Apple’s retail sales strategy for Apple Watch revealed

Ahead of next week’s Apple Watch event, Apple has begun training its retail employees on how to position the new device to customers. In a new report this afternoon, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman shares 3 key points from their training including key features, iPhone compatibility and style.

According to the report, Apple’s goals in selling the Watch to just about anyone that walks into an Apple Store, especially those that are already interested in it, will be three-faceted: fitness, the iPhone and bands. Apple Store employees will be focusing on the Watch as the perfect companion device for the iPhone, or even as a perfect communication device on its own with another Watch. The fitness aspect will also be a big selling point for the Watch, as has been previously reported on.

The first query is pretty self-explanatory, Apple wants to know what customers have heard about the Apple Watch, what about it interests them, and what do they plan on using it for. As Gurman notes, Apple is operating under the assumption that customers have already heard about the device, and soft questions such as these make for a fairly easy sell.

The second question is also a no-brainer. Customers will need to have an iPhone 5 or later to use an Apple Watch, so if they’re interested in the wearable and have an older handset, this should be a pretty painless upsell. Chances are if they have an iPhone 4s or older, they’re eligible for a carrier subsidy, meaning they’d get a huge discount on the upgrade.

The final discovery point is a bit more complicated. As Apple has said, the Watch is by far the most personal device they’ve ever made, so this is kind of unchartered territory for retail reps. Apple wants them to find out the customer’s needs, tastes and material preferences, and if they’d like additional leather or metal bands to match various occasions. Apple is largely expected to talk more about Watch band availability and pricing at next week’s event.

The report goes a bit further, though, looking into a townhall meeting that was held for Apple employees with Angela Ahrendts last week. There, it is said that bands took much of the discussion’s focus, as Ahrendts talked a lot about accessories and how they’re important moving forward. More than that, it does seem to confirm that Watch bands will be sellable accessories to mix and match as owners see fit. And, again, Ahrendts reportedly talked about some of the changes that could be coming to the Apple Store layout, especially in light of the Watch’s launch.

“Apple has internally discussed new retail store layouts and sales methods in light of the Apple Watch. The company has installed safes inside of Apple Stores to house the more expensive device, while it is also planning to set up new glass-covered Apple Watch display tables similar to those at the device’s unveiling. For the gold model, employees are expected to use a special iPhone app to unlock the table, enabling customers to try on the more expensive watch.“
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