Apple Store staff are training to ensure customers have a full jewelry counter-style experience when trying and buying the Apple Watch. Contrary to recent reports, our sources tell us the appointment-only process will accommodate walk-ins using a system similar to one recently instituted at Genius Bars worldwide.
New Genius Bar Walk-In Process
In February, Apple rolled out a new Genius Bar "customer journey" aimed at enhancing the experience for customers walking in without appointments. Instead of just being left to wait around for one's name to be called, Genius Bar walk-in customers are now asked for their cell phone number, given a time estimate and then encouraged to leave the store and peruse the mall or surrounding environment. Apple texts updates to the customer as the appointment approaches with a final update coming at the time one's assigned Genius is available.
No More Lines
This new Genius Bar process frees customers from having to sit and wait in the store, opening up space for shopping customers. Given the success of this, our sources report that a similar experience will be used for Apple Watch try-on and sales appointments, too. Advance appointments will work as expected, and walk-ins will be welcome with their experience modeled after the new Genius Bar journey process.
If this works as intended, there will be no lines for Apple Watch sales at all, something malls have wanted Apple to eliminate for quite some time. It also likely means that customers will not be given the opportunity to wait on-site once all of the appointments have been booked for a given day.
After the Apple Watch is released and available for sale on April 24th, customers going in for a try-on will actually be booked for two back-to-back appointments: first for a try-on and then for a sales appointment. This is intended to be a transparent experience for customers while allowing Apple Stores to properly manage sales-only appointments for people who pre-ordered with in-store pickup.
Use The App
Regardless of whether you make your appointment ahead of time or not (hint: you really should just make it ahead of time!), the Apple Store iOS app is going to be your friend. Right now you can use the app to peruse Apple Watch models and mark your favorites. Those favorites will be automatically passed along to the Apple Store and staff so they can be certain to show you the model or models in which you're interested, making the experience as personal and efficient as possible.
Apple Store employees started training a few weeks ago to learn to provide a "full jewelry counter experience." There will be seats and jewelry mats, and employees are perfecting the art of putting the Watch on your wrist. One nice touch: before the watch goes on your wrist (and after it comes off), the face will be cleaned of all fingerprints and smudges, ensuring all customers see a pristine screen for their first experience. Apple did this at its Watch try-on stations at its media events, and it really does make a difference.