Apple is to expand a new ‘express’ store format across the US and Europe in the hope it will increase sales of the iPhone 12.
The company traditionally launches its best-selling product during the busiest shopping season of the year and wants to mitigate any potential impact that coronavirus might have on demand.
Although many customers opt to receive their devices via Apple’s online store, through third parties, or through their operator, Apple’s retail stores remain an important channel for the Cupertino-based firm.
Apple Store Express
Apple Stores not only allow users to get their hands on a device immediately, they also dispense advice and sell accessories.
Like other retailers, the pandemic has caused major disruption. Apple closed its stores in China back in February before taking similar action in the US and Europe. It has since reopened outlets in places where it is safe to do so, introducing safety measures and social distancing measures.
However, the company has not been afraid to keep the doors closed in areas where local restrictions have been lifted if its in-house medical team feels it is too risky. Some stores only offer curbside service, which allows customers to pick up purchases without stepping foot inside, however this is impractical or impossible in shopping centres or in busy cities.
So far Apple has introduced 20 express stores to remedy these restrictions and expand the range of services that can be offered. A wall is built into the front of the store and customers make appointments to collect orders or receive technical assistance.
The firm’s head of retail Deidre O’Brien said there are plans to introduce the format to 50 stores by the end of the month, claiming it would improve levels of service without sacrificing health protocols.
Apple is also to start distributing devices directly from Apple Stores if it is closer to a customer than a distribution centre. The hope is that that will increase delivery times for online orders.