Apple has admitted that its European Apple Store has experienced “teething problems” this year following the implementation of a new logistics system.
It admits that at one time 39 per cent of its online customers experienced delivery delays, it said.
Despite this, Apple Store Europe director Francois Duquesne insists that “the crisis is now under control", adding: "We have fixed the broken parts, and have the capacity to respond. Now we only have problems with 10-15 per cent of orders. I predict that in two weeks we will see a resolution of these issues.”
Apple has not yet decided on a date by which customers should make orders for delivery by Christmas, but Duquesne revealed that “we will err on the side of caution”.
Duquesne said: “It certainly has been painful. Customers have not been receiving products in the timeframe we said they would.” He admitted: "We've seen the issue gradually perk up and become a flood in the last six-to-eight weeks."
The Apple Store issue was highlighted by a Macworld Online poll that resulted in 27 per cent of readers claiming they had experienced problems with the Apple Store – with many saying they were so frustrated they had abandoned the service.
Following the poll, Apple issued an email to Apple Store customers, admitting that it was having "several implementation issues" with the Apple Store, and claiming that it is "taking all the necessary steps to restore service levels as quickly as possible."
According to Duquesne the Apple Store troubles were a result of a logistics upgrade that started in July. He said: “We implemented a new logistic system at the same time that Apple Store business exploded”.
He added: “In the past year the Store has seen very strong growth. We have introduced products such as Panther, and products like the iPod have known huge success. These low-cost items have been driving orders and are also being ordered in large quantities.
"In the past six weeks we have been working with the senior director of logistics in Europe Joe Gantley to address the problems. He has been working with our partners to increase the warehouse capacity where products are transitioned and assembled."
Your call He continued: "Further measures include “bolstering the teams in planning and logistics and adding resources to the back office. Apple now has more people available to answer calls from customers.
" We've been deluged with so many calls and emails that we were unable to answer them in a timely manner. This caused a situation where customers had to wait an excessive time on the phone. We have now put more people on the phones.”
One issue highlighted by Macworld Online readers was the unreliability of expected delivery times indicated by the Apple Store.
Apple PR manager for Europe Alan Hely said: “We are looking at delivery times so that what we promise our customers is more realistic.”