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Apple Revolutionizing Retail

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the slick-very-slick dept.

Businesses 418

conq writes "BusinessWeek has an interesting blog entry on Apple's 'iPod Express table', where they streamline the sale of iPods in their store. From the article: 'But the best part was that the Apple Geniuses behind the table had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards, and Apple had worked out a totally wireless, paperless checkout process, called EasyPay. Once scanned, they advise you that the receipt will be in your inbox within an hour (since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information).'"

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Can't they just guess (5, Funny)

oc-beta (941915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359184)

That I want to order one, and ship it too me? 1984 style!

Re:Can't they just guess (2, Interesting)

penguin_asylum (822967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359277)

That'd be double plus ungood.

I see how this is an interesting concept, and maybe leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but unless an ipod is the type of thing you buy every couple of days on a whim, it doesn't seem that useful...

the most you're probably going to get is one a year; you really don't need everything to be completely streamlined.

Re:Can't they just guess (1)

ibookman (789770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359451)

I bought my first iPod yesterday. It was actually quite nice considering the store was packed with people at the time and I was able to walk out with my brand new iPod in less than five minutes. Try that at BestBuy or Fry's Electronics.

Re:Can't they just guess (2, Funny)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359303)

you're blow up doll is on the way sir. double plus good!

suck it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359191)

my slashdong that is

Doesn't bother me (1, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359193)

I know it should but apple doesn't seem like the company that i would worrie about doing this.. they seem to do things right and treat their customers with respect..

Honestly i like the idea.. it seems like a great way of doing biz

Re:Doesn't bother me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359240)

You should worrie more about your atrocious spelling and grammar.

Re:Doesn't bother me (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359330)

I'm now where near that trusting of Apple (or any corp), but if this system allows me to avoid a little kid trying to get me to buy a 3 year-extended warrenty on a pencil and then hands me a 30ft long receipt (when only buying a pencil), then sign me up!!!! You can have my info, if you save me from that crap. (Best Buy you annoying bastards!!!)

Re:Doesn't bother me (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359458)

I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut. I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. Man, I'll just give you money, then you give me the doughnut. End of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I just can't imagine a scenario where I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. Some skeptical friend: "Don't even act like I didn't get that doughnut, I've got the documentation right here. Oh wait, it's at home, in the file... under D... for doughnut".

-Mitch Hedberg

Coincidence? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359207)

One of the earlier inventors of computer-type devices was Alan Turing. A homo. And most Mac users? Coincidence? I think not...

So Slick Mistakes Could Conveniently Happen? (0, Redundant)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359214)


'But the best part was that the Apple Geniuses behind the table had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards, and Apple had worked out a totally wireless, paperless checkout process, called EasyPay. Once scanned, they advise you that the receipt will be in your inbox within an hour (since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information).
Whoa! What next? Anticipatory purchasing?

"Here's your iPod yocto, we knew you were going to buy it when we announced it."

Let's count the days until some skunk claims Apple's EasyPay violates their patent, shall we?

Re:So Slick Mistakes Could Conveniently Happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359321)

"Whoa! What next? Anticipatory purchasing"

Amazon has probably already patented that :)

Re:So Slick Mistakes Could Conveniently Happen? (1)

TheOtherAgentM (700696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359334)

Apple has created their own version of the department store perfume people. Instead of spraying you with perfume, they can just throw an iPod into a bag for you and ask if you want to ring it up or shop some more.

Re:So Slick Mistakes Could Conveniently Happen? (1)

mymaxx (924704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359335)

Actually this does happen. I used to be signed up with a BMG mail order music company. You had the opportunity to decline the favorite CD of the month or else they would automatically send it to you and charge you.

Re:So Slick Mistakes Could Conveniently Happen? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359399)

Actually this does happen. I used to be signed up with a BMG mail order music company. You had the opportunity to decline the favorite CD of the month or else they would automatically send it to you and charge you.

This is how Columbia House used to behave (they still may, but I haven't bought anything from them in ages.) You took all those little stamps in ads, 12 CD's for 1 cent, then agree to by 4 more over the next 2 years are regular prices, which were much higher than any local store would sell them for. Once a month you got the club selection in the mail and if you didn't send it back they charged you for it.

Eventually I picked out a few from a catalog and finished the deal and closed my account, or so I thought, until a bill for 23 cents arrived in the mail(!) I sent them a check.

this is all very off-topic. (3, Informative)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359529)

The 12-for-a-penny music services like BMG and Columbia House were still not a terrible deal, back in the day. Even with the overpricing and handling fees of 'regular price' discs, after your contractual obligations were out of the way it still only worked out to $7 or $8 per CD.

