Apple Retail stores are employing an internal app, available on the store’s employee-use-only iPod Touches, to locate shoppers in the store who are looking for assistance or who are there to pick up an online purchase. Customized for each store, the app shows employees a layout of the store floor and identifies with a red dot customers who have requested assistance using the retail stores’ “Smart Signs,” modified iPads attached to the display tables that give customers access to product information.
This internal application allows Apple Store employees to locate customers seeking assitance in the store.
Image courtesy of Brian X. Chen, The New York Times
The application also links in with the “Apple Store App,” on customers’ iOS devices, which, with customers’ permission, will alert the store’s servers to the customer’s arrival in cases of merchandise pickup or Genius Bar service. Employees tasked with monitoring the internal app can then approach and assist the customer directly, without the customer having to first seek help.
According to The Times’ source, Apple believes that this system of seeking and delivering customer assistance is better than traditional methods in that it allows the customer to receive help only when they are ready, and thus does not put the customer in a position of feeling pressured.
While Smart Signs are available in every store, customers using their iOS device to purchase products and request help are a minority of all Apple customers. Apple’s attention to these customers, via improvements in its Apple Store App, clearly demonstrates Apple’s hope that more customers will shop this way in the future.