In a bid to make customer experience better, Apple launches new way to shop online for iPhone with assistance from a live specialist. The service is called “Shop with a Specialist”, and it offers customers in the U.S. a live video shopping experience directly from the apple official website apple.com.
The live specialist will help them with their online shopping to give them the best possible experience such that it almost beats being there in person.
Customers will be able to browse the latest iPhone models, compare features, and have an Apple Specialist answer their questions and help them find the best deal through the Apple Trade-In program or their carrier using the free service.
According to Apple, customers can also learn more about the iPhone’s specific features, switch to iOS in general, and compare different phones, colors, sizes, and more. The service goes live today, coinciding with the release of the new yellow iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.
Though live video shopping has struggled to gain traction in the United States, with even Facebook and Instagram exiting the market recently, Apple’s decision to put retail specialists online is part of a larger shift at the company to direct more consumers to its e-commerce website to complete their purchases. Customers no longer queue at Apple stores on the day the iPhone is released, as many consumers now shop and place pre-orders online. However, by not going into the store, Apple is missing out on one of its key specialties: the high-touch customer service provided by its retail specialists.
Apple says its new live shopping experience will be available on its Apple.com store website at apple.com/shop/buy-iphone and will be available every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT in the United States. The Apple specialist will be on camera and sharing their screen during the live video session, but they will not be able to see the customer. They can assist with a variety of questions, ranging from technical specifications to deals to the various financing options provided by Apple, and more. At launch, customers in the United States will be able to receive up to $600 in credit toward the new iPhone 14 if they trade in an iPhone 11 or later through the new service, the Apple Store app, or an Apple Store location.
The new service builds on other existing Apple customer support technologies, such as the ability to talk to a real person to get help troubleshooting tech problems via the Apple Support app, which acts as an online extension of the Apple Genius Bar.
The launch comes at a critical time for smartphone manufacturers, as new reports show that last year’s sales were the lowest in nearly a decade, or 11% lower than projected for 2021. Though Apple led in shipments in the fourth quarter, Samsung outpaced it for the year with 257.9 million shipments and a 22% market share, compared to Apple’s 232.2 million and 19% share.
According to the same Canalys report, Apple ended the fourth quarter with its first-ever double-digit decline in sales due to Covid restrictions on its Chinese manufacturing facilities and weaker demand. It’s no surprise that Apple is now juicing sales not only by introducing a new color iPhone in the middle of the iPhone 14’s selling cycle but also by introducing a new way to shop for iPhone.
We know that, in the future, Apple will extend the Shop with a Specialist feature to its other flagship products besides the iPhone.