Apple is making a big push with gift cards for the holidays with the most notable change being gift cards for its retail stores arriving through third-party retailers, according to sources. The company already sold iTunes/App Store gift certificates through a number of retail parters, but it has just recently started selling its Apple Store gift cards outside its own channels as well. Apple Retail will also make changes to repair procedures tomorrow including the introduction of in-store repairs for Beats products.
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In addition to arriving at third-party retailers, the gift cards received a new look (pictured above) and Apple retail plans to advertise the gold, silver, and space gray cards next to matching Beats headphones on the retail floor rather than in the back. Other holiday changes for Apple retail include the new window display (below) as well as new uniforms that include a red t-shirt, white long sleeve shirts underneath and a red fleece.
More importantly for customers, tomorrow, November 18, also marks the introduction of changes for Apple’s repair strategies with a streamlined iPhone mail-in and loaner program as well as repairs for Beats products through the Apple Store Genius Bar. Apple retail employees were recently informed in a memo that Genius Bar employees will now service Beats products opposed to only over the phone service offered previously.
As for the iPhone mail-in repair program, Apple told employees it’s making changes for unit replacements that will cut down on inventory issues and create a better experience for customers. It’s also implementing enhancements to make the process of supplying a customer with a loaner device easier and more streamlined for Genius Bar staff. The updated repair strategies are being implemented in Apple retail stores everywhere except Brazil, Turkey, Australia, China, and Hong Kong.
This will mark the first holiday season for Apple’s retail stores since the company hired Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts to lead its retail efforts and acquired Beats Electronics as part of a $3 billion deal.
You can expect to see the holiday changes above already rolling out to Apple retail stores and the new gift cards arriving in third-party retailers.