Nov 2 2011
On Thursday, Apple’s new retail store app for iOS will be launched and it will bring two major features with it. First, it will enable online ordering with retail store pick up. This has already started happening in a few stores in California and New York City Apple stores as well, and more stores will go live on Thursday.
This will happen in the following manner:
- If a customer orders an in-stock product, pick up will be available approximately 12 minutes after completing the order. Why 12 minutes? Well, the order goes through the system to the designated Apple Store in about 3 minutes. Apple’s back-of-house employees have 2 minutes to set all of the products aside on a shelf from the minute it was ordered. There is then a 7-minute grace period for employees to get everything else in order. Around 12 minutes after purchasing, customers will be able to walk into the Apple Store, skip lines, skip registers, get their products, sign for them and leave.
- If a customer orders something that a retail store does not have in-stock, like a custom-configured machine, an accessory the store does not carry, or something like an engraved or gift-wrapped device, the customer will be a given a pick-up date right after the purchase is completed. Everything will have free shipping when sent to an Apple retail store. Once the order arrives at the Apple Store and is available for pickup, a push notification will be sent to the customer through the Apple Store app, notifying the user of the order.It is expected to be 12-minute time-frame i.e. 12 minutes from the time the push notification is received, the customer’s order should be waiting to be signed for.
- Also customers who vie for online purchase or through the app will be given priority when they walk into the store over a customer waiting for a retail specialist, and it is expected that, majority of customers over the next few years will use the in-store pick up option as their default method of buying products. This will help with foot traffic in retail stores while also reducing the cost of shipping for Apple, and possibly even reducing the number of stores Apple needs to open to accommodate sales.
- Apple will also offer customers the ability to return items purchased online to retail stores.
Another major feature coming in Store App is Customer self check-out at retail stores. Apple is the the only one who has been able to put it together. Its supposed to work this way: after you find the item you want to buy, like an accessory, you launch the Apple Store app on your iOS device and there will be an option to buy a product in the store. Then, you scan the product with the camera on your device in the app, click purchase, and it will charge you via credit card associated to your Apple ID. You then just walk out of the store.Surprisingly though, Apple will not be checking purchases but, this self check-out option will launch Thursday worldwide at all Apple retail stores.