The main drawback of the system, assuming you remembered to decline the club selection when you didn't want it each month, is the main drawback of iTunes Music Store and the like today: many popular acts are simply not available. Good luck finding The Beatles or Metallica anywhere but at your local brick-and-mortar CD store, for instance.

What is next (2, Funny)

sterno (16320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359395)

What's next will be that software will come with your computer even if you don't need it or want it. You'll pay for it when you pay for the computer, even if you don't need it. Oh... wait, nevermind, Microsoft beat them to that one.

Re:What is next (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359426)

What's next will be that software will come with your computer even if you don't need it or want it. You'll pay for it when you pay for the computer, even if you don't need it. Oh... wait, nevermind, Microsoft beat them to that one.

Maybe they'll pull one of those moves where an upgrade is necessary to buy the latest iTunes download and OOPS you can't use it on your old iPod so you'll need to get a new one. Good thing they make shopping so easy...

best part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359215)

But the best part was that the Apple Geniuses behind the table had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards...

No, the best part is that I was sitting out front with my wifi sniffer gathering all that credit card data...

Wow (1)

Shadikka (876072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359216)

EasyPay, EasyGo?

Blast it all to hell ... (1)

thaerin (937575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359223)

I didn't get my patent through in time! Oh well, Bezos likely has something similar sitting somehwere on his shelf.

Sing it with me (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359225)

Do you have concerns
For your privacy
In this modern age
Of technology?
With corporations
Buying your souls?
Well push those worries in a deep dark hole!

Cause Apple's doin it, and they're okay
They'll treat your information right every day
Yeah, Apple's doin it, so it can't be wrong
And that's the end of my stupid song.

so whats up wtih all that ngaa stuff? (0, Offtopic)

computadorka (758235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359226)

ngaa. lol ghey

Bah (2, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359229)

Apple had worked out a totally wireless, paperless checkout process, called EasyPay.

You know what's easy? I hand you money, you hand me the product and receipt. If you want my personal information, buy it. Wouldn't it be great if we all went back to that sort of system?

Re:Bah (5, Informative)

CokeBear (16811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359255)

You still have that option. Just walk to the back of the store with your wad of cash (try not to get mugged on the way) and you can happily pay in any denomination of legal tender. No personal information required.

They are just trying to find a way to reduce the lineup at a busy time. Is that such a bad thing?

Re:Bah (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359299)

nah. whats bad is i bought an iPod service agreement using this 2 months ago and still haven't received my receipt. that was my attempt at saving trees. never again until they can prove that it actually works.

Re:Bah (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359306)

You still have that option. Just walk to the back of the store with your wad of cash (try not to get mugged on the way) and you can happily pay in any denomination of legal tender. No personal information required.

But they'll still pester me for that personal information, as well as the personal information of every last person in line ahead of me and I'm a crotchety old curmudgeon. Bah!!!

They are just trying to find a way to reduce the lineup at a busy time. Is that such a bad thing?

I must have missed the part where I said it was.

Re:Bah (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359394)

But they'll still pester me for that personal information, as well as the personal information of every last person in line ahead of me and I'm a crotchety old curmudgeon. Bah!!!


Ah, but if you get in line, I sneak over and play in your yard. Ever think of that one?

Re:Bah (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359364)

"[...](try not to get mugged on the way)[...]"

'Cause those Apple Store clerks sure are dangerous!!!

ooooooooo :)

Re:Bah (1)

lowid (24) _________ (878977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359473)

It was a giant swarm of graphic designers - they took my money, my clothes... I was lucky to escape alive! Apple stores are FRIGHTening...

Re:Bah (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359444)

> Just walk to the back of the store with your wad of cash (try not to get mugged
> on the way)

You're already getting mugged if you're paying full price for an iPod. If you don't want to get mugged after you've left the store, try replacing the white earphones/cable with slightly less conspicious black ones...

Yea but then..... (1)

Slugster (635830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359487)

...they get you with the warranty info.
There is no escape.
~

Re:Bah (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359256)

Nah. That would make it harder for the government to track criminals and terrorists.

Don't you like your money to be safer (i.e. not as stealable as cash) than your personal information?

Re:Bah (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359372)

Just how many times are people going to the apple store to buy a $200 to $500 product that it really benefits them to take the time to put in their information to make checkout faster?

This might make sense at a grocery store or gas station where you go back often and buy small things. Even then I would rather them not know who I am because they just don't need to know.

