Secret shipments on old Russian military vehicles, covert operations, and secret shipping plans – sounds like a scene from a James Bond movie, right?
Actually, it is just one of the ways Apple gets their iPhones into the United States. According to an article on Bloomberg, a complex shipping process had already been put in place before they announced the new iPhone lineup earlier this week.
From the article:
The process starts in China, where pallets of iPhones are moved from factories in unmarked containers accompanied by a security detail. The containers are then loaded onto trucks and shipped via pre-bought airfreight space, including on old Russian military transports. The journey ends in stores where the world’s biggest technology company makes constant adjustments based on demand, said people who have worked on Apple’s logistics and asked not to be identified because the process is secret.
The multi-pronged operation has been built up under Cook, who oversaw Apple’s supply chain before being tapped as Steve Jobs’s successor in 2011. Getting iPhones seamlessly moved from factories to customers is critical for the Cupertino, California-based company, which derives more than half of its annual revenue from the flagship product. Apple also relies on a sales spike after a product’s release. It sold more than 5 million units in the debut weekend for the iPhone 5 last year.
“It’s like a movie premiere,” said Richard Metzler, chairman of the Transportation Marketing and Communications Association and a former executive at FedEx and other logistics companies. “It all needs to arrive at the exact same time everywhere.”
What originally began in 70 stores will now be expanded to a total of 200 in the near future. According to an article on RIS News, shoppers scan items on their iPhone as they are shopping, seeing a tally of their total purchase, and are able to bypass the checkout line when they are through shopping.
From the article:
The pilot began near its home office in Bentonville, Arkansas in late 2012, then expanded to Atlanta, and recently rolled out to 40 stores in the Denver area. While the program is tripling in size, for now it will only be in a fraction of Walmart’s more than 4,000 U.S. stores. “Scan & Go” will be expanded to the following territories:
· Denver, CO
· Phoenix, AZ
· Omaha, NE
· Dallas and Austin, TX
· Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK
· Bozeman, MT
· Seattle, WA
· San Jose, CA
· Portland, OR
“We want our customer feedback to dictate the experience,” said Gibu Thomas, senior vice president of mobile and digital at Walmart Global eCommerce this week. “You’ll see this roll out to more markets.”
Currently, the “Scan & Go” app only works on Apple devices, but according to the retailer an Android version will be released soon. With more than half of its shoppers using smartphones, Walmart is trying to make shopping more convenient for shoppers embracing mobile technology. According to Thomas, more than half of the customers that have the “Scan & Go” feature have used it more than once.
Staples, the world’s largest office products company and a trusted source for office solutions, today announced a new mobile app that brings easy to customers’ iPhones. The new Staples iPhone app makes it easy for customers to research and shop for everything they need for their small business or home office, whether on the go or in a Staples store.
The new app makes cross- channel shopping easier, allowing customers to get the best of the Staples.com and in-store shopping experience. Customers can quickly access rich product information and ratings and reviews while in-store, or find the nearest Staples store with the specific product they need by using the app’s store locator and inventory check feature. In addition, the app provides more ways to save via its store check-in feature which offers special coupons and promotions when a customer enters a Staples store with their iPhone.
“Staples understands the importance of allowing customers to shop where, when and how it’s convenient for them,” said Steve Bussberg, senior vice president, Staples.com. “Whether it be in-store or on-the-go we know that more and more customers are turning to their mobile devices. Our new iPhone app makes the shopping experience even easier at Staples.”
Based on direct input from customers, the new app is designed to meet the needs of small businesses. The app makes it easier to find and buy the right ink & toner and order most frequently used items with a smart list builder. In addition, customers can opt to receive Staples Rewards alert messages when they earn new Rewards or have Rewards that are about to expire.
A version of the app for Android mobile devices is under development and will be available soon. Staples’ overall mobile experience also includes a mobile version of Staples.com.
Apple is aiming to make its retail store experience even more convenient with the launch of a new Apple Store iOS app.
The new app, due Thursday, will let you purchase items for in-store pickup and self-checkout at Apple Stores, reports Boy Genius Report.
The addition of in-store pickup isn’t exactly revolutionary — other retailers like Best Buy already offer it — but according to BGR, Apple’s approach will be far more streamlined than its competitors. Apple is aiming to have orders ready 12 minutes after you make a purchase in the app, after which you’ll be able to stroll in, skip registers, sign for your order, and leave.
If you order an item that isn’t in stock, the app will tell you when it’ll be available and will also send you a push notification once it’s ready for pickup.
In addition to using the app, you’ll be able to ship items to Apple Stores when you purchase them online. BGR’s sources say that Apple Stores will prioritize customers who’ve ordered from the app or its web store, which could help to reduce the amount of foot traffic at its retail locations. Apple will also let you return items purchased online at any of its stores.
Apple also seems to be entering some bold new retail territory with its self-checkout option. You’ll be able to walk into an Apple Store, pick an accessory (more expensive items won’t be available for self-checkout), scan the product with your phone (I’m assuming you’re scanning the bar code), and walk out the door. BGR says Apple won’t be checking purchases when you leave, but I have a feeling that won’t last for too long.
[via Venture Beat]
Manhattan’s getting close to having another "Big Apple."
The enormous Apple Store in Grand Central Terminal is set to open in time for Black Friday, and could possibly open sooner, a source told 9to5mac.com.
The store, Apple’s fifth in Manhattan, will be one of the company’s biggest in the world, taking up some 23,000 square feet in the highly trafficked terminal. (Up to 700,000 commuters trek through every day.) The deal was finalized this summer.
Apple — which certainly has no shortage of cash — will pay about $1.1 million in the first year of its 10-year lease, with the rent increasing every year. The deal was first announced this summer, with construction estimated to take 120 days — putting a November opening date right around schedule.
Apple’s not the only new tenant for GCT. Everyone’s favorite stand-in-line-for-an-hour burger joint Shake Shack is also moving in. Its lease, which also runs 10 years and increases yearly, starts out at $435,000 plus a share of profits.
The MTA declined to comment. Apple didn’t return calls.
[via AM New York]