Former Apple retail chief and one-time JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson is launching a new online startup that sells smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets with free in-home setup services. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the company, Enjoy Technology, officially launches today for customers in San Francisco and will be available in New York on May 13th. Users can buy devices for the same prices listed on manufacturers' websites, and then have a "personal expert" deliver them and set them up at no extra cost.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Johnson said consumers could find the same products at lower prices, though he believes the promise of free in-home installation will outweigh the difference. Last month, Amazon launched a service that lets users hire professionals to help assemble and install a wide range of products. "In many ways, technology is getting easier but the integration is still the pain point," he said.
Enjoy Technology will only sell products priced at $200 or above, and has already struck partnerships with companies like GoPro, Microsoft, and DJI. Apple, however, has not signed on. Customers will be able to buy Apple products through the site, but only those that are sold through AT&T. When users buy an iPhone on AT&T's website, for instance, they'll be able to choose between having it delivered through standard means, or with one of Enjoy's experts. Johnson spearheaded Apple's brick-and-mortar retail strategy for more than a decade before leaving the company in 2011, and was ousted from JC Penney in 2013 after failing to turn around its fortunes.
Enjoy's profits will be earned from low wholesale prices from manufacturers, and the company will curtail expenses by limiting its inventory. Its team of around 80 full-time employees will be able to deliver products to homes or offices in as little as four hours, and can be hired for $99 an hour to assist with setting up other devices.