Re:Bah (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359435)

Then wait in the normal line with everybody else.

The easypay line was an OPTION to help handle the extra traffic for the holidays. Some folks are willing to give up an email address for the convenience of skipping the big line for the short, streamlined, grab-your-ipod-and-go line. It's still your choice, so quit your bitching.

Apple Stores (5, Informative)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359231)

Apple Stores seem to always get it right in general. I'm talking about the official Apple Stores here. For example, my partner had to get a minor problem fixed on his PowerBook. He showed up at the Genius Bar, they took it apart in front of us, fixed the problem, and we went on our way. They never once asked for a receipt or any other form of identification. No hassles at all, no proof of warranty, nothing.

Re:Apple Stores (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359265)

Good luck trying to do that at any of the large populus Apple stores like SoHo in NYC. The Genius Bar is booked all day, forcing you to make an appointment online in advance.

Re:Apple Stores (2, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359266)

Those days are gone, though. The Genius Bar proved popular enough that they needed to create an electronic queue, so now when you want their help, you must first sign up for a spot in line on a web browser using... your Apple ID.

Re:Apple Stores (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359288)

Heh,
never been to the Genius Bar in Soho, NYC eh? Used to be 1 -2 hour wait was minimum. Now I think you even need to make some sort of apointment....
Don't know how that store is run now, as I was send screaming from there several times. It is a mob scene on normal shopping days.

Re:Apple Stores (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359358)

Genius Bar in Soho, NYC ... used to be 1 -2 hour wait was minimum. Now I think you even need to make some sort of apointment.

It's not just huge metro areas like Manhattan. The Apple Store in little ol' Delaware usually has a long wait at the Genius Bar too unless you make a web reservation in advance. To be sure, this EasyPay is designed to keep things flowing in the store and thus give patrons a more positive feeling about Apple Stores than the impression of them being a "mob scene". Speaking for myself, I tend to avoid stores/restaurants/etc. where I know there will be lines and confusion. I'm not British; I'm not good at queuing. ;-)

-Kurt

Re:Apple Stores (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359353)

"my partner had to get a minor problem fixed on his PowerBook."

Was that before or after he rammed his cock in your ass?

Re:Apple Stores (-1, Flamebait)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359431)

It was before I rammed my fist in your ass AC.

Re:Apple Stores (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359381)

The Pittsburgh (Shadyside) Apple store has helped me out exactly once in person, when I asked for a replacement rubber foot for my PowerBook. All other times they've merely acted as a conduit between me and Apple support centers, often with a wait of 30-60 minutes.

Reportedly you get better service if you buy "ProCare," which is $100 on top of the $350 Apple charges for AppleCare to begin with. "Good" service doesn't come cheap I guess.

Re:Apple Stores (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359485)

Hmm. They handed me a new iPod after I explained how I'd broken mine by whacking it into a desk, and I didn't pay for no ProCare.

Re:Apple Stores (3, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359398)

Apple Stores seem to always get it right in general. I'm talking about the official Apple Stores here.

Hmmmn,

I think maybe that the Ipod Express tables did not work out quite as well as expected [ifoapplestore.com]
the iPod Express purchase counters were marginally implemented, while the portable check-out devices rated even lower on a useability scale.
Sounds like these are about as user-friendly as quicktime is (if you want to use other media players as well)

As plenty of others in this thread have pointed out, the genius bars (god what a horrible name) are no longer as fast or friendly as your rose-tinted memories.

streamline? (3, Insightful)

engagebot (941678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359232)

I will say i've never been in a brick-and-mortar apple store (not one in my area), but is it really cumbersome enough trying to buy something from them that they need a specific 'express lane' for buying ipods?

Re:streamline? (1)

3770 (560838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359300)

I admit it. I'm an iPod fan-boy. And as such I've been in the Apple store shortly after releases of iPods quite a few times and the demand for the newly released iPods are just insane. If they can speed up that process then that's good for both the customer and the store.

Re:streamline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359327)

Um, have you ever been out shopping around Christmas time in the US? Complete insanity. iPods being the biggest Apple seller during the holidays, they roped off the area in the stores where you'd usually go help yourself to an iPod and put some helpful employees there to take your order, grab your items, take your payment, and hand over your stuff. As far as I know, this isn't a permanent solution, it was just put in place for the holiday rush. This had several benefits - it was easier to get your iPod than pushing through a gaggle of people all standing in front of the shelves trying still trying to figure out what they want, if inventory was low on a given model there was no fighting for it as the employees where handling the items themselves, checkout was faster for both the people coming in only for an iPod as well as the other customers who didn't have to wait for 50 iPod purchases in front of them in the regular checkout line, and with the slick setup they make their customers feel special which garners more positive feelings for Apple and helps to further the great "iPod experience", in this case right from the moment of purchase.

