Ron Johnson spent nearly 12 years at Apple, and helped build Cupertino’s first retail stores. He led Apple’s brick and mortar retail strategy before leaving the company to tackle the role of CEO at J. C. Penney. In April 2013, Johnson was pushed out of that position after his strategy to overhaul stores and cut back on discounts failed to catch on with consumers. Now, Johnson has pulled the wraps off a new startup that intends to provide a personal touch to online retail.
Enjoy Technology was announced on May 6, and has begun selling high-end consumer electronics such as smartphones, laptops, speakers, tablets, and even drones on its website. The Web-only startup is fighting for ground in a space dominated by the likes of Amazon and eBay, but Enjoy Technology puts a unique twist on the online retail experience. Similar to Best Buy’s Geek Squad service, Enjoy provides personal in-home delivery and setup, but at no additional cost to customers.
Johnson told The Wall Street Journal, “We’re living in an on-demand delivery world. We expect everything to come when and where we want. It’s time to reinvent how we buy things.” Enjoy customers in parts of New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area can choose from among a few dozen gadgets at the same prices offered by the manufacturers’ websites, and receive free personalized in-home delivery and setup.
Enjoy has negotiated wholesale prices on the devices it sells, and plans to only sell items that cost $200 or more. Johnson acknowledged that prices on some items might be cheaper through other retailers like Amazon, but pointed out that those purchases would not enjoy the added value of professional help to set up the gadgets.
Johnson also disclosed an agreement with AT&T. In at least Enjoy’s first few months of operation, the retailer will sell iPhones and other Apple devices only through a partnership with AT&T that launches May 19. When a customer purchases a device from AT&T, they will be able to choose between taking standard home delivery or having an Enjoy expert make the delivery and help with the initial set-up. There will be no additional cost for that option, and AT&T will give Enjoy a cut of the sale.
Enjoy’s offering is an interesting move, and promises to bring a more personalized touch to the online shopping experience. It will be interesting to see if the service draws enough attention to expand into other markets. Enjoy Technology is relying on the continued proliferation of Internet-connected home appliances meant to make consumers’ lives easier, but requiring complicated setup. Johnson stated, “In many ways, technology is getting easier but the integration is still the pain point.”