Distracted by the huge windows and beautiful view of Hong Kong, first-day visitors to the IFC Mall Apple store may not have noticed a feature that is new to the chain—the Express Purchase counter, intended to handle customers who know what they want, and who don’t want to wait. According to sources, the concept could be rolled out to other stores around the world if it proves successful, despite Apple’s preference for employees to fully interact with every buyer. The express counter occupies the entire left side of the store on the upper level, and is adjacent to a store entrance and the doorway to the back-of-house space. During the grand opening the counter was staffed with eight employees. Behind the counter is stainless steel floor-to-ceiling shelving with a supply of four products: the MacBook Air, iPad 2, iPhone 4 and several models of the iPod. Experienced and long-time Apple products users often complain that it’s time-consuming to purchase a major product when they know exactly what they want. Instead, they must navigate the store, locate a Specialist, wait for a product from the back-of-house, and then pay. But, in fact, Apple prefers that method of selling products: each product buyer interacts with a store staffer to build a retail relationship, which is essential for creating brand loyalty. Only during the post-Thanksgiving holiday sales season does Apple set up an express purchase counter in its store to speed up purchases of popular products.
E-mail this story