Friday, April 05, 2013

'Samsung Experience' stores-in-a-store coming to 1,400 Best Buys

Samsung is continuing its Apple-like moves. The world's largest cell phone (not just smartphone) company announced a deal with Best Buy on Wednesday, one that will place 1,400 "Samsung Experience" shops within Best Buy's existing stores.

It's true that Samsung has enough products in a wide range of categories that it could -- if it wanted to -- open its own stores. For now, though, the Korean giant has decided to take a halfway approach.  Apple, of course, also has such mini-stores in Best Buy.

Ketrina Dunagan, the Samsung VP heading the retail initiative, said that Samsung did consider opening its own stores, but felt that partnering with an existing retailer was much more appealing than trying to open a small number of stores of its own this year.

Samsung and Best Buy have testing the concept for the last few weeks at six stores in three metropolitan areas: Dallas, Chicago and Minneapolis, Minn. The stores have two to four tables of Samsung tablets, phones, cameras and laptops, along with a help desk and an accessory wall.

Best Buy personnel as well as Samsung-hired “experience consultants” will be available and trained on the company’s range of products. The company said that by May about 900 of the stores will be open, with many opening this month and the entire rollout expected by the end of June.

Dunagan said:
Seventy percent of consumers live within 10 miles of a Best Buy. Our goal is not we remain expert and you remain subservient to us. We want [customers to feel] empowered, valued and delighted such that you become the expert, not us.
Samsung Experience employees will be able to do software upgrades and some triage of hardware issues. They won't, however, be able to handle out-of-warranty hardware repairs.

As an example of the square footage you can expect -- which, of course, depends on the size of the Best Buy store -- the Best Buy store in the suburban Texas town of Lewisville, the Samsung store-in-a-store occupies approximately 450 square feet of retail floor space. It is located, as well, in the front and center of the Best Buy.

Dunagan added, “We are in constant partnership with our other carriers and retailers,” implying that there might be more "in store" with other retailers or carriers, but also said that there are some exclusive elements to the Best Buy deal.

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