Apple Expanding 'Express' Retail Store Setup That Offers Safer Purchase Options
The Express store format features a wall built around the front of the main Apple Store with temporary sales counters that are protected by plexiglass, similar to a bank. There are shelves of accessories behind store employees, and customers can pick up items at stores after ordering online, or talk with Apple's staff for help.
Apple has been using curbside pickup in some areas where there are serious coronavirus outbreaks, but Apple's retail chief Deirdre O'Brien told Reuters that curbside pickup doesn't work well in shopping malls and downtown shopping centers where the "curb" is far from the store location.
For these situations, the Express format is preferred. Apple has been testing it at 20 stores in the United States and Europe, and is expanding it to 50 by the end of the month.
"It's a swifter way for us to serve customers," O'Brien said. "It allows us to maintain all the appropriate social distancing and maintain all of our health protocols within our stores."
There's no specific list on Apple's site with stores that have the Express setup, but one of the first stores to get the new setup was Apple Burlingame in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Throughout the pandemic, Apple has been closing and reopening stores as needed when cases in a particular area spike. Apple stores that are reopened have cleaning and social distancing policies in place and require customers to wear masks and get a temperature check before entering the store.