Apple Watch debut tests Ahrendts’ no-lines retail store revamp

Apple Watch “can be pre-ordered starting after 3:01 a.m. New York time, ahead of the official availability April 24,” Tim Higgins reports for Bloomberg. “Apple’s taking a risk with an altogether different shopping experience that favors ordering online, making appointments and selecting from an array of models and sizes.”

“That’s a break from Apple’s usual product introductions that involve long lines outside stores and the relatively simple choice between a couple of colors and sizes,” Higgins reports. “‘It’s going to be challenging for them to get this buyer experience exactly right, especially early on, when there are likely to be large crowds of people that want to come in and see these things,’ said Van Baker, an analyst at Gartner Inc.”

“Buyers will have to embrace the new approach. Cupertino, California-based Apple is encouraging shoppers to make appointments online to try on the watch in its stores. Executives are also directing retail employees to have customers purchase the watch through the company’s website,” Higgins reports. “‘The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers,’ the company said in an internal memo [penned by retail chief Angela Ahrendts]. ‘This is a significant change in mindset and we need your help to make it happen.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Who’s ready for preordering?!


  1. She has definitely thought this through. The worst case scenario I can see as an individual is I take my best shot at figuring out what I like sight unseen, order on line, get it delivered on day one. If I love it, I’m goo to go, if not, I trek to the Apple Store within the return period and choose different. The return appointment will be on my schedule. This seems brilliant and I hope it goes well. Be ready for 00:01 04/10/15, Apple. The will be an assault on your servers.

    1. There may be something missing in her process: there is a certain amount of excitement, publicity and exclusivity that will be missing. This line up scenario drives interest in the product.

      1. I agree with you on that and I hope it doesn’t turn out to feel too controlling. The complexity of buying a watch just isn’t the same as other products, so this seems a good compromise for product launch for the Watch.

      2. I see you, (thanks) and raise you this: analogy; her process is not a seawall to buttress against the tide of avid apple-heads (me included) who want the best as soon as we can get it, but an estuary that moderates that tide and allows it to spread out further to mimimize the swings and accomodate those who really know what they want and know how to get it

        just so you know, there will still be campers, even in large numbers, so maybe apples message is if you want and apple watch, but not enough to be on TV, preorder and spend that time with your family

    2. The only kink (assuming you can return the Apple Watch to a physical store if you decide it’s not for you) I can see with the pre-order/deliver-only plan is that there is a longer “buyer’s remorse” period between ordering and having the product in your possession. Have to keep an eye on how many get returned the first round of purchasing to either get replaced or because they changed their mind. Buying in store would largely avoid this problem, but also bring back the line that they are trying to avoid.

      1. I was making an (probably wrong) assumption regarding return policy. I can see that process, returning products purchased online to a physical store could make the accounting very confused. Still think it’s my plan to order online. My choice is driven by cost, so that means 42mm Sport. I don’t care for the colorful bands, so probably the Space Gray with Black band. I doubt that I will hate it.

        1. I think the ‘return to store’ policy is more likely than returning via mail/parcel service. That is unless a pre-paid return label is included. Too much hassle for the customer to ship back a high-cost product otherwise. Your combination sounds pretty good. 🙂

  2. Wall Street’s rules of thumb for Apple:

    No AppleWatch lines means poor sales. That’s always been the sales barometer for Apple.
    If AppleWatch supply exceeds demand it’s no good for Apple.
    If AppleWatch demand exceeds supply it’s no good for Apple.
    AppleWatch Sport sales are no good for Apple.
    AppleWatch Edition sales are no good for Apple.

    Apple shouldn’t be trying to sell a product that no one wants. Apple shouldn’t be trying to sell a product that isn’t perfect for everyone. Tim Cook has cooked his own goose.


    The news media is honestly getting carried away with this whole AppleWatch introduction. It’s as though people don’t have anything else in their lives to worry about. It’s just a smartwatch and not the second coming of jebus.

  3. I b et this will backfire on her. There are people that like being in that line – getting ti first. She’s taking that away. And I don’t know if thats a good thing . This is tech , not fashion .And even with fashion they didn’t do that much business online , they were mostly brick and mortar

    1. I think not. Going to get an iPhone is different from the Watch. There are 54 combinations of case and band and people will want to try them on.

      I agree there are people who really liked that line up experience, but this particular product just doesn’t fit that model. I think Apple will reserve a certain number to stock stores for Day 1, and sell every one they allocate to on-line purchase before the end of next weekend, then run like hell trying to get delivery times down to “immediate” as quickly as they can.

      It’ll be fun to watch, especially Watch.

    2. People USED TO like being in line. Now it’s just a bunch of chinese people buying in order to send them back to China for gray market profit. And people waiting in line just to promote their new app or website.

  4. I do see some of the usual FUD that usually precedes and Apple product launch, but it appears to be more floundering than usual, I think because none of the FUD generators have ever used an Apple Watch and are completely in the dark about what it will be like for the user.

    It will be interesting to see how the media responds to whatever happens once the Watch goes on sale.

    It does seem as if the early reviews are pretty impressive.

  5. All I can say is that pre-orders better work this time. People have such a short memory they seem to have already forgotten how Apple’s site completely crapped the during iPhone 6 pre-orders.

    I wanted to pre-order iPhone 6 but Apple under-estimated demand for its own products so badly that it was just impossible, by the time I got through shipping times were a month out. So I had to wait in line instead.

    1. “Apple under-estimated demand . . .”???

      Did you know that Apple could delay the launch of a new product so that they could manufacture enough devices to sell on opening day? Do you really think that Apple has a bunch of elves who can instantly put out millions of devices on a single launch day just to satisfy your misconceptions?

      1. I think it’s obvious I’m talking about Apple under-estimating demand for SERVER CAPACITY during the pre-order weekend. You would know that if you had the slightest bit of reading comprehension.

  6. Once Samsung, Microsoft, Google and all the Swiss watch makers have purchased their Apple Watches, hopefully there will be enough left for people who want to actually use the Apple Watch and not just take it apart and copy it!

  7. In other news, the Yankees decided its fans were too intense so only fans west of the Mississippi will be considered in all Yankee marketing initiatives.

    Angela is clueless to throw away customer loyalty on a false endeavor to convert people to an online ordering concept.


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