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Withinhalfaday,Applewouldsendthecustomeranemailindicatingiftheproductwasstillunderwarrantyandproviding details about how it would be returned. Within 48 hours, a pre-addressed, pre-stamped boxwould arrive at the customer’s door-step, sent by express parcel service. A shipping label and a receipt forthe return were both included in the box, along with secure foam packaging and even packaging tape. Bycalling a central dispatch number, Apple’s assigned courier — UPS, FedEx or DHL — would come andpick up the item directly from the customer’s house oroffice.27By providing rapid service through its reverse logistics function, Apple improved customer satisfaction,loweredthenumberofcallstoitstechnicalsupportservicesandeliminatedthelikelihoodofcustomererror whenprocessing a return (by using an incorrect address, for example). Getting the electronic product backintoApple’sservicedepotsallowedthemtodiagnoseandreturntheitemtothecustomerrapidly,orfixthe issue andsell the refurbished product as an “Apple Certified. Good as New” product in its AppleStore.28Apple’s close management of its logistics system extended to packaging devices in plain boxes to “avoiddetection,” and monitoring “every handoff point — loading dock, airport, truck depot and distributioncenter — to make sure each unit was accounted for.”29Retail ExperienceApple had 424 retail stores in 16 countries around the world. In addition, its online Apple Store wasavailable in 39 countries. The company’s retail stores were typically located at high-traffic locations inquality shopping malls and urban shopping districts. By operating its own stores in desirable high-trafficlocations,Applewaspositionedtoensureahigh-qualitybuyingexperienceandattractnewcustomers.The storeswere designed to simplify and enhance the presentation and marketing of the company’s products andrelated solutions. The retail stores employed experienced and knowledgeable personnel who providedproduct advice, service and training and offered a wide selection of third-party hardware, software, otheraccessories and peripherals that complemented Apple’sproducts.Apple could monitor product sales by store by the hour and it relied on this information to tweak itsproduction forecasts on a daily basis. According to one article: “If it becomes clear a given part will runout, teams are deployed and given approval to spend millions of dollars on extra equipment to get aroundthe bottleneck.”30The company also invested in programs to enhance reseller sales by placing high-quality Apple fixtures,merchandising materials and other resources within selected third-party reseller locations. Through theApplePremiumResellerProgram,certainthird-partyresellersfocusedontheAppleplatformbyproviding a highlevel of product expertise, integration and support services. A side-by-side comparison of Apple’s iPhone5 with devices from key competitors can be found in Exhibit8.

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Term
Spring
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
Test, Experience, IPhone OS, IPod Touch

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