Despite intense criticism and predictions of failure, Apple’s retail stores have become bastions of gadget selling goodness, the place to go for help, advice, talking story, and getting gadgets fixed.
Who among the Mac and iPhone faithful do not remember standing in line for hours to pick up the latest version of OS X, or to pick up Apple’s newest iPhone? Guess what? Those days are about to become a footnote in Apple’s retail shopping experience. There’s a new boss in town and what she wants you to do might grate on your nerves a bit.
Do You Have An Appointment?
As a longtime San Francisco resident my shopping experience varies; from Target to Macy’s, from Tiffany’s to trendy and posh locations which prefer you to schedule a personal appointment.
Back in the day we could just diddly bop down to the mall and walk into an Apple Store and buy whatever suited the momentary fancy. Waiting in line was fun, too; swapping stories with new and experienced Mac and iPhone users alike.
Apple would provide cold drinks and we would applaud the first few customers to walk out of the store with new iPhone in hand. Apple retail honcho Angela Ahrendts seems to think that’s somewhat gauche; not worthy of Apple’s image as a stellar brand that sells gold in $17,000 packages.
Sure, I understand the need to schedule an appointment to have my Mac or iPhone looked at by a Genius who’s more genius than me. Scheduling cuts down on lines, but might increase frustration; at least Apple Store is a place to go to get something fixed or answers to a question.
Going forward Apple wants us to get in line– online. Apple Store employees are being trained to tell us where to go. Where to go to get the latest gadget without creating a line in front of the Apple Store. Apple calls this change ‘Customer Journey.’ It’s all about reducing wait times and lines.
If you want to buy one of Apple’s most desired new products, the best way will be to order online and schedule to pick it up at the store of your choice. No waiting in line allowed. No camaraderie or free water, either. Why is this happening?
Yankee great Yogi Berra said it best. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Apple’s Stores are victims of success and Apple Watch– how we view it, hold it, touch it, try it on, and learn about– will be by appointment only. That’s the new Apple, the creator of a Disneyland-esque ecosystem and shopping experience that smacks of Big Brother consoling the mindless, lifeless, gray gnomes in Apple’s original “1984” TV commercial.
The new Apple caters to those who are orderly and on time and do as they’re told.