Veteran Apple expert Ron Johnson’s next law introduces home delivery start-up company to the public

Ten years after leaving his role as

An apple a company

Chief Sales Officer And after eight years as CEO of JC Penney, Ron Johnson wants to reshape the retail world once again.

Mr. Johnson, 63, runs a company called Enjoy Technology Inc. Which aims to address an emerging problem for makers of high-end electronics and luxury brands. Many of these companies pay close attention to customer experiences, only to have the finished product, if delivered, in a cardboard box thrown on the doorstep. He built his company to bring high-end shopping into the living room.

How successful he is in proving his impact on the future of online shopping. And it will also affect his legacy — whether he’s remembered as a retail pioneer who took a stumble at J.C. Penney, or someone who did his best at Apple only to struggle afterward.

“He’s back in his groove,” said Jane Munster, managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures, an investor in Enjoy. Mr Monster said he believed in Johnson’s latest vision and, if the company could achieve it, he would “be replaced”.

Enjoy the marriage between a white glove delivery service and an army of door-to-door salespeople. Mr. Johnson has busy teams across the US, Canada and the UK, delivering iPhones and other hand gadgets to customers’ homes on Apple’s behalf,

AT&T a company

and other partners. Then they use the delivery as an opportunity to sell more. In September, Enjoy announced that it was expanding Apple’s delivery to a total of 14 metro areas in the United States

Mr Johnson aims to go public with the company next week through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, with a valuation of more than $1 billion. A vote on the merger is scheduled for Wednesday.

Enjoy more than 1,000 delivery workers, the company calls experts, recruited from luxury retail environments, such as Apple and

Tesla a company

Each receives more than 120 hours of training and is sent out into the world in a Mercedes full of merchandise. A customer orders an iPhone through Apple’s online store, for example, but opts for free home delivery and help with Enjoy. The Enjoy operator arrives, helps the user set up the device, and then takes the opportunity to sell additional services, such as Apple TV +, or devices, such as a smartwatch.

Ron Johnson at Enjoy’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif. The company targets $1 billion in sales in 2025.

“There are a lot of people who can get orders delivered to the door,” Johnson said in an interview. “We are the only ones who have set out a vision to generate increased value for partners by going through the door.”

This step-by-step sale is the key to Enjoy. Johnson said that twenty percent of the company’s revenue comes from paying for deliveries, while the path to profitability in 2023 is through increased customer sales. The challenge for Enjoy is that its initial relationship with the customer stems from a sale by Apple or other partners, and its success depends on customers’ willingness to serve at home and their desire to buy more. Another risk if Apple or

Amazon.com a company

It decided to use the Corporate War Fund to replicate such a service, undermining it in the market.

Mr Johnson said building such a network is difficult. This is why he is accelerating his efforts to grow.

Enjoy is one of the many companies you can take advantage of Frenzy around Spax. Investors have poured billions of dollars into so-called blank check companies, which are traded on stock exchanges with the aim of merging with a private company, such as Enjoy.

Unlike some of the other companies that went public through SPACs this year, Enjoy has revenue, even though it lost $158 million last year. The company has grown, with revenue expected to rise this year to $109 million from $15 million in 2018, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company says it will be profitable in 2023 and tells investors it plans to reach $1 billion in sales in 2025.

Dealing with SPAC

Acquisition of Rain Marquee corp.

MRAC -4.62%

Among his backers, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, must pour more than $450 million into the company to fund these growth plans, including expanding operations to 100 markets in North America. Since its launch in 2014, Enjoy has raised $350 million, including from venture firm Kleiner Perkins.

I was kind of arrogant outwardly.


– Ron Johnson, during his tenure as CEO of JC Penney

It was nearly 12 years of Mr Johnson’s work at Apple that made him a superstar in the retail world, and the late Steve Jobs chose him to design the company’s store strategy after his success.

targeting corp.

Mr. Johnson oversaw the opening of nearly 400 Apple Stores that turned the technology buying experience on its head. Apple has selected high-profile locations and allocates half of the ventilated spaces to teach users how to use their devices in the so-called Genius bars. From Tesla to

Microsoft corp.

, The way cats copied was bred.

His vision of retailing as the leader of J.C. Penney was not going well. Mr. Johnson was brought in to revitalize the supermarket chain in 2011, wasting little time trying to get his stamp on things, abandoning the company’s long-standing strategy of aggressively promoting merchandise as “on sale”, and crafting department store layouts to create the stores in The store for famous brands.

After 17 months, few people were happy. Sales fell and investors got impatient and Left.

Mr Johnson said he does not appreciate the patience required to lead a transformation at a mature company – even if he believes parts of his strategy to focus on beloved brands with in-store stores have since been justified. “It went too fast for the staff, too fast for the board of directors, and too fast for the client,” he said. “I was kind of situationally arrogant.”

retailer keep fighting, filed for bankruptcy last year in the midst of problems exacerbated by the pandemic; Now working with new owners and the name JCPenney. The retailer declined to comment.

Share your thoughts

How likely are you to buy tech goods through Enjoy and not from a retail store? Join the conversation below.

One of Enjoy’s early challenges was how to build the business. The company promotes the lightweight asset approach. To bring the store home, Enjoy uses the delivery carts found in its stores, which contain up to 500 products. The back end of the operations is supported by on-premises software to coordinate inventory sent to Enjoy warehouses and available delivery slots. Mr. Johnson’s goal is to have a 15-minute lead time from the time a customer makes an online purchase to the time a delivery occurs.

Among its biggest costs are labor. As the enjoyment was expanding, the likes of

Uber Technologies a company

And

by dash a company

Drive sharp growth with on-demand services using independent contractors. Mr. Johnson rejected this business model, insisting that Enjoy’s delivery staff be full-time employees and trained in the details of the process.

“You have to have an employee in order to build work that you can do to real, high-quality standards,” Mr. Johnson said.

First, the company signed on to AT&T to deliver the phones, but it wasn’t until 2020 that Enjoy reached a trial deal to deliver iPhones to Apple in the San Francisco area in June of that year.

Covid-19 threatened to undo years of business as the pandemic shuttered businesses across the United States during quarantine and social distancing. Watch Mr. Johnson: Will customers be open to a stranger entering their homes to deliver an iPhone?

“Three weeks after the world closed – while the stores were closed and we could have [still] Delivering an experience and customers loved it – I knew we were going to be a part of the future,”

write to Tim Higgins in Tim.Higgins@WSJ.com

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