On April 24, Apple Inc launched the Apple Watch for retail, but customers were still confused as to the exact process of getting their own new Watch. Hundreds of people usually line up in front of the Apple store, some even stay overnight, to be the first to lay their hands on Apple Inc’s latest gadget, but the Watch was marketed differently.
From the very beginning, Apple has been running into trouble with the launch dates of the Watch. When it was first announced last fall, people were expecting Apple’s first venture into wearable tech to hit the shelves by early spring 2015, but delayed shipments overshadowed consumer excitement. The Watch was first put on pre-order on the website and once those reached a limit, that option was removed from the website, earlier this month. Even after the pre-order, there was news of delays and information that customers had to wait another three months before they could get their Watch delivered.
What hit the markets on April 24 was a result of the company’s decision to launch the stock in six fashion boutiques all across the globe in London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Tokyo and Los Angeles. Apple stores are carrying the Watch but not selling them. Apple Inc’s decision to not launch in-stores, for which the company is famous for, has left many people confused. Customers and Apple enthusiasts can walk into Apple stores and get a “Try-On” appointment for a special fitting. A sales associate will be there to answer questions, but one cannot buy the Watch, just try it.
It is only at these six boutiques that customers can walk-in and buy their Watches, but the sale is limited to a Watch per person. Maxfield, the Los Angeles store had a very limited selection of just one loop and three different colors of the Watch. The Dover Street Market in London was selling the Watch and in Tokyo, it was a branch of the Dover Street Market. Bic Camera and Yodobashi, two other electronic stores in Tokyo also had the Watch. Colette in Paris, The Corner in Berlin and 10 Corso Como in Milan were the other location for the Watch. According to the latest news, the Milan store might not really have the stock as a tech blog, 9to5 is reporting that Apple contacted an Italian-language tech blog and told them that 10 Corso Como will not be selling the Watch. Despite the confusion, most stores sold out quickly, but the Apple Watch gold edition is being sold only at the Dover Street Market store and they have split their 920 watches among their two stores.
Watch shipments are expected to hit other countries soon; these nation’s include Australia, China, Canada and Hong Kong. However; Angela Ahrendts, Apple Inc’s retail chief, said that the demand for the Watch exceeds the supply and this is why the Watch will not be available in other stores soon. On Wednesday, Apple also released a statement that the customers who ordered online might get their Watch’s sooner than promised.
Reactions to Apple Inc’s latest marketing move have been varied, as some people are questioning whether Ahrendts’ marketing campaign is not being elitist. Neil Cavuto, from Fox Business, writes that Apple Inc’s watch rollout is not only confusing, but is also making people feel as if they are not cool enough to own a Watch. “…The more I see these Hollywood and music-mogul types donning these damn things on their wrists, the more I want to get my hands wrapped around their throats,” said Cavuto. Despite all this, Daniel Ives (an analyst at FBR Capital Markets) predicted that more than 20 million Apple Watches will be sold by the end of this year.
By Anugya Chitransh
Photo by Ryan Ozawa – Creativecommons Flickr License