Apple’s 375 Apple Retail Stores have drawn 3 million customers so far during this past fiscal year, serving upwards of 50,000 people at Genius Bars everyday around the world according to The Loop. Apple’s Retail Stores, which accounted for 14 billion in sales the last fiscal quarter, are Apple’s nexus to the consumer. Every store gives customers the opportunity to interact with Apple’s products, talk with (in my experience pleasant) Specialists who can answer questions, and get support for their products at the Genius Bar at the back of the store. While Apple Support already extends beyond the store by phone and through company’s website via online experts, FAQs, documents, tutorials, and e-mail (just to name a few), getting hands-on with a product before it’s purchased is more challenging. While Apple’s product pages — well designed and often showcasing the product’s features through slides, animated images, and galleries — give customers a sense of what they’re buying, there’s nothing like actually seeing how a real person is using the product (and you wonder why there are so many homemade reviews on YouTube).
Apple’s Specialists are now online and ready to answer a customer’s pending questions about their next iPhone or iPad, at least in a few countries as of this morning. According to The Next Web and Pocket-lint, online shoppers who browse Apple’s Online Store in Brazil, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom now have access to a personalized shopping experience for the iPad and iPhone. The new online service is expected to roll out to more countries soon.
Visit the iPad or iPhone pages on the Apple Online Store, then click the Ask Now button to see your options for contacting a trained Apple Specialist.
For customers shopping for an iPad or an iPhone who might not have an Apple Retail Store nearby or who don’t have the time to stop by a store, an online Apple Specialist can show you how the product works in real time via screen sharing. You’ll be able to ask Specialists questions in a chat panel, then get a demonstration of how a feature works via video. Apple’s goal is to help you make the right purchasing decision, then if desired, schedule an appointment to help you set up the device as you follow along with a Specialist in real time.
Always on the bleeding edge of retail, Apple continues to innovate and improve upon their shopping experience by going the extra mile and putting customers above the product. For Apple, it’s not just about making the sale, but about making connections with people and providing customers with a convenient shopping experience. If you thought Apple turned the idea of personal shopping on its head with EasyPay, delivering online screen sharing demonstrations by real people (at scale!) is equally, if not more, impressive. For an early look at the new service, visit Apple’s UK page for more information.