This isn’t a new tactic – in fact, Steve Jobs credited Apple Store demos as the key to persuading so many people that the first iPad was something they couldn’t live without. Apple has a history of changing consumer behaviour by creating new devices that are more accessible for the mass market. It also tend to maintain ‘last mover’ advantage, taking its time over new products and identifying gaps in the market not being filled by its competitors.
Because the Apple Watch is so different to anything else the company has ever produced, it too needs the iPad treatment. This is a truly omnichannel approach marrying a concerted digital push with a strong in-store experience – Apple is clearly mindful of the fact that all the beautiful product videos and keynotes in the world will mean nothing if people can’t actually hold it in their hands.
This is a truly omnichannel approach marrying a concerted digital push with a strong in-store experience – Apple is clearly mindful of the fact that all the beautiful product videos and keynotes in the world will mean nothing if people can’t actually hold it in their hands.
Apple took out a 12-page ad in Vogue US and is also experimenting with its in-store displays for the watch as it looks to higher net worth individuals as a key audience. This follows criticism from wealthy shoppers that its stores are too busy – perhaps an argument that Apple has become a victim of its own success. It’s not yet known what these new displays will look like, and it remains to be seen whether those considering their next Rolex will see a smart watch as a viable alternative.
If there is ever going to be a tipping point in the mass adoption of wearable technology, it will be initiated by Apple. The company still has a real job on its hands to convince customers to buy its newest gadget, but it is in a stronger position than almost any other brand in the world and the Apple Watch launch will no doubt be a huge success.
That is in no small part thanks to a best-in-class retail strategy that has been sculpted over many years, putting in-store at its heart and creating the seamless omni-channel experience we see today. Bricks and mortar stores are certainly alive and kicking, and digital natives including Google and Amazon are also following Apple’s success by opening their own physical retail stores.
The two weeks prior to launch will see Apple’s in-store experience come to the fore, and the hands-on time given to consumers will go a long way to convincing a few sceptics to part with their hard-earned cash. On April 24 there will be huge queues at Apple Stores worldwide and the wearable tech revolution will begin.