Apple on Agency Hunt to Support New And Existing Retail Initiatives

Apple Wants to Know if Agencies Have Worked With Samsung, Sony and Google, Among Other Competitors

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Fifth Avenue Apple Store, Manhattan
Fifth Avenue Apple Store, Manhattan

Apple is on the agency hunt as its retail team seeks support for new and existing initiatives, according to a request for information the Cupertino-based tech giant sent to a number of shops.

"The Apple Retail Marketing team is responsible for delivering a connected experience across the customer journey, ensuring that every interaction with Apple Retail increases engagement and affinity with our people, products, values and passions," the company wrote in the RFI, which is 7 pages long. That team is now seeking support in "strategy and insights, experience design, creative ideation and seamless production."

Among the asks of potential partners are global, creative retail and digital resources.

"We are looking for partners that can think and create on a global level, and some who may have specific geographic expertise in Europe or China," Apple stated in the document.

The company is also looking for retail creative support, including a scope of work that could span editorial programming at retail, events production and b-to-b communications, the company said in the RFI.

Internal communications is another area of potential scope for agency partners. For the retail team, that may entail "digital platform development for distribution of information and inspiration to the retail store employee, and potentially Apple employee base."

The company works with a handful of agencies, including four digital agencies it hired over a year ago: WPP's AKQA and Interpublic Group's Huge, as well as smaller indie shops Area 17 and Kettle.

The company expects to make a final decision by late August, according to the timeline in the RFI.

The RFI also asks if the shops have worked with certain companies and in what capacity, shedding light on the digital and tech companies that Apple considers competitors. Companies listed include Samsung, Sony, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Huawai, Bose, HP, Bowers & Wilkins, Sony, Harman and Dell.

The search for agency support comes a little over a year since Angela Ahrendts left Burberry to join Apple as senior VP of retail, and just as the company ramps up for back-to-school.

It also comes as more marketers rethink their on- and offline retail operations and vet new commerce channels -- a movement that has been good to digital agencies that know how to design and build retail experiences across commerce channels.

UPDATE: Apple declined to comment.

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