Samsung to open 'Experience Shops' in U.S. Best Buy stores
Samsung is opening "Samsung Experience Shops" in all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile venues in the coming weeks. One of the first is located in Lewisville, Texas, a Dallas suburb not far from Samsung Telecommunications America's headquarters. The mini shop is set off from other parts of Best Buy with a blue carpet, as well as displays and shelving with accessories, among other products.
Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Shara Tibken/CNET
Deep in the heart of Texas
Samsung opened a few stores within Best Buy venues in mid-March to test out its layout and strategy. This shop in a Dallas suburb is one of the biggest at 460 square feet. All Samsung Experience Shops will be located close to the front of Best Buy stores and typically will be situated near the mobile section.
Samsung's shops within Best Buy stores will be staffed with Samsung employees as well as specially trained Best Buy workers. These staffers will be able to answer questions about the products, demo features, and make certain software-related repairs or updates, among other abilities. Customers also will be able to purchase their products within the Samsung Experience Shop instead of going to another area, such as the mobile section, to buy the items. Best Buy Mobile stores won't have Samsung consultants, but its employees will have special training about Samsung products.
It only takes Samsung one night to set up its shops within Best Buy stores. Each features tables with various Samsung mobile devices such as tablets. Five hundred large-format Best Buy stores and all 410 Best Buy Mobile specialty stores will feature the Samsung Experience Shops by early May. The remainder of the chain -- 550 large-format Best Buy stores -- will feature the shops by early June.
Along with tablets and smartphones, the Samsung Experience Shops will include other connected devices like PCs and cameras. The Lewisville shop looked vaguely Apple-like, but there's no way anyone could forget they were in a Best Buy store.
The Samsung Experience Shop includes shelving with many different accessories, a smart TV, and PCs. Most Samsung TVs are in another part of the store. To make room for the space, Best Buy removed less-popular products such as DVDs and CDs. A Best Buy spokeswoman said Samsung's shops won't displace any other mobile displays.
Each Samsung Experience Shop will include a Samsung Smart TV to show users how smartphones and tablets can interact with Samsung televisions. For example, the WatchON app on the Galaxy S4 allows users to see what's playing on live TV or on streaming services like Netflix and then control the TV from the phone.
A Samsung consultant shows features of the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet to a couple of customers. Garrett Higgins visited the store to buy something else but decided to look at Samsung's products after spotting the new shop. "I didn't even know the [Note 10.1] had Photoshop until he told me," Higgins told CNET. He added that he owns a Galaxy S3 and would be more interested in buying a Samsung tablet than an iPad, if the price was right.
All Samsung mobile devices in its Best Buy shops come preloaded with specialized demo information. That means users don't even need a Samsung expert or Best Buy employee to explain features to them, the company says.
Best Buy's mobile section, like this one in the Dallas area store that has a Samsung shop, places competing products next to each other. Samsung opened its mini stores to gather its mobile products in one area and better educate customers on features and how the items can interact.
Samsung's section in the Best Buy mobile area used to consist of an end cap with a couple of phones -- much like what other Android providers continue to have. Others, such as Apple, also have mini shops. Apple's shops are located within 740 Best Buy stores, and unlike the Samsung Experience Shop, users have to go to another section of the store to make their purchases.