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.
Apple’s latest memo to retail employees, obtained by 9to5Mac, asks staff to prepare for several upcoming Apple Watch dates. Required final meetings and training will take place at the end of March, followed by online preorders on April 10, when the device will also arrive for “preview” in retail stores. In the memo, Apple confirms that appointments won’t be necessary to try on the device in stores, but they are recommended:
“…appointments can be made online or through the Apple Store app— they’re recommended, but not necessary. Customers who come to your store without one will be taken care of…”
Apple’s press release for the device mentioned that customers would be able to “try-on by appointment” at retail stores, leading many mainstream media outlets to report that appointments would be necessary for actually touching the device in stores. Since Apple appears to be keeping the Watch collection neatly under new custom glass top tables (as pictured above), it’s unclear how Apple staff will actually assist walk-in customers with trying on the Watch, but it’s likely you’ll need to call over an employee and ask to see a particular model. That means you’ll have to wait your turn for an available employee like in any other situation, however.
As Apple mentioned briefly on stage at its press event this month, the company plans to have the Sport and Watch model collections available to purchase in stores, but the $10,000+ 18k gold Watch Edition collection will only be at “select stores in limited quantities.” It remains to be seen how many of the Watch Edition collection Apple will produce and what specific stores will have them in stock. In addition to its own retail stores, Apple plans to show off and likely sell the Apple Watch at boutique locations at high-profile retailers in Paris, London and other locations.
We reported earlier this month that Apple was preparing a new Reserve and Pickup system that would allow customers to reserve Apple Watches starting April 10 when preorders kick off, picking the items up in retail stores when they officially launch on April 24.
Apple is also using the Apple Watch launch to push new features of its online store, suggesting that its retail employees “blend the online and in-store experience” by demoing the online store for those that don’t want to set up a try-on appointment: “Show the new features of store.Apple.com, and invite them to chat with an online specialist.”
Apple unveiled pricing for the device at its press event earlier this month with a starting price of $349 for the Sport model all the way up to $17,000 for the most expensive 18k gold Edition model.
Apple has also prepared retail staff in the weeks leading up to the Apple Watch launch. We reported that the company was briefing retail employees on how to sell Watch to customers, installing safes inside stores to house the expensive 18k gold models, and reportedly pulling competing fitness related wearables from Nike and Jawbone.