How to copy the iPhone 12 launch to help your online store

Here's why you should copy the iPhone 12 launch strategy

I purchased a new iPhone 12 Pro. It's blue and it's great. But that's not what I want to talk to you about today. Because the purchase of a phone, regardless of who makes it, or what model it is, barely registers as an event these days.

No, I want to talk to you about the launch instead. Because they did something that they hadn't done before. And that's what I want you to copy.

First, let's go back to what it all used to be like

Here's what normally used to happen when a new iPhone launched.

  1. You wake up early.
  2. You refresh your browser over and over, or pull down on your iPhone Apple Store app.
  3. The time comes for the launch.
  4. You keep refreshing waiting for it to appear.
  5. It finally appears (3-9 minutes late)
  6. You rush to pick the model, the size, the color, and the carrier.
  7. In that mad rush, you stress about which call to make.
  8. But you don't have time to waste.
  9. And then you put in the payment, hoping that it goes thru.
  10. If it does, you start breathing again. If it doesn't you start all over again.
  11. And then you get to see your expected delivery date.

It can be a painful 2, 5 or 10 minutes. Stressful if you're into buying the latest phone and want to get it the soonest.

Here's how it worked the other day

A week or ten days before the launch, I was invited to look over the product options, in peace.

From there I was able to make a decision (without time pressures) about the product, size, version, color and carrier.

I was also able to pre-connect with my carrier, and to pick a payment plan and which card I would be using.

Then they saved all that information and invited me to come back the morning of the launch.

On launch day, here's what I did.

  1. Load the Apple Store app.
  2. It welcomed me. Showed me everything and invited me to double click to pay.
  3. Then I got to see my expected delivery date.

There is power in pre-launch decision making

This is why I think you should copy Apple's new iPhone pre-launch process.

It eliminates a ton of the pressure. It turns a stressful event into a smooth and pleasurable one.

And let's be honest, there aren't a ton of things that your online store can copy from Apple. They're big with big budgets. But this is clearly something you can copy.

So how can you do this? It's not as hard as you might think.

Let's assume you're running a WooCommerce store. You're going to need to make sure you have four things in place – and two of them come native with WooCommerce.

First, let people create accounts

The good news is that WooCommerce really helps with all this. It has a My Account page (your-store-url/my-account) that lets customers create and manage their account. This is critical because when a customer comes back to your store, you don't want them to have to enter billing or shipping addresses, or even their payment info.

But I'm getting ahead of myself since that's step two.

For now you should know that the My Account page comes automatically with WooCommerce and if you want to edit it at all, change the look, adjust what customers can see, or tweak the labels, there's an extension that will help you customize everything.

Second, collect and store address and payment information

Now we get to step two. And that is to let people store their key information in the My Account area so that it's ready for when they come back.

It's not hard for them to do, as the navigation takes them to “My Addresses” and “Payment Info”. So it's super easy.

And the good news is that once they've done it, and they come back later to order, WooCommerce will automatically pre-load their information for faster checkout.

Third, lock down product availability

Steps one and two were easy and included with WooCommerce. Now we get into the tricky stuff, but honestly, it's not hard at all.

The trick here is that you're going to want to stop customers from purchasing the product before you do your launch – just like Apple did. But they didn't hide the product. And that's key – because some plugins out there that allow you to restrict selling a product until a certain date and time will also limit customers from putting it into the cart (no “add to cart” button at all). And we want people to put it into their cart and save it for later.

So we're going to use a plugin that's available on Envato for $29 called WooCommerce Restrict Checkout.

What it allows is for you to specify that a customer can't checkout if a specific product (in our case a sample product I just made up) is in the cart. You can see the settings below.

This allows us to:

  • Create the product (and all it's variations)
  • Let people view and evaluate their options
  • Even add it to their cart
  • But not checkout

All we have left, is to work some magic on the “save for later” feature. And that's pretty straightforward as well.

Lastly, let customers save carts for later

We're going to use a plugin for this by MakeWebBetter. It's called Save Cart Later and it does exactly what it's called.

It's going to let a customer take the item that is in their cart already (which happens before the product is able to be purchased) and put it into their saved cart.

On the day of the launch, you'll remove the restriction above (so people can checkout), and customers will be able to push the saved cart items back into their cart and checkout – and it will be fast because all their options were already decided upon, and all their checkout details are already saved.

The settings are, like I said, pretty easy to review and set. And the result of using this plugin is that you don't have to do any other work.

How to copy the iPhone 12 launch

Copying Apple's recent launch is pretty easy

I love watching what others are doing and seeing what I can learn from it. The relative ease of this most recent launch highlighted that it doesn't take a lot of work to copy the iPhone 12 launch strategy and create a fast and simple checkout experience for customers.