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Apple's in-store pickup program launches in San Francisco

post #1 of 9
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Apple on Wednesday began offering customers in San Francisco the ability to order a product online and pick it up in a local retail store.

When checking out from Apple's online store, a new "Pick up" option is available, from which users can select a store in San Francisco, Calif. It also states that the in-store pickup option is "coming soon to a U.S. Apple Store near you."

The "Select an Apple Store" feature allows users to enter their zip code and find a local Apple Store, though for now the program is limited to San Francisco. Users who pick up their order at an Apple Retail Store get Personal Setup for any new Apple product.

Products listed as "Available now" at the store can be picked up within an hour. Customers can also designate someone other than themselves to pick up an order.

Word first surfaced on Monday that Apple was planning to launch its in-store pickup option in its online store. The pilot program was tested internally at the company under the codename "Sherwood."

In addition to in-store pickup, Apple's retail stores are also expected to begin accepting returns of online orders. By doing this, customers can avoid shipping an item back to Apple for the return process.

Apple began offering an in-store pickup option in a limited capacity in 2009, with a Christmastime "Reserve and Pick Up" program. That was restricted to specific products: the iPhone, iPod and MacBook lineups, Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pro. It did not include accessories.



But Apple's new in-store pickup option applies to any product available in Apple's online store, including accessories such as iPhone and iPad cases.

Apple's retail operations has become a very important part of the company's business model. The company revealed in its last quarterly earnings report that it plans to expand many of its retail locations in the U.S., as officials believe the current stores are now "too constrained" to properly serve the high volume of customers they experience.
post #2 of 9
Was always annoyed that Apple did not offer this service, makes total sense.

Most large stores that I shop at have a ship to shop option, don't know why it took them so long to add the option.
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post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

Was always annoyed that Apple did not offer this service, makes total sense.

Most large stores that I shop at have a ship to shop option, don't know why it took them so long to add the option.

Like most other Apple products and initiatives, they try their best to not necessarily have the most features or options, but what they do have, they can consistently deliver on. I'd imagine the logistics of something like this take a lot of planning and attention to detail, and Apple wasn't going to do it if they didn't feel they could do it right. I'm glad they added it, it's a great convenience, and can't wait for it to roll out to my area!
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

Was always annoyed that Apple did not offer this service, makes total sense.

Most large stores that I shop at have a ship to shop option, don't know why it took them so long to add the option.

Liability. It is really easy for your CTO to get lost among the regular store stuff. Also most stores don't have the room for holding a bunch of ordered items. Or the inventory staff.

Same game as you placing a prepaid for pickup and they don't the memo until after they ring up the last whatever and send it out of the store. Setting up the software to prevent that without failure isn't easy. Especially when you are dealing with third party pos software
post #5 of 9
They've been offering this option for a couple of weeks now at the Mission Viejo, CA store...
post #6 of 9
This is stunning news! I am glad I was sitting down and not climbing a tree when I heard. Surely I would have taken a tumble!
post #7 of 9
There must be something I'm missing. Are people really that averse to the 3-5 minute wait for someone to walk in the back room to grab your new computer? You're going to have to wait for that anyway, even if it's pre-paid. If you're going to the retail store anyway, why bother messing around with an online purchase? Just go there and buy the darn thing.

I could maybe see some benefit if you think they might be sold out of your item a couple hours later at your local retail store, but that's probably easier to tell via a local phone call. And from life's experience, I'd have to say you're just as likely to have a screwup with your item not being in stock as planned anyway, via an online order, or as others mentioned, not getting pulled in a timely fashion just as another in-house customer purchased the last one.

Seriously, what advantage does this give you over just walking into the store and making your purchase? ("novelty" factor doesn't count, that's only once or twice)
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

There must be something I'm missing. Are people really that averse to the 3-5 minute wait for someone to walk in the back room to grab your new computer? You're going to have to wait for that anyway, even if it's pre-paid. If you're going to the retail store anyway, why bother messing around with an online purchase? Just go there and buy the darn thing.

I could maybe see some benefit if you think they might be sold out of your item a couple hours later at your local retail store, but that's probably easier to tell via a local phone call. And from life's experience, I'd have to say you're just as likely to have a screwup with your item not being in stock as planned anyway, via an online order, or as others mentioned, not getting pulled in a timely fashion just as another in-house customer purchased the last one.

Seriously, what advantage does this give you over just walking into the store and making your purchase? ("novelty" factor doesn't count, that's only once or twice)

Three letters - BTO, short for "Build To Order." If you want to buy a Mac with custom configurations, you have to order through the online store. The retail stores generally only sell the "stock" configurations with few exceptions.

It's exceptionally convenient to order something online and pick it up at a store on my way home from work, for example. I'm guaranteed to get the right product at the right price, and its guaranteed to be in stock. You get the benefits of online shopping along with the benefits of retail stores, such as instant gratification and personal setup. No need to wait for something to come in the mail, nor do I have to worry about being home to sign a package or leave it on my front door for anyone to steal.

There are many benefits to this service, and it's a welcomed change.
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post

Three letters - BTO, short for "Build To Order." If you want to buy a Mac with custom configurations, you have to order through the online store. The retail stores generally only sell the "stock" configurations with few exceptions.

No where does the article say (or imply) that BTO machines will be available. If so, that would be an awesome benefit. However, do you really think they'll stock all the BTO options, like 15" non-glare screens? I'll withhold judgement on this until we find out for sure.

Also, if BTO machines are available locally, then I should be able to walk into the store and buy whatever configuration I want, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post

It's exceptionally convenient to order something online and pick it up at a store on my way home from work, for example. I'm guaranteed to get the right product at the right price, and its guaranteed to be in stock. You get the benefits of online shopping along with the benefits of retail stores, such as instant gratification and personal setup. No need to wait for something to come in the mail, nor do I have to worry about being home to sign a package or leave it on my front door for anyone to steal.

There are many benefits to this service, and it's a welcomed change.

The rest of what you mention doesn't counter any of my earlier points.

- right product at the right price? this is guaranteed when you walk in the store as well. That's one of the advantages of Apple's consistent pricing model.

- guaranteed to be in stock? how about a phone call? I trust a phone call from someone who will put their eyes on a box and put my name on it 10x better than an online order that could easily get pulled for an in-store purchase before yours does. This is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the service, and it would be great to know if/how they deal with this. I'll believe it when I've seen it in place for a while.

- instant gratification and personal setup. Seriously, if you need personal setup, you should be in the store to talk with a sales person before making a purchase. And there's nothing more instantly gratifying than making a purchase in the store and walking out with your new computer!

- your last point about waiting for something in the mail or leaving a package outside your door are also good reasons not to have an online order delivered, but still no advantage to just walking into your store to make a purchase.

I'm still waiting to hear a significant advantage to purchasing this way over walking into the store to make your purchase.
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