So Apple Watches release this month, and despite all the efforts to retrain their staff for this epic event, Apple has issued a letter this week letting staff know that they do not want to encourage customers to purchase watch in-store but instead online. Those of you who have kept up with my blog may understand why, but this irks me on so many levels. Sure a store like Apple can get away with discouraging customers to come in store and still turn an insurmountable profit, but what they are doing is not considering the rest of the retail industry.
I thought the big push of late was to discourage customers from online, and push them to visit our store locations? Whatever happened to saving the idea of brick and mortar and personal customer service? Aren’t you asking your employees to turn people away from the store that pays their paycheck? You’re willing to risk the potential regular customers that you could have won over with stellar service, and this amazing opportunity by forcing yourself to come off more cold and distant than you already appear to many?
On a personal level I would be frustrated as I logically don’t want to purchase online a product that is so incredibly expensive and going to be such a central point of contact and communication for me. (Perhaps they don’t want their buyers to realize just how physically heavy it has been claimed to feel on the arm? Okay ya, I’m not really a conspiracy theorist.) If I wanted an Apple Watch I wouldn’t want to purchase a picture but instead the actual physical watch that I picked. This is something I will have to wear day in and day out, something that will be the new hub of my social media, weather, fitness, schedules, phone calls, and so on. I am quite familiar with the capabilities and the importance of a smart watch as my husband received one for his birthday last December and it has become an essential part of his day to day life.
Sure, sure, sure the lines were ridiculous on each opening day for a product, wrapping around the halls of gallerias world wide. These lines were filled with customers, with meticulously trimmed hipster beards and Starbucks in hand (feeling nostalgic already), who were so anxious to be up to date with their Mac technology that they refused to wait until the next week when the same product would be replenished and there would be no line.
To be fair there are other options:
- Customer’s could wait a week if they don’t want the line
- Apple could schedule “fittings”, much like they do their other services.
- Supply should not be an issue. Use your highly educated logistics and analytics team to determine based off of trends for iPhones how many watches individual stores will need, and issue them an adequate amount.
- Apple could just read the un-scientific proof that 98% of consumers don’t want their stinkin’ watch. Yes that’s the legit article.
- Customer’s who don’t want to wait in line and would like to save 50 bucks can head to Best Buy and purchase a Moto 360, I can vouch for its awesomeness.
- Rolex should play their hand in the smart watch field…blow them all out of the water.
People are going to purchase online, the people that do are the ones that do anyway. Why discourage your shoppers that take the effort to visit your store, they obviously have their reasons for coming in person. I’ll let you in on secret…shopping online has never been a secret.
Photo Courtesy of Robin Stott