Seriously, were you just looking for some round-about way to dig at Apple?

Re:streamline? (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359515)

Seriously, were you just looking for some round-about way to dig at Apple?
Um, didn't you know, that like bands, tech companies cease to be cool once they have a sucess... Apple is no longer thought of an an underdog (with the iPod) amd as such is no longer cool!!! Pretty soon Apple will be hated like Microsoft and maybe google!!!

Cumbersome isn't the issue (5, Interesting)

Elfich47 (703900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359351)

I was in a brick and mortar Apple store during the cristmas rush. Alot of people were just coming in for iPods. So anyone who wanted an ipod went to the ipod kisok in the apple store and were taken care of there. I saw two Customer Reps at the time and they were working through customers very fast. The line was 6-8 people deep but I would swear the wait was under ten minutes for any given people.
Normally the Appple store in my area is fun to browse, wander thorugh and try things out. It was designed so people can browse without feeling crowded or harried. Converting one of the sidewall sections into a dedicated sales point for a high volume product makes perfect sense to me.
Because of the ipod specific section, the rest of the store retained its charm and usefulness, i.e. there wasn't a swarm of people all over the store asking "Where do we get ipods" interfering with people who wanted to buy other things (computers, cameras, software, etc etc).
Thought of another way: It was a clever form of crowd control to keep the store manageable.

Re:Cumbersome isn't the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359511)

I bought an iPod nano for my wife this christmas and while the Apple store was very nice it was also comical. This store is in a very large mall and none of their wireless gear worked inside the mall. Even though none of their handheld devices or the iPod Kiosk worked they were still required by Apple to try three times for each customer. They handeled the situation well by setting up a traditional register for the iPod users and getting us through but I felt so sorry for them.

You told an employee that you wanted an iPod they got it out of the cabinet and then said I can ring you up right here. They pull out the little wireless regiter run the credit card three times then say oops! not working come over to this register. If you went to the Kiosk you walked up stated the iPod of desire then watched as the register did'nt work then were let back to the front of the stoer to be checked out traditionally.

It was a mess but it was handeled cheerfully and efficiently given the circumstances. I wonder how many other stores had the same issues.

Re:streamline? (1)

sulam (817303) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359469)

Some products take a lot longer to purchase than an iPod does. For instance, if you're buying a new G5 or Cinema Display, they don't just have piles of em sitting at the register waiting for you to show up. On the other hand, the iPod lines _did_ have just that, and I'm sure the people buying iPods (all 10 bazillion of you) appreciated the courtesy of not having to wait for a customer to get their G5 moved from the back storeroom before you make your 6 oz purchase.

Other stores I've dealt with which have this problem (e.g., IKEA) seem to have a two-step process where step 1 is that you make your purchase and receive a claims slip of some sort. You then take the claims slip to a shipping/receiving type department which fulfills your order. I've been to 4 or 5 Apple Stores in the Bay Area, and none of them have the kind of room you'd need to set this up. They tend to be fairly light density for retail space as it is, and trying to add an area for dealing with bulky merchandise post-purchase would probably kill space they're using for something else major, like software, the Genius Bar (great service!) or like the one in SF, a mini-theatre with live presentations of various software products running on MacOS X.

Re:streamline? (1)

JRock911 (848012) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359527)

It can be. Usually they only have 2-3 people checking out in the front and if you get behind someone with a large order, you could be there quite a while. I also can see where this could really speed things up when you're trying to get an ipod on events like a "no tax" weekend. Last "no tax" weekend, I stood in line for 3 hours to buy a Mini. The guy behind me was after an Ipod, which was not elibible for "no tax" and had to wait the same amount of time.

Considering how much of the Apple store's sales are probably iPod versus PC and other components, I think it's a really good move.

Easy way to get even more in debt (0, Flamebait)

Nostrada (208820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359234)

Exactly what we need, a quicker and even more painless way to add charges on our credit cards for stuff we don't really need. But of course the idea is sweet.

Re:Easy way to get even more in debt (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359357)

Oh, sure, next you'll tell me that I don't need my DVD player. Then my TV. After that, you'll tell me I don't need my computer, cell phone, or designer clothing. Pretty soon you'll have me buying absolutely nothing.

