It’s no secret that Tesla’s retail strategy is inspired by Apple’s. In 2010, the automaker hired George Blankenship as VP of Store Design & Development. Blankenship was a GAP veteran who led Apple’s real estate business from 2000 to 2006 and to whom Apple Store’s early success has been largely attributed.
Blankenship retired in 2013, but apparently it wasn’t the end of the connection between the retail strategies of the two companies. We learn that earlier this month, Tesla hired the team leader of the architectural team for Apple Stores at Callison, an international architecture firm. According to her LinkedIn profile, Annelie Holm was a Senior Project Architect and team leader at Callison for Apple from September 2011 to January 2015. She described her role in her profile:
Project leading architect at Callison for Apple to deliver typical and flagship ‘Significant’ Apple Retail Stores [buildings] located in cities across Europe, from concept stage to completion with responsibilities to manage internal and external teams, consultants and liaise with Landlords, Councils or authorities to obtain required approvals, construction and operating permits.
Apple Store consistently reach the number one spot for most sales per square foot. According to eMarketer, Apple’s retail locations made $4,798 in sales per square foot on annualized basis at the end of 2014. Tiffany & Co came in second, but far behind Apple with $3,132.
We don’t have access to average annualized sales for Tesla’s stores, but the WSJ reported that Tesla’s retail location at Bellevue Square produced sales of $5,500 per square foot last January and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that sales per square foot for Tesla stores are double Apple’s.
Tesla operates “boutique” locations in malls, often close to luxury stores, and also service centers with showrooms, which can have more of a traditional car dealership look, but they are owned by Tesla.
Tesla is facing regulatory hurdles in some states because of old laws prohibiting manufacturers to sell cars directly to consumers, forcing them to go through dealerships instead of company owned stores. Where these laws are more relaxed, like in New Jersey or New York, Tesla is allowed to have a restricted number of stores to operate, but in the most extreme cases, like in Texas, Tesla employees can’t discuss pricing with potential customers or handle the delivery process. In those states, instead of operating “Tesla Stores”, the company calls its locations “Galleries” and employees can only educate the public on electric vehicles and more especially Tesla’s offering.
The company doesn’t have the same problem in Europe, where Tesla’s new hire is based.
Tesla recently announced an expansion of its retail presence in the US by adding 12 more locations during the fourth quarter.
Here’s a 360° look into Tesla’s Amsterdam showroom:
If you are watching on your browser, you need the latest version of Chrome, Opera or Firefox and you can simply click and drag to look around. . If you watch the video on your phone with the Youtube app, you can simply move your device to look around the store.