Apple Ordering Experience

I have something to admit: I have almost no loyalty to a particular computer maker. Over the last seven or eight years, I’ve owned computers made by (in order) HP, Dell, Alienware, Dell, and IBM. I’ve had mostly positive experiences with all of the companies and all of their products have lived up to my appropriate (I think) expectations (I ordered my cheap Dell desktop with a lot lower expectations than my expensive IBM laptop).

Today, though, I am adding yet another computer maker to that list – Apple. I’ve been following the updates (or lack thereof) to Apple’s MacBook Pro laptop since about July of 2007. Since I wasn’t in a particular rush to buy a new computer, I decided to wait until a major update came to the MacBook Pro. That update (finally) came today and I purchased my new computer earlier this morning.

Apple is known for their customer and product experiences. I’ve never owned anything made by Apple except an iPod (which I like), but I have been fairly impressed with the company overall. They have a great reputation and they keep things simple when called for.

One thing that Apple does keep fairly simple is the ordering process. The company starts off on the right foot by having a fairly simple product line: they offer two types of laptops (the MacBook and the MacBook Pro), each with three models. Keeping it simple like this makes choosing a laptop quite a bit easier.

Once you’ve mentally selected which computer you want (Apple makes this easy by having really great product pages that highlight key features and make it very easy to order), you click one of the buttons to place your order. You configure your computer (again, the options are simple, but meaningful) and then you’re asked to login.

Once you get to that point, Apple shows the pricing, estimates the tax, etc., which is all pretty standard. Their checkout page is also simple – it gets the necessary information and lets you order. Apple has a few ways that you can pay, makes upgrading things like shipping easy, and even lets you pay on two credit cards.

Once you order and your order is processed, you’re shown an order confirmation page with all the relevant details. There is a link to track your order and you’re done. A simple ordering process that probably doesn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes.

What could Apple have done better, though?

  • Apple shouldn’t require customers to login or register before they order. Have email / login be a part of the order form.
  • They said I would receive my confirmation email “shortly” after ordering and it took a good hour (which is not “shortly” by Internet standards).

On the other hand, what can we learn from Apple?

  • Keep product offerings simple. It is okay to allow further customizations, but keep the basic offerings simple.
  • Provide lots of helpful product information to the customer before they order.
  • Keep the actual experience of purchasing the computer very simple and consider adding helpful features (two credit cards, Bill Me Later, etc.).
  • Make it easy to track orders.
  • They clearly display their phone number and live chat links.

I was impressed with the ordering process overall. I’m also excited about my new computer and will almost certainly be checking the order status page a couple of times a day until I receive the computer.

2 Responses to “Apple Ordering Experience”

  1. Reginald W said:

    Feb 26, 08 at 10:10 pm

    Welcome to the world of Macintosh.

    Since you are new to the Apple way of life, you should check out one of the conversion books available. Amazon should have one or two available and I think there is one in the “Take Control” series. They will help you to learn how to do it on a Macintosh, rather than how you have done it on Windows, and the two, while similar, are different. Getting frustrated because it doesn’t operate like Windows gets you nowhere.

    Example: Cut, Copy and Paste are Control-X, -C and -V on Windows but are COMMAND-X, -C and -V on a Mac. The command key is the one with the cloverleaf pattern on it next to the spacebar.

    Right clicking is different on the Mac. Get a two (or 3 or 5) button mouse if you wish, otherwise use the CONTROL key and press the mouse button to get a right-click. There are also gestures support that you can configure/enable (in the control panel) to give you multiple-finger control for right clicking, scrolling, etc.

    Closing a window does not necessarily end the program. Get used to it.

    In the same way that a standard and an automatic transmission in a car makes it different to drive, so too are Macs, Windows and Linux different to drive. One is not necessarily better or worse because of it, just different. It is all about what you prefer, what you get used to, what works for you. Sometimes the hardest part of switching is not learning new things, but forgetting the old way of doing things.

    Sometimes you are used to doing things a particular way and it might be easier on the Mac and you think “it can’t be that easy.” Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not, but it is definitely different, so don’t be afraid to try things.

    There are lots of resources for you to learn about your new Mac.

    Try: – great latest news site with good discussion and reader reports. – links to lots of sites, and where I came across your site. – technical information and compatibility issues that arise. – great site that explodes some of the misinformation out there on computing

    There is lots of software available as well, contrary to what others may tell you. Various emulators allow you to run Windows, Linux, Solaris, Apple II, Commodore and other older computer systems on the Mac, if you want to or need to.

    try: or
    for software updates and looking for software to do particular things that you need.

    Take care and enjoy.

    BTW, my first computer was an Apple ][+ back in 1979. I outgrew the computer wars years ago and use Macs and Windows machines. I prefer the Mac for most things and use Windows where needed due to the software being used. What works for me may not work for you and vice-versa.

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Feb 26, 08 at 10:29 pm


    Thanks so much for the information and links! I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave such a helpful comment. I will definitely be checking out some of those web sites.