Then what will I do to feel happy, Mr. Smarty Pants?

Security of CC number (5, Insightful)

ibennetch (521581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359237)

So how secure is the encryption? I'm not sure I want my credit card number floating around in the clear, and while I imagine Apple did it right, the article mentions that he thinks this should be the future of all business transactions. I don't trust the local mom&pop bookstore to have their encryption together. On the other hand, if it's going to be some black-box solution that's actually set up right out of the box, it's kind of idiot proof, no?

The idea of having no reciept until I get home doesn't bother me, although what happens if they enter the email address wrong for new customers? A mis-type of the associate and all of a sudden you can't return your new toy if it doesn't work?

Re:Security of CC number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359524)

we had for a long time in france. Most (if not all) of the cc terminal in restaurant and such are wireless. They don't have to bring them back to the docking bay for the transaction to occur.
Never heard about a security flaw on those.

Hackable? (3, Interesting)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359238)

"since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information"

But I am sure the guy who cracks their wireless encryption will love it when he gets your email and other information... along with your credit card numbers.

But seriously, "all paperless" that can't be good. I might be old school but I like a papertrail when giving someone my money.

Re:Hackable? (1)

wdd1040 (640641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359379)

But seriously, "all paperless" that can't be good. I might be old school but I like a papertrail when giving someone my money.

Why can't paperless be good? I am an architect for the wireless infrastructure and citrix systems in a paperless hospital.

We take your information at the bedside, wirelessly. Keep your records solely digitally. We also bill you digitally and give you a receipt if you request one. Even your signature is captured once, digitally.

We comply with HIPAA and have more security than most engineering firms I've worked for.

We use WPA2 Enterprise and SSL tunnels to Citrix farms, and WPA2 Enterprise / SSL in all of our handheld barcode perscription scanners too.

Re:Hackable? (1)

tholomyes (610627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359408)

Yep, that's officially old school. I got tired of paper, paper everywhere, and now for the majority of my bills, I just get a reminder in my inbox that they're online. My bank statement is online. And I just save copies of my receipts as PDFs. Not only is it easier to file away, but it's also easier to search through if the need arises.

Besides, the money is mostly a digital concept anyway, since you're just moving bits from your account into theirs. It's not like it's truly backed by silver or anything. Unless your money is old school, too.

Re:Hackable? (5, Insightful)

DECS (891519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359456)

Yes, panic because WPA might be snooped, recorded and the encryption hammered off at an off site super computer by a l33t haxxor.

Or you can panic because, for the last 40 years, paper copies of your credit card transactions, with your signature, card number, exp date and purchase details, have always been available to the legions of underpaid service people who handle your retail/resturant/telephone purchases. Carbon copies were often left in the trash.

Seriously, if you think introducing wireless technology to the credit card transaction is opening things up for fraud, you are seriously shroomin. It's already fantastically easy to obtain your information.

But it is entertaining to hear such panic mongering from someone who has undoubtedly made telephone credit card purchases, and we all know how secure the POTS network is.

But not the greatest customer service (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359248)

A friend got an iPod shuffle for a gift last week and decided he didn't want it.

The Apple store wouldn't accept the return. It was sealed, clearly hadn't been touched. But the store employees just said "Sorry, we don't accept on those things".

Which goes to show, even Apple doesn't want the shuffle.

In the UK (1)

sheppos (633308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359254)

Bars and restaurants mostly use wireless devices now for taking card payments. I don't know how secure the wireless actually is, but I'm sure it's being mandated by the credit card companies and at least some of the risk is mitigated by the fact that it's done at the table and you never lose sight of your credit card.

That's the way to do it!! (5, Insightful)

Aaron32 (891463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359260)

It's great to see that someone is finally doing it right!

The key to success is to make it extremely easy for your customers to do business with you. Get 'em in, get what they need, and check 'em out. Happy customers = high profits.

I am very impatient when it comes to poor customer service. I have walked across the street to another electronics store when some stupid clerk said "Uh, only one guy has the key to the hard drive cabinet, and he's not around right now."

See ya... taking my business elsewhere then.

Never got a receipt. watch out (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359261)

I purchased a 4gb nano from the apple store here in San Diego (Fashion Valley). Quick, Easy, and paperless. Problem is that I never received a receipt via email. Be sure that they READ BACK your email address if you go this route.

Hell of an idea. (2, Insightful)

shadowkin (863961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359274)

Make it so someone picks one up, and is checked out and gone within a few minutes. Less time for them to be standing there thinking about the purchase, therefore more likely for them to make the buy on an impulse.

