Apple Express Storefront RenderSource: 9to5Mac

What you need to know

  • Almost half of Apple Stores in the United States are now operating as Express storefronts.
  • The format allows the company to continue to serve customers safely during the pandemic.

Reported by 9to5Mac, Apple's retail stores in the United States have had to adopt a different operating model in order to continue to serve customers during the pandemic. Almost half of Apple Stores are now operating under the Express storefront model, which still allows customers to pick up online orders and handle other basic functions.

Express storefronts are a temporary way for Apple to efficiently serve customers in regions where in-store sales and support are unsafe due to local COVID-19 conditions. Apple SVP Deirdre O'Brien noted ahead of the iPhone 12 launch that 50 locations worldwide would add Express storefronts by the end of October. Worsening infection rates throughout fall have compelled the company to gradually retrofit 125 of its 270 stores in the US alone as of November 30.

The Express storefront continues to expand outside of the United States as well. While most stores have built a pickup window at the front of the store, others are simply delivering orders to customers at the store entrance.

While Express storefront locations typically consist of a shielded pickup window and shelving separating the store entrance from the main sales area, Apple has skipped the fixtures at a number of stores and instead delivers orders at the door. Three locations in California offer curbside pickup, the service model that allowed Apple to initially reopen many of its stores at the start of the pandemic. With many Apple Stores located deep within suburban malls, curbside service led to remote pickup locations in parking lots.

Apple continues to monitor local conditions and has even temporarily closed some of the stores operating under the Express storefront model for areas that have been severely impacted by coronavirus infections.