Lining up outside an Apple store in anticipation of a new product is one of the more enduring traditions amongst Apple fans. Customer often stand in line for hours outside an Apple store in anticipation of getting their hands on the latest product from the tech giant. We’ve seen it time and time again with the iPhone. It happened when the iPad first launched too, and many expect to see long lines once again when the Apple Watch ships in a couple of weeks. But the practice of queuing up for Apple products may be coming to an end, at least if Angela Ahrendts – Apple’s new Senior Vice President of Retail – has her way.
In a memo penned by Ahrendts, and obtained by Business Insider, Apple’s new head of retail encourages her staff to convince customers to avoid waiting in long lines at Apple stores and order the Apple Watch and new MacBook online instead. The directive comes just as preorders for the Watch are set to go live this Friday, April 10, the same day the svelte new laptop is due in stores as well.
In the memo Ahrendts clearly indicates just how she would like to see future product launches handled. She tells retail staff that “The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers.” And then goes on to add “This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day.”
Ahrendts believes that shifting customer purchases to Apple’s online store will help make for a smoother, and more satisfying product launch for everyone involved. She also points out that the Apple Store app for iOS is a good option as well. Both outlets are simple to use, offer plenty of stock, and are less likely to turn customers away in frustration and disappointment.
As someone who has stopped waiting in line for new Apple products I can attest to how easy it is to use the online store for preorders. Like many others, I queued up for the original iPhone back in 2007, and then again for the 3GS two years later. But since then I have preordered my iPhone 4S, iPhone 6,and a first and third generation iPad online instead. The process is simple and the products are delivered straight to your door without the need to battle hectic crowds while keeping your fingers crossed that you’ll be able to get the exact item that you want.
Despite Ahrendts best efforts however, there will surely be some of the Apple faithful that will continue to wait in line. For them it is a communal experience, and the launch of new Apple products simply wouldn’t be the same without sharing it with other Apple fans. There is always a sense of excitement and anticipation as you wait with others to get your hands on the latest gadget, and that simply can’t be replicated when you order online.
Encouraging customers to order online is a good strategy on the part of Ahrendts however, as most people don’t want to fight the crowds just to get a new device. For them, this is a simpler and more satisfying approach that will provide a better overall experience. In the end, that is exactly what Apple’s retail boss wants to accomplish, making more customers happy, while helping them get the products they want.