Pay no attention (4, Funny)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359276)


Pay no attention to that van across the street with the dish pointed at your store....

great.. (0, Redundant)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359284)

had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards

A little off topic but...

Just the type of technology we need to fall in the hands of corrupt employees. Because people using their camera phones to snatch people's credit card info wasn't enough.

Re:great.. (1)

tholomyes (610627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359460)

Or handing your credit card to the waitress to take off to the other room and do god-knows-what with it! Oh no!

Just carbon-copy paper or even a pen and paper coupled with your credit card can be trouble in the hands of a corrupt individual. The technology really isn't the problem here. In fact, since it's not using RFID or anything to look for the card itself-- presumably it needs to be swiped-- I would say this is probably more secure, since there's less chance that the employee even sees the credit card information for more than a brief moment, and the entire transaction takes place right in front of you.

Re:great.. (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359505)

yet another "oh noes fear teh technology" post. get a clue.

you should worry more about employees being so bored they don't even check your details than being so enthusiastic they'll break the encryption and/or modify hardware to steal a number they could get just by opening their eyes (and all the time working under a false identity to avoid being traced).

Better yet ... (1)

thaerin (937575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359286)

... why don't they just hook up a wireless brain scanner at the door? That why by the time I've made my way to the counter or nearest agent, they've already charged and bagged the product I had planned to come in and buy. They could also hand me a map and directions to the next store I had on my agenda.

In other news (-1, Flamebait)

The Hobo (783784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359302)

Apple revolutionizing retail by forcing stores to sell all their products at very specific (and high) prices, who needs competition!

Seriously, what other company could get away with this?

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359440)

So, you're most likely just trolling, but just in case...

What are you talking about? You're completely OT - we're talking about Apple's own retail stores that're owned by Apple themselves, and a slick system they put in place in those stores during the busy holiday season to make life easier for the people that chose to shop there. Do you care to elaborate on your statement?

Re:In other news (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359503)

Seriously, what other company could get away with this?

Are you serious? The answer is: lots.

Any high-end jeweller or fashion icon: Prada, Gucci, Victoria's Secret, etc.
Any high-end stereo maker: Bang & Olufsen, Denon, etc.
Any high-end car maker: BMW, Mercedes, Acura, LEXUS... hell, even Saturn

Seriously, Apple has always tried to create a 'high end' in personal computers; whether or not you think they were successful is a matter of opinion, but the brand recognition alone is definitely in the Top 10 Brands worldwide. Something to consider.

Other online-to-brick retailers (0, Offtopic)

engagebot (941678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359311)

I guess this is not sooo different from how other online fronts of the regular retailers work. You can go to bestbuy.com and not only order something, but see if its in stock at the nearest store, plus have it ready to be picked up in no time. When you arrive at the store, they see the record on their machine, and you walk out with your item. The only difference with apple is that 1)the apple guy does the purchase for you in the store instead of you at home 2)your account info is not previously saved in one all-encompasing account.

That's all good and well but... (1, Insightful)

NCTRNAL (780392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359315)

I have to admit, Apple has it so right when it comes to customer astonishment. Unlike a certain competitor that is located at a certain Pacific Northwest location, Apple listens to what people wants and delivers something even better than what was asked of them. Microsoft makes it one way and forces you to live by their standards. Sorry, but I have to go with Apple every time

Re:That's all good and well but... (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359422)

I can buy thousands of computers that run Windows. I can buy, what, eight models that run Mac OS X?

I can buy thousands of MP3 players that play the 50,000 songs I rent for $5 per month or the 50 songs I bought for 79 cents each. I can buy three MP3 players that play Apple's music and video downloads.

How exactly is Apple more consumer friendly?

(Before you start calling me a shill, I own a PowerBook and an iPod. I'm just curious about how you say Apple is any nicer toward the consumer than Micro dollar sign oft.)

Re:That's all good and well but... (1)

NCTRNAL (780392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359526)

Hey, I understand where you are coming from. Let me give you a little background into me.

At home, I use 9 PCs, they include:

Domain Controller, File Server, Backup File Server, Web Server, Development PC, Media Center, Gaming PC.

I also have a PowerMac G3 and a PowerBook G4 12". For ease of use, simplicity, etc, I always use the Macs when possible. I rarely get frustrated with them and they JUST WORK. I have always found PC-based support, shopping and products to be a dime-a-dozen. When I go shopping for Mac products, it is an experience that I just cannot put into words. I work in a service-oriented industry and I also have a side business which I have built off nothing but referrals. No advertising, no business cards, etc. I know the power of good service and when I find it I stick with it.

