Your Local Apple Store Has a New Mission: Ship Products Directly to Customers

Your Local Apple Store Has a New Mission: Ship Products Directly to Customers
View of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue on September 28, 2020 in New York City. (Photo: Angela Weiss / AFP, Getty Images)

The global coronavirus pandemic has put a new emphasis on buying online, and Apple has taken notice. Days before the company is expected to announce its new iPhone 12 lineup, as well as many other cool things, it will apparently begin to use its network of nearly 300 Apple Stores to ship products directly to customers.

According to a Bloomberg report, Apple has typically either shipped devices and accessories from warehouses located in a customer’s region or directly from China. This new change means that items that are in stock in Apple Stores will be shipped directly to customers in the U.S. and Canada.

Bloomberg reports that Apple Stores will ship products using FedEx in the U.S. and UPS in Canada. Customers could receive their products as soon as one day after placing their order.

Apple told staff that the new system will mean faster delivery times for customers who live closer to its stores than the company’s distribution centres. Under the program, people who live within 161 km from a store are eligible to have their order fulfilled and shipped by that store.

The company started testing the program in June and July with a small number of stores after locations that had closed due to the coronavirus outbreak reopened, per Bloomberg. Although the number of stores in the program has increased, not all retail sites in the U.S. and Canada are participating.

Even though we’re reporting on Apple’s new fulfillment and shipping program, customers won’t know when their product comes from a warehouse or a store. They also won’t be able to choose where they want their product shipped from. Apple’s team of magic elves, aka its operations team, decides how to fulfil and ship an order.

Apple, which was one of the first retailers to close its stores worldwide due to the pandemic, has closed its locations various times in recent months. In June and July, the company closed stores it had reopened in several states because of a spike in covid-19 cases in the U.S.

Although this is overall an internal logistics issue, it could have some immediate benefits for your average Apple fan. The biggest one: getting the iPhone 12, or whatever new Apple product rocks your boat, as fast as possible.

[Bloomberg]