Apple Stores Won't See 'Major Shift' in Operations After Reopening Worldwide

Apple's retail chief Deirdre O'Brien recently spoke with CNBC's Josh Lipton about the future of Apple Stores amid a transition to a post-pandemic world.

apple store tower theatre
As noted by 9to5Mac's Michael Steeber, June 15 marked the first day that all Apple Store locations were open around the world, as public health restrictions begin to ease in many countries. O'Brien confirmed that all Apple Store locations are now open, adding that more people are getting out and about as life returns to a more familiar state.

O'Brien does not anticipate a "major shift" in operations moving forward, but Apple does continue to offer customers one-on-one shopping sessions with a Specialist as well as Genius Bar reservations at many locations. The retail chief expects Apple Stores to remain a "hub of activity" with free "Today at Apple" creative sessions and more.

Apple has over 500 stores around the world, including a new Tower Theatre location in Downtown Los Angeles that opens today.

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Top Rated Comments

Expos of 1969 Avatar
39 months ago

Hang on... that thumbnail... Is that how US Apple stores are currently operating?! Lmfao.
Yep, only four customers allowed in the store at the same time and they must change into blue t shirts for the full Apple experience.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
39 months ago

Apple is so full of itself. Hire a couple of cashiers and have customer focused service like a real store.
All I’m asking for 1-2 cashier that’s it. No, I don’t need an specialist asking me bunch of questions if I need some accessories or if I want to upgrade… I just want to pay and check out. Simple as that.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PDubNYC Avatar
39 months ago

All I’m asking for 1-2 cashier that’s it. No, I don’t need an specialist asking me bunch of questions if I need some accessories or if I want to upgrade… I just want to pay and check out. Simple as that.
I use the Apple Store app on my phone to buy accessories without any need for an employee. Or at least I did prior to Covid, I haven't been in a store since then. For computers or anything they keep in the back they definitely need some more staff
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tbayrgs Avatar
39 months ago

All I’m asking for 1-2 cashier that’s it. No, I don’t need an specialist asking me bunch of questions if I need some accessories or if I want to upgrade… I just want to pay and check out. Simple as that.
As others have mentioned, the Apple Store app lets you scan and pay for non serialized products all by yourself, without talking to a store employee.

Agreed. Adding a check-out-only function/area while continuing with the specialist's ability to check people out is the best option. It would be a win-win. If I needed consultation, I could get it and buy it without having to wait in line again. If I didn't I could b-line right to the item I wanted to buy followed by the check-out line. Heck, even self-checkout with Apple Pay would be an improvement.
This has existed for a few years already, see my comment above.

That has always worked for me.

If I buy an accessory off the shelf, I present it and my credit card to an associate and he/she completes the transaction.

If I want to buy an MBP I let an associate know, who then messages a stock person to bring it out, and the transaction is then completed.

Easy peasy.
Or just do it all yourself—pay for accessories right through the Store app or purchase serialized products like iPhones, Macs, iPads, etc using express pickup from the store. Show an employee your pickup barcode and an ID and you’re out the door. Way easier than waiting for employee assistance. IIRC, prior to the pandemic, when you entered the Apple Store, if you were picking up a purchase, you could request the store bring your items right in the app—no wait to find an employee to finalize your pickup.

Do you have a personal associate? If not, you must search for one. Not so easy peasy. Going to a cashier location which is clearly marked with signage would be easy peasy. But the horror, signage would ruin the Apple store image. To hell with the poor customers who simply want to hand over their cash for the overpriced accessories in a timely manner and get out of the store.
See previous comments above. Will almost certainly be quicker than waiting for a Store associate or a cashier line to help.

Self checkout for many products (probably only accessories, though) is possible with the Apple Store app!
Exactly.

Apple makes is easier to purchase their stuff than pretty much any other retailer with physical brick and mortar stores. Their stores are crazy busy, always have been and will continue that way because is the popularity of their product. Just use the systems they’ve put in place. Need to make a quick purchase, use the store app. Need some guidance, schedule a one-on-one shopping appointment. Can’t really get much simpler considering the circumstances.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
39 months ago
I hope Apple does something about the Apple stores always being too crowded.

I get that’s what makes Apple stores a special place to hangout but it’s so hard to find a specialist to check out.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Expos of 1969 Avatar
39 months ago

I hope Apple does something about always being too crowded.

I get that’s what makes Apple stores a special place to hangout but it’s so hard to find a specialist to check out.
Apple is so full of itself. Hire a couple of cashiers and have customer focused service like a real store.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)