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…
After a customer books an Apple Watch try-on appointment via the Apple Online Store or iOS Apple Store app, Apple will walk him or her through a try-on and sales process in the Apple Store. First, a customer with an appointment will be greeted in the Apple Store by a specialist. If a customer does not have an appointment, she will be added to a walk-in queue. Like the new Genius Bar walk-in appointment system, customers in the queue can shop elsewhere in a mall and receive a notification via text message when it is time to return for an Apple Watch try-on appointment. After the customer is matched up with an Apple Store employee, she will be taken to the display table shown in the image above to pick out Apple Watch models that interest her. The Watches inside will run a demo loop showcasing their main features, “making it a magical display,” as Apple puts it.
After the customer picks out up to two Apple Watch models to try on, they will be taken to a new try-on area. The try-on areas include fixed Apple Watch demo units as well as mats and cleaning cloths. Try-on tables (pictured above) have secure drawers that store up to 18 distinct Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport units. For security, these drawers can only be unlocked by Apple Store employees by way of a special RFID sensor and unlocking mechanism in the EasyPay point-of-sale machines. These try-on Apple Watches will run in demo loops, but features such as Haptic Feedback will be functional so customers can experience that feature. The Watches can actually be tried on the customer’s wrist and are re-charged as necessary inside of the table’s drawers. Each try-on table will have 4, 6 or 10 stations, depending on the store’s size.
Some smaller Apple Stores do not have space for both a dedicated display table and a try-on table, so these stores will have only dedicated try-on cases instead of tables. These cases may also be used for larger stores that want to offer even more space for people to try on the Apple Watch, or need to reduce wait times for walk-in appointments. Each case holds up to 10 Apple Watches. Like the try-on tables, the cases include a padded try-on mat and cleaning cloths. After a customer goes through the display table and try-on process, they will be offered an opportunity to buy accessories such as additional bands, Bluetooth headphones via the new earphone Demo Kit system, and chargers. Apple’s options will be more premium alternatives to the third-party accessories that are already starting to appear online.
Prior to purchase, Apple will also offer an opportunity for a customer to purchase AppleCare+, which adds a second year of hardware protection for the stainless steel and Sport models; Edition models come with two years of protection, and can jump up to three years with AppleCare+. Interestingly, we are told that Apple will soon offer a combined coverage program for customers who buy both a new iPhone and an Apple Watch from an Apple Store. From here, a customer with a reservation can purchase the Watch, or if they don’t have a unit reserved, they can make a reservation or order via Apple’s Online Store. Apple, at launch, won’t have stock for customers without reservations, as we reported last week.
If a customer wants to try out the Apple Watch without going through the try-on and sales process, they will be able to use a new demo unit connected to an iPad mini. These demo units will be mobile and will be able to be used anywhere in the store. Additionally, customers who already know which Apple Watch they would like to purchase can buy one via a dedicated purchase station called the Landing Zone. Following the completion of the purchase, customers can access the Personal Setup station to setup the Watch, sync with their iPhone, fit bands, and install Apple Watch apps. We previously detailed how Apple will handle Apple Watch Edition sales and provide fashion advice to customers.