The lesson here is that Disney, like any brand expanding into another form of “delivery,” should focus on what it does best: the Disney Store shouldn’t be a retail location that sells entertainment (e.g., shelves full of plush Goofys), but an entertainment company that happens to have a retail presence. That’s what made the Apple Stores so successful -– people don’t turn the opening of a location into a major event because it’s a “store,” they do so because it’s Apple.