To make spending up to £13,500 on a gold Apple Watch Edition feel as special and individually tailored as possible, Apple retail stores will treat these customers differently to those buying the cheaper aluminium and steel models.
Having hired sales and marketing staff from Yves St Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Burberry, Apple is positioning itself as the seller of high-end fashion as well as consumer technology, and has trained staff accordingly to deal with the demands of high-worth customers. Every potential Watch Edition buyer will be given up to an hour of one-on-one time with a member of store staff, who will take them on a "journey" through the buying process.
According to sources speaking to 9to5Mac, Watch Edition customers can skip all queues and see dedicated Edition sales staff immediately. They will get 30 minutes to try on the gold wearable - compared to just five to 15 minutes for buyers of the aluminium Watch Sport and stainless steel Watch. During this half-hour, customers will be allowed to compare two models of Watch Edition at a time, but to lower the risk of theft, sales staff will only offer a third comparison depending on how busy the store is. Non-Edition models can be brought over on a special 'caddy' by store staff if the customer wants to compare these too.
Not all Apple Stores will stock the Watch Edition range, but if they book online a customer can have the watches couriered to their local store for inspection.
A special station and chairs will be installed in each store selling the Watch Edition, separate from the rest of the shop. The stations will include a demonstration kit holding the watches and a try-on mat, like those found in jewelry stores. Once the customer has spent up to 30 minutes trying on the Edition, they will be shown accessories and given the option of having their watch set up there and then, or via a new online service called Virtual Personal Setup.
The setup service will be available to both Watch and Watch Edition customers. It allows them to set up a video conference from home with an online Apple Store employee to learn more about the watch, either before or after they have made the purchase. Those unsure about which Watch to buy can have the employee try on different models to see how they look on their wrist. Once bought, customers of the Watch and Watch Edition will be given free access to a dedicated phone line for two years offering technical support 24 hours a day. By purchasing AppleCare+ this is upgraded to three years.
The Apple Watch can be tried on and pre-ordered from 10 April at Apple Stores and new boutique stores-within-stores - such as one in Selfridges, London - before going on sale on 24 April. The entry-level aluminium Apple Watch Sport starts at £299, while prices run up to £13,500 for the most expensive gold Watch Edition.