Apple is testing a new store format designed for quick and easy online order pickup with security in mind. The concept design promotes Apple’s comprehensive response to COVID-19 and can help effectively serve customers in a busy upcoming season with launches of new products.
The Apple Burlingame in Burlingame, California is the first place to control what Apple calls “xpressExpress”, a simplified version of the Apple Store experience that looks like a bank call window. Apple has separated from the entrance to the store with a temporary wall, wooden tables and plexiglass screens to serve customers at. Two sets of shelves show popular accessories that can be purchased.
The retrofit fixtures are made from base materials without the normal level of Apple polishing, but the customer experience exceeds what Apple has been able to offer at many store locations reopened for curbside use or by appointment only. Customers with existing online orders can simply go up to the counter and pick up their purchase. Genius Bar deals are served at another counter. Only one customer per. Counter is allowed at the store entrance and walk-in shopping is not available at this time.
Apple has quickly transformed the Apple Store experience since the pandemic occurred by first closing and then opening almost all of its stores at least once this year. While just under three-quarters of Apple Stores in the U.S. will reopen by September 15, many locations remain dependent on service by appointment. In July, Apple rolled out the option of booking a session to shop with a guaranteed one-on-one service specialist is a less crowded environment.
There is currently no indication if more Apple Store locations will be converted to Express Pickup layout to accommodate future product launches. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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