Apple unveils new retail experience for its watch

TechCrunch has a well-illustrated piece on the retail experience that Apple has developed for its watch.

Reporter Darrell Etherington visited the company’s store in Toronto’s Eaton Centre to try on the Apple Watch.

“It’s a new way of shopping for Apple, and one that will clearly take some getting used to both for retail staff and for customers,” he said.

Stores that have the watch now feature a long display case as a central feature. Its main purpose is to show off the various band styles and watch combinations available for order.

Additionally, ‘testing stations’ feature a fully operational Apple Watch fixed to a plastic display case and a screen explaining what’s happening.

Testing stations feature an active, fully operational Apple Watch fixed to a plastic display case and a screen explaining what’s happening.

Testing stations feature working watch and explanatory screen.

So-called try-on stations are where you can get an individual guided appointment.

At each is an interactive console along with a navy blue leather mat that the Apple store representative uses to lay out the various models you’re interested in.

Try-on stations are where get an individual guided appointment.

Try-on stations are where you get an individual guided appointment.

Etherington noted: “Customers kept approaching these tables, and a dedicated staff person had to continually direct them to the non-staffed demo stations in the wings.”

To retrieve a watch, the Apple rep uses his mobile terminal to unlock a drawer underneath.

The watches are housed in “little scooped out grooves”, lined with a soft finish fabric “probably to help ensure their cases definitely don’t suffer any dings”.

Apple rep uses their mobile terminal to unlock a drawer underneath.

Apple reps use their mobile terminal to unlock a drawer underneath.

Etherington added: “During my appointment, the various watches Kevin [the Apple rep] had me use on my wrist didn’t have active software – they were running demo loops that do things like show the taptic engine.

“Kevin opened the drawer at the beginning of the appointment and asked me which bands I thought I wanted to try.

“The bands appear to be organised, with steel link at the top left, leather in the middle and milanese loop at the bottom right.

The bands appear to be organised, with steel link at the top left, leather in the middle and milanese loop at the bottom right.

Bands organised with steel link top left, leather, middle, milanese loop bottom right.

“The try-on was over surprisingly quickly, leaving me wanting more hands-on time with the watch itself, but perfectly confident in my strap choice.

'Clearly, they’re taking a very personal approach'

‘Clearly, they’re taking a very personal approach’

“The most interesting part of the experience might be how Kevin noticed I was wearing a Withings Activité and used that to launch a discussion about the Apple Watch’s fitness powers to start us off.

“Clearly, they’re taking a very personal approach.”

There are only three stores stocking the watch in the UK at the moment, all in London – MacRumours has a list.

Tired of the Apple Watch already? LA’s 7×7 has a rundown of the alternatives.

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