Apple Stores across Canada will finally be receiving the much talked about “iPhone Activation Centers” that have been popping up across USA-based Apple Stores.
iPhone Activation Center
These new activation centers will be a dedicated zone in which Apple customers or just strictly iPhone buyers can discuss, purchase and activate an iPhone just as you would at a typical Rogers/Fido store. The only difference, and it’s a big difference, is this point of sale will have the legendary Apple pizazz attached to it.
The new iPhone Activation Centers will include 2 – 5 computer stations depending on the size of the store and will be located at the front right side of the store entrance. A new class of employee, called “iPhone Experts”, will be managing this area and speaking with customers. This new employee position will have different colored shirts and lanyards from the other store employees so to ensure customers can easily spot the “iPhone Expert”.
The experience provided at these activation centers will be similar to the one provided to customers that have purchased Apples “One-to-One” program. In other words, the experience will be personal and laid back, especially considering that people will be dealing with contract commitments and personal identification information.
Apple is announcing the iPhone Activation Center as being “the best place to buy an iPhone”.
The process works on a reservation system in which you reserve your iPhone online, visit your chosen Apple Store and complete the activation. The core process is similar to what a customer would receive from a Rogers/Fido store except there will be no hard sell or pressure.
The process behind the new activation centers have one key component; the inventory level of the specific Apple Store is directly integrated into the ordering process. This means that when you are reserving the iPhone model online, it is guaranteed to be in the store. Out of stock models will not be selectable through the online portal, so you will know exactly what is and what is not in stock.
The system is also intelligent enough to set aside a number of iPhone models that will be available in-store exclusively for those customers who happen to walk in and want an iPhone.
When you begin the reservation process at Apple.ca, you will go through four steps:
1.) Select the type of plan or just the device alone
2.) Choose the carrier (Rogers or Fido)
3.) Choose the Apple Store, date and time for your personal shopping session (if contract plan chosen) or choose the date and time for when you will pick up just the decide (no personal shopping session involved)
4.) Sign in with (or create) your AppleID
Note: Date and time choice will not be same day. You must choose the next day from a 3-day list.
After you complete the reservation, you will receive an email summarizing your details and also a list of what personal identification is required to set up the plan (if the contract plan option was chosen instead of just the device).
The summary email will also have a free trial of Apple’s MobileMe service. Customers who opt for the service can have their iPhone potential completely setup with notes, calendar events and contacts when they leave the store. This experience is something not offered by Rogers or Fido.
The Best Place to Buy an iPhone
The move to these dedication in-store iPhone centers is focused on Apple’s retail goals of selling more iPhones than Mac computers. The iPhone is their most successful platform and these activation centers is a push toward that goal.
While buying an iPhone at an Apple Store and experiencing the unique personal customer service is fantastic, the unfortunate part is that there are only 13 Apple Stores in Canada. In Vancouver there will be two stores, Pacific Centre and Oakridge malls, which makes travel to an Apple Store relatively easy from all over Vancouver, the lower mainland and cities well outside Vancouver. However some provinces, like Manitoba for example, have only one Apple Store. This makes getting to the location very difficult unless you live near by.
So while the new iPhone Activation Centers are a great move for both Apple and customers alike, there is only a fraction of Apple Stores in Canada when compared to Rogers/Fido points of sale. However, if you are looking for a guaranteed iPhone with a great customer service experience, the trip to your local, or distant Apple Store, could be worth it.
For Vancouver, it is believed that the iPhone Activation Center will be available starting October 1 September 23 at the Vancouver Pacific Centre store and available on opening day of the new Oakridge mall location on September 26.
Look for the iPhone Activation Center coming soon to your Apple Store.