Thoughts on Apple Watch vs retail

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by sualpine, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. sualpine macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2013
    I have some thoughts on the Apple Watch and the retail experience when buying/selling one. Disclaimer: I am not an Apple employee.

    1. The watch distracts from knowledge of Apple. The Specialist role has been demeaned by the customer watch try-on process. What I mean by this is a Specialist used to be about knowing Apple products inside and out. Not just about the computers, but convincing you why you needed to buy a new copy of Mac OS X. Why buying a Mac is worth it for owning an iPod. What iMovie and iDVD could do. I remember when a Specialist needed to explain to me the differences between Tiger and Leopard, etc. Now they can't even tell you that HFS+ is the file system. All of these detail oriented processes and knowledge-based interactions with Specialists have now become 100% dumbed down. This trend is going to get worse when a Specialist now spends 50% of his or her time simply helping a rich person try on a Watch instead of knowing the details of every product. It would be like a BMW salesperson only knowing about the Z4 instead of the M5.

    2. The "try-on" experience is dehumanizing. Where the Specialist role used to be about sharing the experience of Apple, it's now about helping rich people try on jewelry. I watched an interaction at my local store, and the specialist looked like a full on servant/steward when helping an old man put it on. He literally put the Watch around the man's wrist. When did working at Apple become being a peon? Something intangible about that put a nasty taste in my mouth. I had a fleeting thought of Bob Cratchit and Scrooge. Of course Apple has always been expensive, but Specialists were never forced to lose their dignity.

    3. Apple is not incentivizing Specialists to care about the Apple Watch. This is happening because despite the Watch needing a purpose to sell, and Specialists needing to convince you why to get one, many of them won't own one themselves. Why? They simply aren't paid enough. And Apple is only giving a 50% discount. How are your Specialists supposed to care about selling something they can't enjoy themselves? It really irks me that Apple simply assumes that a couple of hours of training is all it takes to launch this product that is entirely new in both category and interface and design. Specialists not being able to afford the watch adds to the servant feeling by the way.

    4. The joy of launches is gone, because launches are gone. I understand Angela is new, but I cannot support the way the new MacBook and Watch launches were handled. What is the point of opening 500+ stores in the US when you aren't going to launch your products in them? How are your employees supposed to actually enjoy the Apple Watch when they aren't going through the most exciting times of the role? Any Specialist will tell you that the time you enjoy the most is a launch. That has been taken away from them on top of everything else.

    tldr: Specialists are now underpaid servants that handle jewelry they can't afford to help rich people and don't even get to enjoy a launch when doing it.
  2. adammull macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2009
  3. Scott-n-Houston macrumors 6502a

    Apr 27, 2008
    Houston (duh)
    I miss iDVD!
  4. Defender2010 macrumors 68030


    Jun 6, 2010
    I think you are an "irked" specialist. Sure sounds like it, given the statistics u are quoting....or perhaps you are just an "irked" customer who makes up statistics.
  5. Brianhyp macrumors newbie


    Apr 21, 2015
    Brea Ca.
  6. makotoisle macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2012
    2. I don't understand how a specialist is losing their dignity by helping somebody try on a watch. Can you explain what is dehumanising about this?

    3. I think a lot of specialists don't have the watch because they aren't readily available yet. How many specialists have the newest iPhone on release week?
  7. iEric007 macrumors regular


    Jan 29, 2007
    Orange County, California
  8. countingtozero macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2013
    As a specialist I can say that the role has changed. But the customers have changed and their needs from the store have changed. Look at the revenue share for all the products. And look at how that related to our product knowledge. We can tell you lots about the iPhone because that's 67% of our revenue. In contrast, 1/2 our team wouldn't know what iWeb is. But that's because all the teenagers wanting iPhones, all the old ladies getting iPads to keep up with the Jones's, all the business people keeping their lives organised on a MacBook don't need to know about intricate back-end stuff. Apple is about selling accessible solutions that are fun to use.

    And the once a week we get some cocky "back in my day" ass who just wants to flaunt his knowledge we can hand them over to one of the Experts. Because that's what their role is for. It keeps them happy, and we don't have to deal with someone who's idea of making themselves feel good is trying to catch out an everyday specialist on their obscure knowledge. However, in reality all they're really showing us is how much they just don't get what the store is about and what we do.

    Also, Watch launch was the most fun time I've ever had at work. Not just for Apple, but for any business. It isn't dehumanising asking if I can place a watch on someone's wrist. It's exciting. Its a chance for me to share the excitement and love that I have for these products with someone else. And it's such a good feeling seeing the delight on their faces as they get to try on all the various bands and play with the demos and have every question they've wondered answered. They feel special. Especially that weekend I had so many customers coming in sceptical and almost attitudy, and left enthusiastically saying "thank you" and shaking me by the hand like they really meant it.

    We are loving Angela's new way of service. It's right for this product. And the NPS shows it, the customers love it too.
  9. Robert M. macrumors 6502a

    Robert M.

