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back to article Apple fanbois get app to summon store staff

Cutting right back on the annoying wait for human interaction while in a shop, Apple stores in the US are test-driving an iOS app that lets fanbois hit a button to alert store employees that they want to talk to them. It should shave seconds off the whole "approaching a store employee and making eye contact" process. iPads with …

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Er... we already have those

Have been in theCovent Garden and Regent Street stores since May.

http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/apple/apple-updates-retail-experience-with-new-in-store-ipads-958374

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WTF?

This has been available in Meadowhall in the UK pretty much since they started using iPads as infocards? Bottom-right 'tab' - request an advisor?

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Mushroom

Overkill?

Isn't that a bit over the top? Our local B&Q has managed this for years with a simple button, no iPads needed.

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Anonymous Coward

Not really; if part of your business is selling the devices, surely "eating their own dog food" by using them in-store for this purpose is sensible marketing? Horses for courses; anything more than a button would outfox most hairy-arsed builders.

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Anonymous Coward

no playmobil reconstruction?

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Silver badge

Just how big are these apple stores that the employees cannot see potential wallet-emptying opportunities walk in through the door?

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Joke

You are forgetting..........

Apple store staff would never do anything as crass as approach a customer, you must be shopping in all the wrong places :-)

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Coat

I guess so, I get nothing but dealspam from Amazon, Ebuyer et al.

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FAIL

The stores have a tendency to be insanely busy, and they've mostly dispensed with the traditional cashier. So you have to get the attention of a store employee who is probably tied up helping somebody else (do something time consuming) in order to find out who to pay today for an item in hand - which may or may not be the person you're talking to. So yes- it is a real problem.

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FAIL

and they've mostly dispensed with the traditional cashier

These are shops, right? Getting rid of the place where you pay is pretty stupid...

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While I can't claim to be a regular visitor to Apple stores, any time I've been there has always been an excess of "Geniuses" desperate to help. Even when the store is "busy"

Or maybe they're just Fanbois paying homage by wearing blue t-shirts.

Mind you, I've never been in the queue the day a new product is released, the very time when a Fanbois would be there to spot just how insanely busy the place is.

Instead of an option on an iPad to request help, wouldn't it be better to have an electronic queue that you could join from your iPhone as you walk in? ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Well I suppose it avoids having to fit RS232 ports into the store staff's skulls and stimulate their pleasure centers directly.

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surely a simple COOOEEEE or Oi over 'ere bud, would be simple enough, or is actual social interaction and traditions a bit much for apple store goers!

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Silver badge

The problem is that your typical Apple store will have masses of people in it, and every blue-shirt will already be talking to a customer. If someone is already talking to the person you want to talk to, it's considered rude to interrupt them.

This system allows them to provide a way for someone who can't find a drone to talk to a simple way of requesting assistance, which makes them feel empowered, and less likely to wander out the store taking their £1500 with them. Probably won't help them get a blue shirt to talk to any quicker though.

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Happy

What a shocking idea...

Would you walk into Westminster Abbey and shout "Oy.. You in the frock"?

Please remember an Apple store is a place of worship. One must use the appropriate means of registering an iRequest to be attended by one of the vestal virgins. This is a solemn ritual, and must be done with the appropriate sense of occasion.

Or an app.

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Anonymous Coward

Make it idiot proof, for your customers!

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Gimp

Make it idiot proof...

And someone will make a better idiot.

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I like the direction they are heading with this, but can we have a no thanks I'm just looking app. Which does the exact opposite and ensures that The staff don't come to you. Many Thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

Can it automatically select the hotest member of staff available?

And maybe sub options for whether you want either a grungy one, a nerdy-looking one or one with a low-slung-pants penguinesque swagger?

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Trollface

"The iPod Touches carried by staff also allow them to process transactions: according to the NYT story they are outfitted with credit card readers, a bar code scanner and a battery pack"

What, problem with battery life, or a battery pack to assault the customer when they ask for a Samsung Galaxy.

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High tech help

Sounds like a high tech version of what you can find in the big home stores - a switch activated flashing red light to request help from the elusive orange-aproned clerk.

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Trollface

Looking forward to a busy hour at the apple store, walking around different products pushing the assistance button and wandering off to the next item.

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Facepalm

"These are shops, right? Getting rid of the place where you pay is pretty stupid..."

Stupid? Apple's approach saves on precious floor space and turns every member of staff into a walking checkout. It would make allocating commission a lot simpler too.

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WTF?

Bah!

Walked into Apple's Oxford St store, went to where the tills used to be so I could buy exactly what I wanted, a 15" MacBook Pro, then found they had gone! So I asked and was told I had to find a member of staff who was not talking to a customer already, a bit like hovering round a hip crowd trying to join the conversation at a party, and hope that they would be finished soon. Of course, all the other people doing the same thing got served before me, the bastards!

Really, really pissed me off and I said as much to the guy I eventually spoke to. He turned out to be the section manager and seemed surprised that anyone didn't like it.

Apple must have trialled this and got it working, so I must just be a crumbly old geezer with out-of-date ideas!

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iDefector?

If Apple are serious about increasing market share, then a similar app for Android, Bada or Windows Phone would make more sense.

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M7S
Bronze badge

"You're not a current customer....

....so we dont want your money as much as someone who's already become an initiate"

Unusual customer relations approach to say the least.

Usually once you're hooked, they ignore you in favour of new blood.

Perhaps Apple have something else to teach us, unless it is just trying to make it seem all the more of an acheivement when you finally break through, so that you're even more determined to stay on the inside.

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Angel

Can I choose which dashing employee I summon..? ;D

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Anonymous Coward

Once upon a time

.. I went into a store to buy a laptop. (I'd already done my research in advance, and knew exactly which one I wanted and that this store had the best price on it.)

The only store assistant present was keeping an eye on a group of schoolgirls who were pissing around with some mobile phones.

I caught her eye, and she called across, looking down at me through her nose and smirking arrogantly, 'I'll be with you in a second, I'm looking after some customers.'

I replied, 'No problem, I can wait. By the way, I'm about to spend £1,000 with you.'

'Ahh...' she exclaimed, as she immediately abandoned the schoolkids and rushed over to me, continuing obsequiously, 'how may I help you?'

Got an app that can do that?

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