Apple is expanding a new physical “Express” store format as the company looks to get iPhone 12 models into customers’ hands, Apple’s retail chief Deirdre O’Brien told Reuters in an interview.
The new format has a wall built in front of the main store with sales counters protected by plexiglass and a few shelves of accessories such as phone cases and AirPods. Customers make an appointment to pick up orders placed online or interact with Apple’s technicians for customer service.
For Apple, which has 271 retail stores in the United States, the new format could help it navigate a holiday sales challenge.
The new “Express” stores give Apple another option in areas where troubling COVID-19 rates might force it to consider reducing service to curbside pickup.
Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst who is now a partner at Loup Ventures, said Apple will likely face about 5% fewer iPhone sales because of the retail environment for this year’s iPhone launch. And Apple will lose customers who spend more than they planned in physical stores on accessories like cases or headphones.
But that loss has been offset by Apple’s customer service, which Munster said helped drive higher revenues in Apple’s most recent quarter.
MacDailyNews Take: Thank God for FedEx, UPS, et al.