Apple appears to have equilized the supply-side of the iPhone 5‘s rocky supply and demand balance. But the wait time for the world’s favorite smartphone has left a bad taste in Apple.com customers’ mouths.
I don’t enjoy branding new “gates” for Apple releases (ok — I kind of do), but the new “gate” associated with Apple and buy the iPad mini could be called something like “Retailgate.” This new moniker comes after a new report that shows the Apple.com website at a 4-year low for customer satisfaction ratings. While the rating is a composite of several factors, chances are, buy Kindle Fire HD the wait time on ordering has much to do with the sharp decline in consumer sentiment when purchasing from Apple’s web-based store.
Citing a study from Forsee, 9 to 5 Mac reports:
“Forsee has Apple at a four-year low in customer satisfaction in its survey of 24,000 customers during prime Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping seasons. Apple slipped three points to a satisfaction score of 80/100 this year, putting Apple at its lowest in four years and bumping it out of the top 5. . . buy Watches under $1000 Forsee focused on four areas of overall satisfaction including the perception of fairness in pricing, the appeal of merchandise, website functionality, and the quality of website content. Among recommendations made by Forsee to retailers for the focus areas, Apple’s online store is listed as needing to improve the ‘usefulness, convenience and variety of online features available to site visitors.’”
The notion that Apple.com is suffering from a lack of “usefulness, convenience and variety of online features available to site visitors” that is driving its score down seems to be a bit odd in terms of an explanation for the low marks at Apple.com. While it is true that the high-profile firing of retail chief Browett constitutes a big change in the direction of retail operations at Apple, has the overall functionality of the Apple site and online store dramatically changed over the past year or so?
9 To 5 Mac appears to agree that another factor might be in play here: “Apple has also run into some big issues with supplies of iPhone 5, iPad mini, and iMacs after the introductions of the products this year, which could have affected customers’ view of the retail experience.”
I think that the scarcity of new Apple products has much to do with the decline in customer satisfaction. The objections that consumers generally have with purchasing items online are having to pay for shipping — an extra cost not associated with the brick-and-mortar retail experience — as well as the wait time for receiving a purchased product. In this way, top retailers have endeavored to make shippings costs cheap if not free, and shipping times as fast as possible.
In the case of purchasing high-end items like the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, consumers want them fast — especially after plunking down their money ahead of receiving the item. There is no doubt, therefore, that the slow shipping times for the iPhone 5 may have done more damage to the Apple brand in consumers’ eyes than we first realized. The iPhone and iPad, while wildly popular, are still mass-produced goods, and modern consumers are not accustomed to waiting for much of anything these days — especially when they spend some major coin.
Apple will have their work cut out for them to streamline production for its premium products, and ensure that customer service and order fulfillment move as quickly as possible. Chances are, a refreshed iPhone 5S in 2013 should be an easier lift for Foxconn and component suppliers, meaning that we should not see the same level of supply shortages as we did with the iPhone 5 in 2012.