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Apple Store App – Theory vs. Practice

by on November 29th, 2011

As reported here several weeks ago, Apple released the Apple Store app here in Canada, and with it, came a number of interesting features for retail store visitors. Apple Store visitors would be able to queue up for personal service and even sign up for workshops or One on One sessions. Sounds great, no?

The benefits for Apple are great too. Not only would Apple be able to offer better retail service, but Apple would theoretically also be able to track store sales and evaluate individual staff performance. Needless to say, digitizing and tracking the entire retail experience would certainly give Apple an edge over their retail competitors and continue to put Apple as the dominant leader in the retail space for a few more years.

Theory is one thing, but the practice isn’t anywhere as clean cut. I recently went to my local Apple store to pick out a new iPhone, and decided to fire up the app and see how it worked. Logged on to the Apple Store wifi network and signed put myself in line for service. 5 min passed, then 10, and only then did I realize that while I was waiting, the network kicked me out and I had to sign in again and wait another 15 min. During that time, it didn’t appear that my place in line has changed or that anyone else has queued up behind me. In fact, the entire experience was simply frustrating.

I ended up getting into the back of the [holiday] Express Service line and picked up my phone that way. The entire experience with the app took about 45 min. I stood in the express line for 5.

On the other hand, the app ties in pretty well with the Apple online store. The app offers something similar to Amazon’s One-Click mechanism which ties in to your Apple ID. Buying an Apple product through the app is almost too easy (and dangerously so). Furthermore, the app also serves up shipping and tracking information for any purchases made online and through the app, so you can track all those Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases you made. In this case, the app does pretty well.

So what went wrong here? Did Apple’s attempt to streamline and digitize an inherently human system? Or is the system just too new and the staff too inexperienced to make use of it? Or maybe the app is still too much in its infancy and adoption is still too low?

In this case, it’s probably all three of these, and maybe more. The Apple Store app is definitely a great idea and definitely worth trying. Hopefully, my app experience is isolated only to myself. Let us know if you’ve had similar experiences in retail or online. Be interested to see what you guys out there think too.

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Posted under: App Store, Reviews

  • Anonymous

    Very nice write up.

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