Apple Watch in-store reservation
Apple Watch shoppers are splurging for extra bands, research shows. Reuters

Apple has started to launch in-store sales of its Apple Watch in multiple countries, including Australia and Japan. As Apple retail stores open Wednesday, more are expected to begin selling it. But getting one isn’t as easy as walking in and asking for it.

According to Apple’s updated online store website, customers will need to make a reservation for their preferred Apple Watches before they head over to the store, starting at 8, local time, each day. The company warns certain models may become unavailable before a reservation is confirmed, due to high demand.

apple watch reservation
Apple's website now features a link to an in-store reservation page for the Apple Watch. Screenshot/Apple

To get the registration process started, users will have to click the “Check reservation availability” link on the page of the watch they want to buy. From there, shoppers can pick their local Apple Store to find an open reservation slot. If the watch is available, a green checkmark will be displayed on the screen along with the next available time. To make a reservation, Apple requires users to punch in a local mobile phone number to which a unique reservation code will be sent. Once received, users will have 30 minutes to complete the reservation before the code expires.

apple watch reservation process
Apple will send users a unique code to complete the Apple Watch reservation process. Screenshot/Apple

This select-a-store option is grayed out if a model is unavailable for in-store pickup. If that occurs, Apple instructs shoppers to check the website again at 8 a.m. when the inventory is updated. Alternatively, more patient shoppers can still purchase it online.

For now, it’s likely Apple will limit in-store sales to the original launch countries and markets, which include Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. But that may not last for long. Starting June 26, Apple plans to expand sales of its smartwatch to more countries, including Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan.

The move to in-store sales comes nearly two months after Apple sold the watches exclusively through its online store, with the exception of a few luxury retail boutiques in Los Angeles, London, Paris and Tokyo.