Apple ditches retail push for Apple Watch, switches focus to online

Reviews for the watch have been mixed
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Those waiting to get their hands on the anticipated Apple Watch today will have to order the shiny new device online instead.

Although many will be able to try on the watch in store, they won’t actually be able to walk away with one on their wrist.

It seems that Apple wants its customers to purchase the device online only, to help avoid disappointment with stock shortages in store and the ridiculously long queues the company saw when the iPhone 6 launched last year.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior VP of retail and online stores, said in a memo for Business Insider: "The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers.” 

Customers can pre-order the device as of today, with delivery expected in up to four to eight weeks.

There are also pop-up shops dotted around the UK, in Cardiff, Cambridge, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Reading to name a few.

PCR spoke to a spokesperson at the Selfridge’s pop-up store in London, who informed us that customer’s needed to book an appointment to have a look at the new device, where they would get about 15 minutes with an assistant.

This new approach may however, have a detrimental effect on the High Street, as new research from YouGov suggests that wearables are forcing potential owners to shun the High Street in favour of buying online.

The Wearables Tracker study by YouGov found that 62 per cent of wearable owners bought their device online, with Amazon seeing the most sales with 31 per cent.

Russell Feldman, director at YouGov, said: “As wearables increase their scope to include the likes of rings, jewellery and accessories, retailers will have to answer a simple question: "Where should they put them in the shop?

“Unless these questions can be answered definitively and in a unified way across retailers, consumers could end up shunning bricks and mortar retailers out of sheer confusion.”

Although this may be a significant problem for bricks and mortar stores, the workplace could start to see a rise in wearables.

According to a report released by Tractica, more than 75 million wearable devices will be deployed in work settings by 2020, including smart watches, fitness trackers, smart glasses and even smart clothing.

Apple’s Hong Kong store in Causeway Bay also opened today, but only a handful of customers queued up to try on the awaited watch.

According to SCMP, one customer revealed that he didn’t need to queue up for very long and that there weren’t many people inside.

Meanwhile, various reviews have been cropping up all over the place, which have been mixed to generally warm.

Nilay Patel from The Verge has praised the new device, stating that it is the first smartwatch that can become mainstream, while The New York Times revealed that the watch is ‘bliss, but only after a steep learning curve’.

However, David Pogue from Yahoo has noted that the watch is overpriced, while Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff revealed: “Everything about the Apple Watch whispers craftsmanship.” 

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