The 2018 iPhone Release: A Retailer’s Dream or Backlog Nightmare?

It’s your choice.

It’s no surprise that the latest iPhone launch has consumers clambering to their cell phone dealer to ensure they can get their hands on the newest Apple device once it’s available. Even with multiple models released and staggered release dates, there were projected unit sales of 10 million phones in September alone. So, it’s safe to say that pre-order will become a retailer’s best friend to help satisfy the demand.

If you thought that 10 million was astounding, what about 85 million? That’s the total number of new iPhones forecasted to be sold before the end of 2018. These numbers bring a new level of busyness to the holiday season and, as a retailer, it’s important that you’re able to keep up with the demand. But how, you ask? Thankfully, the answer is easy: Pre-orders.

What are Pre-Orders?

In your point of sale, you’ll be able to order a device for a customer that is not yet available — either not yet manufactured or needing to be restocked.

For a dealer, pre-orders are a way to get a glimpse into the future of a device; what does the demand look like? This data-driven forecasting allows you to make decisions based on stocking levels for not only the device but for complimentary accessories. When a customer has waited patiently for their brand-new cell phone, more often than not they’ll want to keep it that way. What better way than offering a wide variety of protective accessories?

For your customers, pre-orders mean peace of mind. For those eager early adopters — the customers lined up outside the Apple store come release day — it’s important that they’re first-in-line (literally) to get the latest and greatest tech. With their name on a list and their payment made, they can rest easy knowing that they will soon have the device in-hand. It’s the pre-order guarantee!

iPhone Launch Lineup

Without offering a pre-ordering service, shoppers could be left waiting and I’d bet the next time a new highly sought-after device is released, they’ll be buying it from anyone but you.

How Can You Use Pre-Orders?

So, now that you’ve got the basics covered, how can you utilize pre-orders to effectively and efficiently satisfy consumer demand? Well, first things first, you need to have a point of sale that enables optimization of this functionality. Ensure your retail management system can do the following:

  • Capture customer order information including their contact information
  • Collect a deposit so you’re not left out in the cold with too much stock ordered
  • Create a purchase order to receive a pre-order accurately
  • Separate the pre-order once it arrives so it doesn’t get accidentally sold to another customer
  • Effectively notify the customer that their device has arrived. They’ll be eagerly awaiting your phone call!
  • Update the pre-order in your system and collect any remaining amount to be paid
  • Reconcile with vendor invoices to the orders. If it’s all in one system, accuracy is guaranteed.

An all-encompassing point of sale or retail management system should effectively and seamlessly integrate with your pre-orders to ensure accuracy across all systems. With that technology in place, you’ll be pre-ordering like a pro.

iPhone Launch 2018

So Many Orders, Only So Many Staff

With everything in place to start taking pre-orders, you’ll likely have a large influx of in-store traffic for activations and contract renewals. While your store may not be responsible for all 85 million devices sold, the new iPhone is sure to bump up customer entrance to your store substantially. If your retail location isn’t staffed to streamline this increased number of customers, it’s likely you’ll have some not-so-happy people waiting around in your store; that would be a lot of furrowed brows and impatiently tapping toes. Online appointment booking to the rescue!

When you offer online appointment booking through your e-commerce platform, like the functionality provided by RQ Appointments, customers know that when they visit your store, a sales associate will be ready and available to help them with whatever they need. Creating a great experience is as easy as clicking a button!

Providing a user-friendly appointment booking service not only guarantees shoppers that they won’t have to wait around when they’re coming in-store, but it also allows you to effectively staff your stores during peak hours and make predictions on in-store traffic patterns. When your employees can put in face time with each person who walks through your doors, the sales will follow, and the customer will walk out with their new iPhone, grinning from ear to ear. It’s a win-win!

Whether it’s yet another new Apple product, you’re hosting an in-store promotion, or it’s last minute shoppers preparing for the holidays, pre-orders can be your saving grace. They’re so important, that we’re hosting a full session dedicated to becoming a master of the pre-order process at the 2018 iQmetrix Meetup. Join us to make the most of your point of sale functionality and ensure success in your busiest months of the year!

Shutterstock / Hadrian, Mahathir Mohd Yasin, Hadrian