It's a problem for every large company: how to manage mass communication to thousands of employees, especially if those people represent the business in stores around the world.
As you might expect, Apple is aiming to solve that problem with an app — two, in fact. It has 70,000 employees in 506 stores internationally and they all start their day with an app called Hello, where they are briefed on the most important "need to knows" of the day, according to Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts, in an interview with Vogue Business on Tuesday.
They also use Loop, an internal social network where they can learn from their co-workers. "Someone might be selling more phones than anybody else and we ask them to share that on a 20-second video on Loop," Ahrendts told Vogue Business.
"We use auto-translate and everybody in the world can see what Tom in Regent Street (in London) is doing. It's a huge unlock, just getting all the stores to talk to one another," she said.
The reason for doing this is so that people can get "aligned" around Apple's vision. Ahrendts joined luxury fashion house Burberry as CEO in 2006 and helped to turn the company around before announcing she was leaving for Apple in 2013.
"I'm only one person. I just set the vision and I am the connector — I am the enabler if you will. The common denominator for me is always the people. I love the fact seven of my directors at Burberry have gone on to be CEOs. You put together an amazing group of people, you all share the same vision and mission and purpose of something you want to achieve together," Ahrendts said.
Ahrendts also claimed that Apple keeps nearly 90 percent of its full-time store staff each year, in a world where many retailers retain about 20 percent.
She said one way to retail success is to stop looking at different sections of the company or products as separate profit and loss (P&L) divisions. "No matter how that customer comes in and buys, you have to look at it as one P&L. This is the issue, companies try and make these stores work on a standalone basis. When someone buys online and picks up in-store the revenue goes to online and not the store, but you are doing all the work in the store. They need to look at it differently."
Apple calls its new stores "town squares," where people can take a class, do a workshop or hear a concert, as part of the company's "Today at Apple" initiative.
The company is set to report its first-quarter results after the bell Tuesday after having lowered revenue projections for the quarter. It will state its services margin for the first time, including its App Store, Apple Care, Apple Music and iCloud fees, but has said it will no longer report unit sales of the iPhone, iPad and Mac.