The tech giant's Shop with a Specialist feature will let customers schedule appointments ahead of time to visit an Apple store without dealing with large crowds amid the pandemic, 9 to 5 Mac reported. The company has already been reducing the occupancy inside its stores to help people socially distance. But that has had the effect of making some customers have to stand outside and wait for people to come out.
The solution, Apple found, is to allow customers the opportunity to schedule a shopping trip ahead of time. The feature will allow for them to "comfortably browse inside the store and shop without the hassle of waiting or potentially being turned away at the door," according to the report.
Inside, all of the pandemic-related safety guidelines, such as wearing a mask and undergoing temperature checks, will apply. Those looking to schedule an appointment can open the Apple Store app and visit their local store's page, 9 to 5 Mac reported.
However, several Apple stores are still not open for going inside. These stores are instead operating with curbside pickup or storefront services only. Recently, the company had to re-close almost 100 stores in several states as cases of the virus spiked.
Apple's idea reflects the growing movement of retailers trying to innovate the shopping experience, particularly in the shadow of the pandemic. Now, as PYMNTS reported, companies like Apple partner Tulip are working on new ways of letting customers interact with human employees even as physical interactions become less safe.
Tulip, PYMNTS wrote, is introducing new features Web Chat and Remote Pay. Web Chat allows customers to talk to real store associates through the eCommerce portal, while Remote Pay lets sales associate build shopping carts and organize delivery without a customer coming into the store.