With many of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores shuttered around the world amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the iPhone maker has launched a new website dedicated to helping customers shop for its products online.
First spotted by 9To5Mac, the website gives customers the ability to chat with Apple specialists, shop online, conduct a trade-in, learn about no-contact delivery, and even apply for financing and credit, all from one hub. It also includes access to its Genius Bar to get service and support and provides easy tracking of orders placed. Apple threw in how-to-videos to keep customers engaged during the pandemic.
While Apple launched the website to keep sales going as shelter-in-place rules remain in place in many cities around the world, it could play a role in future sales once the social distancing rules are eased. After all, despite most of Apple's stores being closed during its second quarter, excluding China, its retail business set a quarterly record driven by online sales.
"There is definitely a move. And whether that's a permanent shift, I would hesitate to go that far as I think people like to be out and about," said Apple CEO Tim Cook on an earnings conference call last week. "They just know that now is not the time to do that."
For weeks now Apple has been preparing to shift support online with stores closed around the world. In early April it started asking retail workers to provide technical support for customers from their homes. Those who signed up to provide support via its AppleCare program were given a 27-inch iMac, fast Internet connection, and virtual training. Last week the tech stock updated its Support App to include support for its services.