An all new Apple retail store app is coming on Thursday, and with it will come two major changes in the way Apple customers interact with the Apple Store.
According to BGR, the new app will bring easy in-store pickup of items ordered online as well as enable customers to purchase smaller Apple Store items without ever having to talk to an Apple Store employee.
First, the in-store pickups. We've already seen a little bit of this in select stores in California and New York. It allows customers to make Apple purchases online, and pick up their merchandise the same day in the Apple store of their choice (considering it's in stock, of course).
The new retail app for iOS will aid in this process, as it opens up to more stores on Thursday.
If a customer orders a product online or from the retail app, they will be able to pick it up in 12 minutes. Yes, apparently there will be a 12 minutes guarantee. Why 12 minutes? Well, 3 minutes for the order to go through + 2 minutes for the back room guys to grab the merchandise + 7 minutes for everyone to get everything perfect.
If an item is not immediately available in the store, a pick-up date will be given to the customer immediately following their purchase. Anything shipped to the Apple Store for pickup will have free shipping.
Customers who use the in-store pickup option on online purchased items will be given full priority inside the store - that means they skips lines and just grab their stuff and go. Apple looks to make this service as smooth and painless as possible.
You will also be able to return products shipped to you via online purchase to Apple stores.
As far as part two of the new retail experience goes, customers will be able to make their own purchases inside the store. Say you want to buy a new case for your iPhone 4S; you'll be able to load up the new retail app, snap a photo of the case with your camera, and it will charge the purchase to whatever credit card is linked to your Apple account.
Then you just walk out of the store, no questions asked. Will this lead to an easier shopping experience? Or widespread theft? This sounds like an awesome new initiative for Apple, but there is definitely some room for abuse.
What do you think about Apple's upcoming retail offerings? Let us know in the comments.