Today, I went to our Apple store close to my work. I decided to buy an iPad for my wife.
As I wrote in an earlier post, Apple changed the look and feel of the store. There is no cash out register anymore, the genuis bar got bigger and the store has now multiple "personal trainer" tables.
But the most interesting part is that each displayed item has an iPad build into a plastic frame. The last time I counted 32 of these ipads. This time it have been 46.
As usual the store was full and it took a couple of minutes till somebody was ready to help me. I asked for an iPad 16GB wifi only.
Guess what the answer was?
"Sorry, we are sold out of the wifi only models, we have only the 64 GB 3G for Verizon in stock."
When I asked when and how many they expect to come in, I was told that every Tuesday and Thursday a new delivery comes, but they can't tell how many of which model.
Can you imagine Apple has over 9,000 iPads for their stores to use as just a smart display but are not able to have enough in stock for their customers. It is like going to a bakery which has real cakes on display but you can't buy any of them just look at them and getting hungry.
I have to admit I like the new store philosophy in terms of service orientated. That all Apple devices are multiple times presented and all of them are fully functional. I like that Apple has in the store more employees than a football team has players, that they all know the products and that they are very helpful. I like as well that each of them can check you out, instead of the need to stay in the line for the check out. Actually I think Apple reinvented the check out in a great way. You find the employee, he/she consults you and when you are ready to buy, they put the order in their special iPhone and 2 minutes later somebody comes with your merchandise to you. You give the employee your credit card and sign in the iPhone. The receipt will be send to your email address. If you need a print out then they hit a button on the iPhone and the receipt get printed on a hidden printer which is close by at the nearest display table. If you need to have your iPad activated then they hit another button and one of the "personal trainer" will come and help you at the "trainer" table.
Absolutely efficient and totally service orientated. Macy's, BestBuy etc can learn from Apple. Ralph Lauren did invent the store within a store, but Apple did invent the perfect service with checkout. The only bad part: you can't pay cash.
But what I don't like is, that there is one side still a shortage of iPads (1 to 2 weeks when ordering online waiting time) but at the same time up to 100 iPads almost useless laying around in the store. This does not make sense for me. I can see that Apple want to show their iPads off and show that they can be even be used as a smart display. But if they do so, then they have to make sure the customers get what they want.
I personally still don't get why they did not use the iPad 1 for the smart display.
At the end I went frustrated home, and ordered at macmall.com. They at least don't charge tax on the iPad and have same delivery time according to their website.
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