While the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition has been receiving a lot of attention due to its premium pricing and aesthetic, Apple will sell far more of the lower-priced Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport models, and has created a different customer journey for those customers, according to sources briefed on the plans. Most of the sales process will be familiar to buyers of other products from the Apple Store, but a number of steps are different, including the process of visiting a “magical” display case, trying on different models, playing with demo units, considering Apple Watch accessories, and actually finalizing the purchase. Below, we detail the entire customer experience for the upcoming Apple Watch launch…
While some had assumed that it would be possible to book an Apple Watch try-on appointment ahead of the April 10th Apple Store preview kickoff, several Apple employees have told 9to5Mac that the booking process will actually begin on the 10th — the same day appointments will commence. Customers will be able to book 15 minute appointments, which are not necessarily required, via the Apple website on a computer or via the Apple Store iOS app. Apple Store employees have been instructed to promote the Apple Store app during in-store purchases leading up to the 10th, which Apple hopes will result in more booked appointments to try on the Apple Watch. Earlier this week, we profiled how Apple Store employees will begin providing customers fashion advice when the Apple Watch launches on April 24th. Thanks, FruitStandCrazy.
The job of Apple Retail Store employees will begin changing in profound ways next month. In order to showcase and sell the Apple Watch, retail employees will be trained to provide personal fashion and styling advice to customers, according to employees briefed on the plans. Until now, Apple Retail has been tasked with recommending iPads, iPhones and Macs with few styling options aside from limited color options.
Apple is pushing for retail employees to initiate conversations that build trust, enabling the employee to serve as a valued fashion advisor during the purchase process, similarly to how traditional watches are sold. Apple Watch sales training programs will take place for Apple retail staff over the course of the next two weeks, teaching entirely new sales techniques to encourage iPhone upgrades, assist with gifting, and guide customers in watch and strap choices.
Below, we detail how employees will provide fashion advice to customers and Apple’s multi-part plan for selling an Apple Watch.
Apple will introduce several major initiatives to ready its retail stores for the Apple Watch’s launch in April, according to sources briefed on the upcoming changes. Starting on April 10th, Apple will allocate 15 minutes per customer for in-store try-on appointments, using 10 or more try-on stations to manage what’s expected to be a steady flow of customers interested in having hands-on time with the Watch. While customers will not necessarily be required to have an appointment, they will be time-limited and guided during the hands-on experience. Additionally, they will be given the opportunity to place a reservation at the time of try-on for a particular model, and make a follow-up appointment to pick the watch up during the April 24th launch date. Stores will also have launch day stock for walk-in appointments.
Apple has shown off the Apple Watch at a special event now on two occasions: first after the iPhone 6 last September, then after the new 12-inch MacBook last week. We know how the Apple Watch will look, how much it will cost, when we can buy it and for how much. Many developers are ready to ship apps for the Apple Watch, and we’re already seeing an accessory market for Apple’s wearable.
Since last week’s event, I’ve been thinking about why Apple might have chosen to have its second Apple Watch unveiling more than a month before people can actually buy the device. My conclusion? It’s complicated, but mostly necessary considering the complexity of actually buying the right watch.
Apple’s motivation is to ensure that you have an iPhone 5 or later before next month, and that you have the answer to a number of questions including how many millimeters your wrist measures if you plan to pre-order before trying on an Apple Watch. And because we know how major iPhone launches go with getting the exact model you want, pre-ordering will be the first opportunity to secure the Apple Watch of your choice or risk waiting even longer. Read more
In a move to boost iPhone sales, Apple will soon introduce a new recycling and trade-in program that will accept non-Apple smartphones, notably including Android and BlackBerry devices, in exchange for gift cards to be used toward the purchase of new iPhones. In continuing to court Android switchers, Apple will use a similar system to the one it uses to repurchase iPhones, whereby Apple Retail Store employees determine trade-in values for devices by considering their cosmetic and functional condition, according to multiple sources…
How will Apple Watch be displayed in retail stores next month? Apple’s own “try on by appointment” language led many people to believe appointments would be required to actually go hands-on with Watches before making a purchase. 9to5Mac has confirmed, however, that try on appointments won’t be necessary and that retail staff plan to accommodate walk-in customers wishing to try on an Apple Watch. Read more
At the Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Apple is building a store specifically for the Apple Watch on the ground floor. Macotakara thinks it might be a permanent fixture because it is listed in the mall directory below.
Japan is one of the 9 countries where the Apple Watch will launch on April 24th. Earlier this week we saw the size of the Apple Watch Store at Galleries Lafayette in Paris and at London Selfridges. Apple also began advertising for its Apple Watch in its traditional stores this week.
This will take some getting used to. Imagine a world where there is an Apple Store on one side of the mall and an Apple Watch store on the other like so many Starbucks. Read more
For about two hours this morning, employees couldn’t check in to work, stores couldn’t make sales, and Genius Bar appointments couldn’t be kept. Employees couldn’t check email until 3 pm London time.
The issues meant that store staff were unable to use their card machines to take payments, leading stores to resort to old-fashioned mechanical paper machines (photo below) … Read more
The Apple Store is down, in preparation for announcements later today at Apple’s Spring Forward event. The store going down is a very strong indicator that something new will be available to buy after the event is over — but what products? The most likely answer is new MacBooks.
There is also the potential of Apple Watch preorders, although these are more likely to take place in a couple of weeks, assuming an April launch.
With next week’s Apple Watch event fast approaching, Apple has revealed its retail selling strategies to employees, including a focus on “three key features” and a plan to encourage Watch customers to upgrade or switch to new iPhones. According to selling guidelines provided by sources within Apple Retail, Apple believes that “many customers have already decided they want an Apple Watch,” and will use the Watch to “position the benefits” of purchasing a compatible iPhone model. Retail employees have been told to ask customers about their iPhone usage habits, their favorite feature in iOS 8, and if they use health and fitness software on their iPhone…
Tim Cook’s international tour continues. After visiting BILD, Chancellor Angela Merkel and an Apple Store in Germany, and President Reuven Rivlin in Israel, he was photographed today in the Apple Store in London’s Covent Garden.