    Jan 4, 2010
    Helping someone put on a watch is dehumanizing? That's the silliest thing I've heard on here in a long time. Tons of jobs require you to help/touch other people.

    They help the customer put it on because they don't want them to drop it.

    The specialists were already serving the customers. How is that anymore dehumanizing than working in retail in general?

    Sounds like you just think you're personally above that.
  10. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    So from what I can tell, apple sales reps, or as you call them specialists, tend to make well above minimum wage. From what I've heard, the benefits also tend to be good.

    I don't expect a 'specialist' to convince me to buy an Apple product, if I'm going into an Apple store to buy something, I already know what I want pretty much. Also, I think it is very hard to make a job out of retail unless you shoot for management. Many people in retail are there for a jumping point or a waiting point while they go through school.

    So I don't hold Apple sales people to be in higher regard than anyone else in similar positions, such as Best Buy sales people.
  11. Xenious macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    Texas, USA
    Our try on experience was pretty fun. My wife is the real people person and wanted to get a feel for the watch. The wait time was minimal and everyone that helped use was having fun. The Apple specialist had trouble sizing the link bracelet due to her longer nails and we all had fun working together to help.

    If one considers the "wait in a long line" the fun part of Apple launches then yes that was gone, but the overall experience (aside from still waiting to get my ss link ;) ) was great and left us feeling pleased with the purchases and excited about the new tech.

    tldr; constricted supply sux but the try on experience was great
  12. Bo31210 macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2015
    Macon, GA

    Excellent point and thank you for what you do I had a very good time and learned a lot at the Try On and the specialist I dealt with was very well versed with the product. From my understanding, Apple is a good company to work for.
  13. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Don't underestimate a 50% discount. That's $175 for the Sport, and $325 for the stainless steel with a leather or Milanese Loop band, which is not bad at all. I think lots of employees will take Apple up on the offer.
  14. sualpine thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2013
    You do not see the difference in social dynamic between handing someone an unopened MacBook box and letting them open it vs them sticking out their wrist and you place jewelry around it?
  15. HarpuaPerk macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2015
    As a customer, he echoed my resentments to the "try-on" appointment. I felt more like one of the cattle being moved through a heard instant of the bull who runs the show. Stop standing over me and let ME put the watch on.

    The whole "put your wrist out, ok, now turn your wrist so I can clasp it for you, dummy" routine made me feel unpleasant. Especially for an introvert.

    The company is losing that smooth edge without Steve.
  16. sualpine thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2013
    You are not going through a launch. Not even the MacBook was launched.
  17. sualpine thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2013
    Not a Specialist, but you didn't have any purposeful response, so it doesn't matter any way..
  18. makotoisle macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2012
    No, I don't. In both cases, the specialist is there to serve the customer, which they are doing.

    And anyway, whenever I buy something from the Apple Store, the specialist always offers to open and set it up for me. I don't think I've ever just been handed a box and sent off.
  19. sheldomacrumors macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2014
    United Kingdom
  20. countingtozero macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2013
    Maybe a "launch" to you means getting a box day 1. That's not what a launch is for us. A launch for us is getting bombarded with new training material, coming in at 7am for multiple training sessions and exercises, watching keynotes over and over again to absorb every detail, observing excitement gather as not just fanboys but everyday people start to ask questions more and more, then the late night meetings start to happen and the Angela videos get more specific, then Back Of House start receiving mysterious packages that get hidden away, then there's figuring out the logistics of the multiple planogram updates and implementing them when time is not on our side, then "how the **** do we get the tables in to the store", then there's learning how to image the devices and assemble things, then pulling two all-nighters back to back and getting 4 hours sleep before coming in to work and sharing all the excitement with the customers, getting a little high on caffeine and sugar from all the food management has bought us to keep us going through the long hours.

    Maybe you didn't get your package on the 24th, so maybe that doesn't feel like a launch to you, but this seriously has been the best launch ever for us. Customers are excited! You know what I was doing all day on iPhone 6 launch? I was selling two iPhones each, no personal setup or even a conversation, to Chinese tourists who brought along their entire family to go back to China and scalp them for a profit. The excitement of lining up for an apple product was gone years ago since the scampers moved in.

    A launch is exactly that. A launch. Not an "everyone gets it on day 1". Sorry you are disappointed but apple is doing everything they can, and the NPS is still showing customers are loving the experience.
  21. sualpine thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2013
    A launch means the product is being sold in an Apple Store at 7AM on a Friday morning with lines and clapping and bottles of water and tshirts. Apparently you can kiss all of that goodbye.
  22. countingtozero macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2013
    for once specific type of customer. Try working for Apple and find out what a launch really is. Launch starts months before a "launch day" and goes on for months afterwards.
  23. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
    I wonder how many Specialists are reading this thread, thinking about their NDAs...

    Also, iWeb is a discontinued product. It isn't necessary to know what it is.

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