Apple now using retail stores as distribution centers in North America

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple recently began to use its vast chain of brick-and-mortar Apple Store locations as nodes in a product distribution network, enabling faster receipt of items than those shipped from China.

Apple Store


The strategy is a marked shift from Apple's its standard operating procedures, which until now has seen the tech giant fulfill online orders from regional distribution centers or directly from manufacturers in China.

Citing sources familiar with the company's new shipping process, Bloomberg reports products like iPhone, iPad and Mac will ship to buyers from a network of nearly 300 retail outlets across the North America. Apple told employees that direct shipments from Apple Stores will translate to faster delivery times, the report said.

Using FedEx in the U.S. and UPS in Canada, the program will ship in-stock products out to customers who live within a 100-mile radius, cutting delivery windows to as short as one day.

Apple began to pilot the new distribution process at a handful of stores that re-opened from coronavirus closures in June and July. More locations have been added in the intervening months, though not all outlets are taking part in the program, the report said.

Along with faster shipping speeds, the initiative lightens the load of an overseas supply chain. The company typically ships devices straight from the factory to a customer's doorstep, but the new method will likely save both on time and cost.

In addition, the program keeps Apple Stores operational during coronavirus lockdowns. Apple has discussed turning some stores into online support or sales call centers -- as already seen at select locations -- if and when they are required to shutter due to state or regional restrictions, the report said.
ronn

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    Hmmm. Surprised they didn’t start doing this a lot sooner. The coronavirus has certainly changed the way businesses conduct business.
    h4y3sronngregoriusm
  • Reply 2 of 5
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,289member
    Their use of FedEx for online order shipping is an excellent reason to shop in-store.
    I've had as many bad experiences with that company as good -- and 50-50 is NOT good!

    One expample:   Two years ago I ordered a MacBook Air:
    --   On the day it was due to arrive I stayed home the entire day so as not to miss it.   But, at 6:00pm I got a text saying it could not be delivered because there was no one home!
    I contacted FedEx and essentially got a shrug from them.
    --   On the second day I again stayed home all day and again, at 6:00pm got a text that this time said:  "Could not be delivered due to security at the door".  But, since I live in a single family on a public street that was again a lie.   I again contacted FedEx and this time got an actual response where they shifted delivery from their home delivery section to their business delivery section.
    --  On the third day the MacBook was actually delivered!    "It's a miracle!"

    China threatened to add FedEx to their untrustworthy entities list when inter-China shipments of Huawei devices were routed through FedEx headquarters in Tennessee half way across the world!

    So why does Apple trust this company with my products?
  • Reply 3 of 5
    Their use of FedEx for online order shipping is an excellent reason to shop in-store.
    I've had as many bad experiences with that company as good -- and 50-50 is NOT good!

    One expample:   Two years ago I ordered a MacBook Air:
    --   On the day it was due to arrive I stayed home the entire day so as not to miss it.   But, at 6:00pm I got a text saying it could not be delivered because there was no one home!
    I contacted FedEx and essentially got a shrug from them.
    --   On the second day I again stayed home all day and again, at 6:00pm got a text that this time said:  "Could not be delivered due to security at the door".  But, since I live in a single family on a public street that was again a lie.   I again contacted FedEx and this time got an actual response where they shifted delivery from their home delivery section to their business delivery section.
    --  On the third day the MacBook was actually delivered!    "It's a miracle!"

    China threatened to add FedEx to their untrustworthy entities list when inter-China shipments of Huawei devices were routed through FedEx headquarters in Tennessee half way across the world!

    So why does Apple trust this company with my products?
    I believe one of the reasons is how we do business in a covid world. Sure I have had issues also in the past with pretty much every shipping company and the USPS, but these days I have seen a change in delivery drivers attitudes because they realize how much we depend on them. 

    In your case, I hope you followed up with FedEx and Apple had a long conversation with a higher up to explain your experience.  Sometimes that helps, especially with shipping carriers when they hear how bad their experience went. 

    Apple pays a lot of money to FedEx and UPS and when you complain to them about the shipping experience, they usually follow up with the carrier which makes them nervous because they know Apple can change carriers on a dime which they have done during several product launches. 

    My last tip is to get to know your local delivery drivers. Give them a gift card for food or coffee or something they can grab on their route. It makes a big difference, especially when we are headed into holiday season and they are going to be swamped. They remember that gesture and go out of their way to make sure you get your package or they hide it pretty well so it doesn’t get stolen if you’re not home. One UPS driver hid a package in the bushes and it took me a while to find it, but I appreciate his effort in protecting it from theft. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 5
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,472member
    The two Apple Stores located in St. Louis, MO within easy driving distance from me have been closed since March and show no signs of opening any time soon.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    iOS_Guy80 said:
    Hmmm. Surprised they didn’t start doing this a lot sooner. The coronavirus has certainly changed the way businesses conduct business.
    Probably two reasons:
    1. Stores were already pretty crowded and busy back then.
    2. Cost per square foot made this unreasonably expensive.
    This shift seems to be Apple making lemonade. Nice to see they're shifting nimbly.
    edited October 2020
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