Starting tomorrow Apple customers in San Francisco will be the first to participate in a new service that allows consumers to order products online, and then pick them up in a local Apple store. Customers who order online may choose in-store pickup.
A range of the most common products will even be available immediately. Retail stores will now also be able to accept returns of online merchandise, which might be much more convenient than trying to return a 27″ iMac via UPS.
The service will begin in San Francisco, then expand to the entire Bay Area before eventually growing to cover the all of the Apple stores in the US.
Customers will be able to order custom-configured Macs, engraved iOS devices and iPods, as well as any of the third-party accessories sold by most Apple stores. Shoppers can also pay to have items gift-wrapped in advance.
In-store pickup will require the customer to show both an online receipt and ID, although the customer can designate another person to pickup their order.
This new initiative joins pre-existing ability to make genius bar reservations online, as well gift-wrapping and engraving services that were offered seasonally.