11 months after Apple took precautions against COVID-19, the world has begun to recognize the Apple Store as the gold standard of retail health and safety. Most consumers understand Apple’s protections and believe that they will find a caring environment when they visit a store. A small change can lead to more successful experiences for additional customers and Apple’s own teams.
The services available in individual locations are less clear than the health and safety systems in all Apple stores. Under normal circumstances, Apple tries to create a consistent experience whether you visit New York or New Mexico. A city-to-city, however, demands a unique situation of data-informed systems in operating stores during epidemics.
Many customers are still unaware in their local Apple Store that it is only closed or open by appointment. The Open Express Storefront model is still fancy for most visitors, who have limited their shopping trips over the past year. Apple’s own support teams working online and over the phone do not always keep relevant information about the status of the store to inform customers. The result is vague expectations and wasted store visits.
Pick up Apple’s website, Apple Store app, Apple Support app, or an Apple store itself and you’ll get a little tidal to let you know about the services available. The outside lines of each space range from flanking to banners and links below store time. Customers will benefit from a consistent resource across each medium with the information needed to visit a successful store.
Here’s what it looks like:
Apple prefers to focus on the positives, but calling what’s not in front of it introduces a better experience.
Emails, genius bar appointments and pickups for shopping sessions can prepare customers with store service availability.
Straight checkmarks make it easy to locate your store instantly.
Information should be presented consistently across all mediums, from online messaging to in-store ease.
If you’ve ever traveled the streets across the American Midwest, you’ve probably come to appreciate the signs of a glowing waxy / no vacancy at a roadside motel point. They communicate elegantly through their simplicity. You know in the second part whether Apple should stop or continue on the road.
During the epidemic I appreciated Apple Retail’s constant communication. At the same time, the liquidity of the situation means the information can be irresistible and difficult to follow. I’ve been tracking the status of the Apple Store worldwide every day since last January and I still often have difficulty determining the services and operating models available everywhere.
There are no magic shortcuts to the perfect store experience. The reality is that this epidemic is very far away, and the situation will be complicated and presented for a deep near future. Customers will appreciate the clarity of Unified Shopping information, and Apple’s store teams will appreciate something that makes their job a little easier during times of challenge.
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