Apple has offered the ability to reserve a time slot in a given day to help with repairs and other service questions at its physical retail stores for years, and now it’s expanding the same idea to help customers shop for products.
As first reported by 9to5Mac, Apple is rolling out something called “Shop with a Specialist”, which works in a similar way as booking a time to have an Apple-branded product serviced or meet with a customer support specialist regarding a particular topic. It’s a new one-on-one service that will let would-be customers meet up with the specialist at the Apple Store closest to them, browse products, and, ultimately, purchase something if they want to.
This is probably something Apple should have launched quite some time ago, and will hopefully stick around well into the future even if things do go back to “normal”. However, as noted in the original report, this new element to shopping at a physical retail store is due in part to the way that stores have had to change their in-store procedures in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now, with a limited number of customers allowed into a store at any given moment, wait times to get in (at the stores that are still open!) can be considerable.
Now, with this new appointment feature, a customer can simply carve out a specific time of day and get one-on-one help with a product they are interested in. No need to wait in line.
Now, one thing to keep in mind as Apple continues to evaluate shifting conditions in states where the company has physical retail stores. If Apple has re-closed a store due to COVID-19 concerns, then you will not be able to make an appointment to shop with a specialist at this time. However, if you do have a store near you that is open, you can use the official Apple Store app, search for your local store, and then reserve an appointment to shop.
This is a nice element to the shopping experience at an Apple Store, and hopefully Apple doesn’t get rid of it in the future.