Angela Ahrendts: The days of waiting in line at Apple Retail Stores are over

“Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has issued an internal memo to retail employees that encourages store staff to direct customers to the Apple Online Store to purchase the Apple Watch and new MacBook,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors.

Get in line online

The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers. The Apple Store app and our online store make it much easier to purchase Apple Watch and the new MacBook. Customers will know exactly when and where their product arrives.

This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day. — Angela Ahrendts, Apple Inc. Senior Vice President, Retail and Online Stores

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Finally.

Chalk up another great thing* ruined by greedy profiteers**. It was fun while it lasted, but it hasn’t been as much fun for awhile now.

Here’s Apple’s problem in a nutshell: Loyal Apple customers at their local Apple Store had a BAD experience, were certainly NOT DELIGHTED, and left their local Apple Retail Store feeling DISHEARTENED and DISAPPOINTED. This cannot be good for Apple… something needs to be done. — Lucas Tamborelli, MacDailyNews, September 20, 2014

*Apple Retail Store queues full of true Apple fans.
**Black market scalpers’ pawns crowding out the real fans in Apple Retail Store queues.

37 Comments

      1. Apple Canada does have in-store pickup. The key thing to remember is to go to a real Apple Store. In the Vancouver region, they have been doing it for a very long time.

  1. I hope it doesn’t backfire in the end for various reasons…….False reports on why are there no Apple lines on all news agencies, Apple is failing, Slow downs in the store, etc.

    1. Yes but sales will speak for themselves. It would be disingenuous (but not beyond the doofus media of course) to report otherwise if it’s broadly known Apple has changed it’s selling methods to eliminate lines and consumer disappointment & discomfiture at the stores.

    1. I agree. I understand the reasoning behind it and something had to be done to reward those who stand in line. However, it’s an Apple tradition that has tons of PR benefit. It’s part of the mystic and culture that makes the competition jealous to the point they pay people to stand in line for their products.

      When you take over a job that’s at the top, you don’t change anything. I would tell Angela to keep the lines but make sure there’s enough product for those who wait, or find a better way to manage lines so everyone is happy. And to that, add appointments and internet ordering for those who want a quicker turn around. A dual system. Something on that order.

  2. There are two kinds of people in line at Apple Stores on product launch day. First, there are those who have come to be in the line, with some hope of getting to the front before the stock runs out. Second, there are those who have come expecting to make a purchase. The first group always has a good experience, because they experienced the line. AA is helping the second group, because they are the ones whining. They need to learn to live in the moment and not have stupid expectations.

    1. There are three kinds of people in line at Apple stores on product launch day. In addition to the two you mentioned, there is the third that MDN mentions in their take: black market scalpers who are there to buy as many new product as possible and then resell them overseas at 100% profit.

      At the last iPhone launch (iPhone 6 / 6+), fans’ line waiting experience was ruined by black market scalpers who were bussed in, who spoke very little to no English, and who had no interest in the camaraderie and festive atmosphere among the fans in the line. Many of them appeared to be very poor and lacking in hygiene. And in most cases, they took the front spots in the line and ended up depleting the stock of new devices, leaving true fans in the line behind them without the item they were waiting for.

      1. You are correct on that point. The “no walk-in purchase, appointment or on-line only” policy is pretty well going to eliminate all three groups. What would be the point, except early arrival for an in-store pickup of an on-line order? Ah-well, things change.

      2. Then I say there are four types: I stand in line because people don’t like me so that’s my chance to force conversations. I never buy anything, just leverage the captive audience. I also queue for Hannah Montana tickets, as well as at porta-potties at outdoor events. Sometimes I invite people to check out my baseball card collection out in my nearby Chevy van.

  3. While this obviously helps “opening day” problems, it also unfortunately conveys the message “we don’t want to personally deal with you.” I think it is a reversal of what has made the Apple Stores great: “we care; we are willing to take the time to make everything perfect.” In essence, it is saying “you’re just one of the crowd; we don’t have enough time to make you happy.”

