Are you planning to preorder an iPhone 13 tomorrow morning? If you've ever done so in the past, you know that in order to not end up waiting weeks for your new iPhone, you have to place your order as close to 8 a.m. EDT as possible. That's when preorders start, and it doesn't take long for shipping to extend well past launch day if you don't move quickly.
That process is kind of a nightmare, to be honest. First, preorders are almost never really live at exactly the moment you expect, leading to repeated refreshing of the webpage until the store is available. Then, you have to quickly choose all of the options and click through various screens in order to get the device you want.
Now, however, Apple is fixing one of the worst things about preordering the iPhone. It's really quite brilliant. Right now, you can visit the iPhone 13 page on Apple.com and choose to "get ready for preorder."
Think of it as sort of a pre-preorder. You can select the iPhone you want to buy, decide whether you want to trade in your old device, choose how you want to pay, and save your cart for Friday morning. If you're using Apple Card, it will check to be sure you have enough available credit, and set up your monthly payments.
You'll still have to return on Friday morning, and delivery availability is still first-come, first-served. But the process is certainly going to be faster and less stressful if all you have to do is click a button to finalize your order.
Look, I know that for most people, all of that sounds pretty ridiculous, but that's what it takes to get an iPhone delivered to your house on launch day. If that's important to you, the hassle has just been something you've had to live with in the past.
But no one should have to go through that, and it's a good thing that Apple is finally solving the problem. That's especially true considering that Apple has always prided itself on the experience it provides its customers. Anytime that experience is different from the promise you make, there's a disconnect. Preordering a product, only to get to the end of the process and discover you'll have to wait a month for it to be delivered, is a frustrating experience.
Here's why I point this out--it's as good an example as any of one of the most important rules for any company: Make it easy for your customers to give you money. That might seem obvious, but honestly, most companies do a lot of things that make it hard--at least, harder than it should be.
It's not just frustrating preorder processes, either. Every time a customer walks into your store and can't find what they're looking for, either because the layout is confusing or there's no one to help them, you're making it hard. Every time a customer waits on hold or doesn't receive a response to the email they sent, you're making it hard.
There are probably a thousand ways every company makes it harder than it needs to be to do business with them. Figuring out those pain points and eliminating them--at least, as much as possible--tells your customers that you value them. It also has the benefit of the fact that when you make it easier for people to give you money, they're more likely to do just that. In Apple's case, I have no doubt that's true.