April 4, 2013
Samsung To Open Stores Inside Select Best Buy Locations
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Select Best Buy stores are about to get even more crowded as Samsung begins to roll out their own store-in-a-store to show off their line of mobile devices. They now join Apple and Google in competing for floor space in the big box retail chain. This move is another in a long line to mimic Apple´s company practices, offering a retail presence to show off their products and offer support for customers who may be experiencing issues with their gear. Samsung is calling these meta-stores the “Samsung Experience Shop” and plan to open more than 1,400 in Best Buy stores across America by this summer.
One of the first pilot stores is located in Lewisville, Texas and boasts a modest 450-square-footprint. According to All Things D reporter Ina Fried, who was given an early tour of the store, customers looking to buy an iMac or iPad must first walk by Samsung´s wares.
Brian Hagglund, a consultant Samsung hired to oversee this project, says this piece of real estate in the Lewisville store is a major benefit for the Galaxy maker, noting he´s been able to sway potential iPad customers by showing off the stylus-equipped Galaxy Note.
Mashable´s Christina Warren was also given an early tour of the Samsung Experience Shop, which doesn´t officially launch until Monday. According to her report, the Samsung store-in-a-store closely resembles Apple´s in layout with products on full display on tables, separated by category: cameras, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Also like Apple, Samsung will be stocking the stores with their own breed of Genius, more humbly named “Samsung Experience Consultants.”
These consultants are employees of Samsung, not Best Buy, but are able to help Best Buy associates as a point of expertise for all things Sammy.
These Consultants are given just 40 hours of hands on training before being let loose inside the Best Buy stores. Just like Apple Store employees, Consultants will be able to answer all questions about the devices and even get new devices set up and ready to go for customers.
According to Warren, larger Samsung Experience Shops will be equipped with their version of the famous Genius Bar, aptly titled the “Smart Service” desk. This will be a place where customers with questions or ailing Samsung devices can go to get help and other answers. Unlike the Genius bar, employees at the Smart Service desk will not be able to do some major hardware repairs, such as replace broken screens, which is a common ailment. Employees at the Smart Service desk can, however, direct these customers to other locations where they can get the screen replaced, and if the customer has bought Best Buy´s Geek Squad protection, they´ll be directed to another desk inside the big box store.
If the Smart Service desk is faced with an issue they find they cannot answer, they´re able to call for help from Samsung directly. Hagglund bragged to Ina Fried they´ve only needed to use the phone three times on particularly vexing challenges.
This isn´t the first retail experience Samsung has rolled out. The Korean company last year opened a store in Sydney, Australia that just so happened to be located on the same block as Apple´s retail store.
The Samsung store very closely resembled an Apple store and featured a very similar layout, with blue-shirted employees and an all-glass store front.