The Curious Case of the iPhone process

In an earlier post I talked about my day in London and the process issues I had with agencies.

A little later on in the day I went to buy an iPhone at the Apple store in White City, West London. I wondered into the store. It was quite empty. I played with the iPhones for a while and then went to the counter. There was a sign saying 'Queue for your iPhones here'. I queued. I waited about 6 minutes for a free station. Then I asked for an iPhone. I was asked if I had a reservation? I said 'No'. I was told I couldn't get an iPhone without a reservation. But I was also told I could make a reservation using one of their machines. I did and was able to make a reservation for about 45 minutes time.

But it got me thinking of the process behind this.

Apple have obviously decided they want to manage the flow of iPhones.So in order to do this they have restricted sales of iPhones to people who have a reservation. Is this to manage demand? Maybe. But having made the reservation there was obviously sufficient stock to allow me to pick one up within the hour therefore it wasn't a demand issue. In fact if they had enough stock in - which they obviously did - they could allocate a proportion out to those who had reservations and still keep a 'slush' stock on hand for walk ins like me.

My thought on the whole reservation issue was this "If I'm on-line making a reservation for an iPhone, why wouldn't I just go to the on-line Apple store and order one for home delivery?".

To me the whole 'reserving an iPhone' process seems flawed. Your thoughts?

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