Apple takes the ‘store’ out of retail locations.

Retail brands like Apple want to change the touch and feel of brick-and-mortar, and they’re doing it by making their locations seem less like, well, a store.

When customers walk into an Apple retail location, they don’t look for the words “Mac” or “Apple.” What consumers notice is the big apple icon with a small bite taken out of it, and the signature white, open space design of the stores. By dropping the word “store” from its branding, Apple is refining a marketing strategy that aims to make taking a trip to Apple an experience.

It’s a natural move for the retailer and it aligns with recent efforts to introduce entertainment and special events. But Apple’s emphasis on community isn’t a unique concept. More and more retailers are striving to make brick-and-mortar shopping a personalized, sensory experience, by adding food, lights, interactive attractions and digital platforms so that customers feel comfortable, stay longer and keep adding to their basket.

Apple, as a successful consumer technology brand with a long-standing online strategy, may be in a better position than most to deliver on the community ideal and make a seamless transition from the old store model. But in the end, of course, Apple or any other retailer will only stick with a concept for as long as it drives sales and customer loyalty.