Apple has invested in a range of markets outside of the normal technology scope in the past few years, including healthcare, electric cars and luxury fashion. The latter is the subject of the next big launch, the Apple Watch. The company is currently reformatting the retail experience to match what normal high-end fashion providers would offer, with Apple’s own twist on making the customer happy.
To make sure the Apple Watch is front and center, Apple is even investing in a few stores in the central shopping district in London, Paris and Tokyo. The three stores will only sell Apple Watch units and the experience will be tailored to typical fashion or watch stores.
Customers will be put into queues depending on the smartwatch. Apple Watch Sport customers will get the base experience, a 15 minute test drive with the device, Apple Watch customers will get the same but with added technical support for set-up.
Apple Watch Edition customers will get 30 minutes with the watch and 30 minutes testing out accessories. After the hour, Apple store employees will offer all the help to set-up the smartwatch, alongside online tech support for first time set-up.
Clearly, Apple is tailoring its service to those willing to spend more. We cannot say we are surprised considering the base model is $349 (£299) and the Watch Edition can go for $10,000 to $17,000 (£8,000 to £13,500).
Apple hired ex-Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to work on the retail experience last year. The three stores are part of a global effort by Apple to really push smartwatches into the world.
It is not certain whether all this will be for nothing, since early first looks and impressions of the Apple Watch are less than magical. That said, the iPhone and iPad were put down as terrible devices, then millions of customers bought the device and somehow those reviews and disapproving voices floated away.