Samsung is making another move in its rivalry with Apple, this time focusing on retail stores. Whereas Apple opened its own chain of Apple retail stores, Samsung is opting to open stores inside existing retailers, and in this case, it’s Best Buy. Samsung is partnering with Best Buy to open 1,400 retail stores, or Samsung Experience shops, right inside existing stores around the U.S.
The plan is to open 900 of the Samsung stores by May, with the whole project completed by the end of June. “Seventy percent of consumers live within 10 miles of a Best Buy,” Ketrina Dunagan, the Samsung VP heading the retail effort, explained. Dunagan also said that Samsung considered opening its own chain of retail stores, but the quick rollout with Best Buy was much more appealing.
Samsung and Best Buy have already started testing the concept for the past few weeks at six stores in Dallas, Chicago, and Minneapolis.
The stores feature two to four tables of Samsung tablets, phones, cameras and laptops, along with a help desk and a wall of accessories. The Samsung Experience stores will have Best Buy personnel as well as Samsung-hired “experience consultants” trained specifically on the company’s products. If it sounds familiar, it’s because Apple has been doing this for years.
Dunagan describedtheir purpose with these “experience consultants,” explaining, “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’s services will be more limited at first than what has come to be expected from Apple stores. Samsung workers will be able to do software upgrades and deal with some hardware issues, but won’t be able to give out-of-warranty hardware repairs.
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