Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Apple Retail Employees Aggressively Pushing iPhone Upgrades

Chance Miller:

A source tells 9to5Mac that this is a new policy at all Apple retail locations. Employees are being instructed to push for an upgrade instead of repairing an existing device. In some stores, the source says, an employee is tasked with pitching iPhone upgrades to Genius Bar customers as they wait for appointments. Other stores have the Geniuses themselves to pitch an upgrade.


First and foremost, pitching users of the iPhone X to upgrade comes across as a desperate move. The device is barely over a year old, and many iPhone X users haven’t even had it for more than a year. Trying to get someone who spent $1,000+ on their iPhone less than a year ago to spend another $1,000+ is a bold move.

Further, many people dread the task of going to Apple stores and many have to drive several hours to do so. The last thing those people want is for an employee to immediately up-sell instead of helping them repair their existing phone. An employee’s first response to my problem shouldn’t have been, “Have you considered upgrading to a new iPhone recently?” It should have been promising to resolve my problem as quickly as possible.

Benjamin Mayo:

The Apple Store is a store. It’s a place to buy something, and a place for Apple to sell something. However, the Apple Store has never been defined by the hard sell. In fact, it boldly fought against it. Apple retail employees have never earned commission because the goal was to give shoppers the right advice, and match person to product based on need and wants, not which one gives the biggest kickback.

These new initiatives to juice iPhone XS and iPhone XR fly in the face of the principled stance Apple has established in the past. Staff advice is distorted by upper management marketing pressure, rather than monetary incentives, but the result is the same for the customer. The advice is currently biased towards hitting Apple’s targets, not what the person walking in the shop really wants.

As he notes, Apple’s rhetoric is increasingly at odds with how the company actually behaves.

Previously: 2018 iPhone Sales.

Update (2019-02-13): Justin Miller:

I have seen this daily for months when I check http://apple.com. It used to be an inspiring place to see what Apple’s stance on tech is. Now it’s a blaring ad to trade in your phone or to act on a limited time pricing offer. Everything above the fold is about selling.

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My memory is that AppleCare and formerly iCloud/MobileMe was a point of emphasis for Apple sales people as well. That was early to mid 2000s.

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