    1. No. The message it conveys is: we want you to ultimately get the device you waited for; we don’t want you to end up with nothing because some scalper showed up two nights before you.

      They can’t arbitrarily refuse to sell the product to someone waiting in line just because they speak little English and look a bit unkempt. So, they will to whatever they can to make the line waiting experience end up a positive experience.

  4. she’s an idiot. First of all supposedly the watch can come in any configuration- but that can’t be done online/ you can only buy as is. second- she has never been the NY Soho store. No matter when you can never get help. There is always a line. and its not because they’r busy – they’re talking to each other.

    1. NYC Soho store is a special case; nobody there wants to do any business, they are all there to chat and pick up girls / guys… Look at GCT, or 5th Ave; the second you walk in, you’re mobbed by the blue shirts, no matter how crowded the place (and it is always packed).

    2. I don’t think she’s an idiot but I have to agree with you. It’s not intuitive to buy watches this way. I understand she is trying to solve a real problem. But she better not solve it by changing Apple’s mystic. Keep the lines. Improve the service for those who choose to line up. And offer appointments for those who want to arrive, try on, and leave in fairly short order.

  5. So the message is don’t go to Apple stores anymore? OK. That saves me a lot of driving and money in the long run, since I won’t be buying stuff I can’t play with and/or buy right on the spot. I guess Apple is adopting the Dell Business Model. I’ll end up buying as much from Apple as I did from Dell.

    1. I don’t think you’re getting it. The opening-day line experience, which has been, for many years, a memorable experience for those participating in it, has been permanently ruined by profiteering scalpers populating the front end of the line and essentially depleting the stock of the new devices, robbing all the true line-waiting fans of their reward for the wait (the ability to buy the device they’ve been waiting for). Apple wants to avoid this bad experience for fans. They really don’t have much choice here.

  6. I had a Superdrive replaced in my Mom’s iMac at a retail store.
    When picking up, I simply asked to see the bad superdrive(I paid for it). Finally got the manager and he stood me down and would not show it to me.
    I, to this day still think they never replaced it. I only asked for proof. I also had a Macbook hard drive completely give up the ghost at 12 months, 13 days. I don’t buy extended warranties on a product that is supposed to last.
    Zero mercy from the manager. Won’t forget it. Even the Honda dealer replaced a bad air conditioner for free at 3,200 miles when the warranty was 3000. Ill be back.
    With billions in cash reserve, Apple can flex to keep existing customers happy. It only makes you money down the road. People don’t forget. If you believe you make a great product,
    then be embarrassed when it fails and back it up. That is true customer service, when your reputation is more important than your arrogant success.

    1. It may have been an unfriendly manager. I have dealt with various Apple Stores in NYC on several occasions. Every single time, they bent over backwards, fixed things for free a month or two after expiration of warranty, replaced frayed charging cables, defective keyboards (due to spilled water damage), bad batteries… Every single experience ended with some special moment that was a positive surprise. Similar thing happened when I registered my daughter for a free filmmaking 3-day summer camp. They asked all the kids to bring headphones; we forgot ours, and the trainer simply ran back and brought a pair of Earpods (for free).

      I feel sorry for you; you experienced an unfriendly Apple store manager. My experience was consistently positive.

  7. Those lines are getting dangerous. Sooner or later some rival profiteer or just some sociopath is going to spray one with bullets or leave a bomb in a trash can. The lines get too much attention. They’re a cultural phenomenon now, I.e. an attractive target for kooks to make a statement.

  8. Apple:

    In my humble opinion, stocking product and serving people in your retail stores should take precedence over internet sales. Nobody who orders online expects the product in their hands immediately. Everyone who walks in the door to a retail shop is disappointed if they are turned away to leave without their product selection.

    Don’t advertise luxury & tell people they have to experience it to appreciate it and then when they come to your store, you tell them to go home and order online. That’s not good retail experience at all.

  9. This doesn’t work when the online ballot at 8am sharp for ordering iPhones is completely hammered by bots created by Mainland Chinese on the HK Online Apple Store. It was a very deflating experience when you’re truly wanting to use it rather than others trying to bag a profit

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