I have also been in the computer industry long enough to be able to bypass some of the usual crap when it comes hardware, software, etc. I am not 110% dependent on the kid at Fry's, CompUSA, etc to help me with my purchases. Having said that, I make it a point to educate myself on how to run a clean OS. I don't need to spend 200$ on spyware, antivirus and pop-up software to help my PC stay tidy. The fact that Macs don't even have those problems out of the box is another huge selling point.

I have also owned 4 iPods this year alone. I started with a Mini, then a Shuffle, Nano and now a Video iPod. I have been a Mac convert for only about 11 months now.

I hope that better explains my point :)

Not so new (5, Insightful)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359319)

Apple Geniuses behind the table had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards

WOW! Re-vo-lu-tion! You mean like the ones waiters in Europe have been using for *ages*?

It's actually kind of nice because they do not take your credit card back to the register. They swipe it at your table and hand it back to you.

Re:Not so new (1)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359512)

Bingo. They've had exactly this system at my local car wash for years, as well.

er? (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359324)

This isn't all that bright, on either party's side.

From the retailer perspective, a client can *always* claim to have never received the reciept, and that their invoice was deleted in the computer. Mistakes do happen, and no retailer in their right frame of mind would think that they will *never* lose an invoice.

Many retailers calculate nightly sales, etc, but do NOT include customer names in their nightly book-keeping reports. Regardless of the reality, customers do not trust computers to never, ever lose data (a bit of tounge in cheek here). A store can lose invoices, and still balance their books.. but where are you if you didn't receive your invoice (and it slipped your mind that it was being emailed to you).. and you need to return the unit 3 weeks later.. or a year later.. and perhaps the store doesn't even exist any more!

From the customer side, I have to say.. are you nuts? Buying something, with no proof of purchase?! Heck, you could even have problems getting out of the mall!

Re:er? (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359445)

Since I have yet to see this system in action (but plan to go to an Apple Store today or tomorrow incidentally), I cannot definitively refute this critique, but I do imagine the store would provide a paper receipt to the customer if so requested. This wireless scheme is being used to make purchases happen more quickly for the convenience of the store and customers. You do have a valid point about the possibility of the email getting misrouted due to a variety of possible causes (mistakes in email entries at the counter, spam filters, etc.), but while it's quite conceivable the customer's copy could get lost Apple's pretty proficient in its customer data management. Plus, I imagine an iPod or other product purchased in this manner gets logged as an online Apple Store purchase would, so the customer would have easy access to the receipt online as well.

Re:er? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359494)

thats only a problem with cash purchase. Which I believe does generate a perper reciept.
Your cashed check, or credit card statment will act as a proof of purchase as well.

"Heck, you could even have problems getting out of the mall!"

Good point. If security stoped me(and they would have to do a pretty good job becasue I don't stop just becasue they ask)
they would need to go all the way back to the Apple store, who would have to verify that the items identification number had indeed been sold to me.

Jedi Mind Trick (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359325)

> Apple had worked out a totally wireless, paperless checkout process, called EasyPay.

Wireless sniffer software: free as in speech
Pringles can: $1.59
parking spot downtown: $6/h
iPod: $100
Rest of my Christmas shopping: priceless.

> Once scanned, they advise you that the receipt will be in your inbox within an hour (since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information).

Since I'm not already a registered Apple customer, any clerktrooper asking me for my email, snail address, or any other data not required to complete the transaction when I try to purchase products gets the old Jedi Mind Trick: you place an appropriate number of Federal Reserve Notes (or other bits of nicely-decorated paper) in your hand, wave your hand in front of the clerk, and you say "You don't need to see my identification".

If it works, the clerktrooper realized they're more interested in the pretty paper in your hand than the toy - so you leave the paper behind and walk out with a shiny new toy.

If it doesn't work, you keep the pretty paper and leave a confused clerktrooper holding the toy.

It's a self-reinforcing system. The Empire demands that clerktroopers ask for identification -- but clerktroopers who follow orders and resist the Jedi Mind Trick ultimately find themselves scheduled for termination. The tighter the Imperial grip, the more sales slip through their fingers.

Great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359340)

Now they just have to, you know, set some standards for the people they hire to work at the store. With all the piercings and the anti-dress code, I can't tell who works there and who's just another Linkin' Park mall-rat.

No More "Waiter, Check Please"? (1)

theodp (442580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359345)

Restauranteurs, please take note!

Trackback now! (2, Interesting)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359368)

Speaking of anticipatory reactions...

Sometimes it didn't work as well as advertised. [ifoapplestore.com]

But yes, they're going to tweak it and use it anyway. [businessweek.com]

Was this present at all Apple Stores during the holiday season? I seem to have completely missed it.

It works really well (0, Redundant)

cpn2000 (660758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359378)

I went to an Apple store in a neighborhood mall. The queue to the checkout couter was at least 15 people long. Then I saw this dude standing behind a make-shift counter with a hald held scanner like device in hand, and a mountain of iPods behind him.

I was out of the store with my iPod nano within minutes. When I got home my credit card reciept was already in my inbox.

Apple Stores Suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359385)

Nice advertisement for apple, but reality does not match your story. I went to the apple store near me the other day, and the employees were snobby and unhelpful. I watched a woman try to return a defective product, and then watched fascinated as the employee tried to claim there was absolutely no way the product was broken, because it was an apple product, and then tell her her problem was she needed 2 more products to make it work right. I intervened eventually, after seeing just how far the apple "genius" would take the scam.

But seriously folks.... (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359391)

...the busy holiday season aside, is it really that important to reduce to mere seconds the time it takes to purchase a high-tech high-sticker gadget by dispatching a platoon of wirelessly-networked sales associates? C'mon, are you rushing to catch a plane?

What makes sense for Avis at the airport doesn't necessarily work in all retail settings.

Re:But seriously folks.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359462)

let say there are 25 people in front of you, and this system saves 10 seconds.
Now thats 4 minutes of your time it has saved.
This means shorter lines, which usually equates to more customers.

No Time to Reconsider... (1)

yobtah (16795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359400)

I noticed a similar thing while "buying" an episode of Lost from iTunes recently. This does streamline checkout and decrease wait time in a physical store (not sure about the same benefits for iTunes). I don't think that's Apple's primary reason for doing it, however. I think the main benefit for Apple is elimination of the buyer's chance to reconsider the purchase.

Customers are buying expensive toys they don't really need. The last thing Apple wants is a bunch of customers deciding against the purchases while standing in line or while providing credit card info.

Re:No Time to Reconsider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359499)

I think that's complete BS. I was at the Apple Store in San Diego over the Christmas season and there were so many people in there that the lineups for the checkout were 20-30 people deep. Even with 3 cashiers going full tilt it was a LONG wait. No time to reconsider your purchase? Just the opposite - with so many people in line you had nothing BUT time to reconsider your purchase.

So when this employee says you can zip past the line if you're paying with a credit card if getting an e-reciept was acceptable to you I jumped at it. I was out of there in 2 minutes instead of 15. And by the time I got to my computer there was an email from Apple with the reciept.

The only "personal information" that I gave them other than my credit card was my email address. Personally I thought this was a great service to be providing during the busiest time of the year when people have MUCH better things to do than be standing in lines.

Amazing But True (1, Informative)

diorio (244324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359406)

I was talking with the sales guy there and saw the hand held device.....it looked strangly WINDOWS. He told me that it was and they took a couple months before they could get the START button removed. Also the windows serial number sticker was removed off the back.

There is no hiding from it!

Re:Amazing But True (4, Interesting)

Mean_Nishka (543399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359436)

I can confirm for a fact that the devices are indeed windows. I had a similar conversation with the kid at my local Apple store who also confirmed the device was running Windows CE/Mobile (or whatever they call it these days). He did qualify his answer by saying the thing would lock up constantly :).

Just you wait (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359429)

since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information
Joe McCarthy: Are you now, or have you ever been a registered member of the Apple customer base?

This would make me nervous (3, Insightful)

Lxy (80823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359437)

I have a problem with leaving the store without a receipt. E-mail isn't the most reliable medium ever, and a simple mistype in your e-mail address means you don't get the receipt for your product.

There are other ways of verifying purchase, but nothing beats having a paper receipt when returning/exchanging items. Especially if it's a gift for someone.

My Patent! (-1, Troll)

waif69 (322360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359465)

Oh, I'm gonna have to give Apple a good going over. They stole my patent!

Attention Apple Fags! (0, Troll)

Asshat Canada (804093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359484)

The Gay Apple Geniuses are implementing the same system to wirelessly pay for homo handjobs at the local public restroom! No more fumbling for crumpled $5 bills by the hazy light of your hashpipe cherry!
Here's to the ten-percenters everywhere!

Apple Geniuses (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359495)

That's a litle presumptuous, isn't it?
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