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Samsung, Best Buy to operate mini shops for three years

The companies also may introduce Samsung Experience shops to Best Buy stores in Canada.

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly and Samsung Electronics co-CEO JK Shin officially unveiled the company's partnership during an event Wednesday in New York.
Sarah Tew/CNET
Shoppers hoping to check out the Samsung mini shops in Best Buy stores will have a few years to do so, the companies said Wednesday.

The agreement to operate Samsung Experience shops within all U.S. Best Buy locations will last for the next three years. The companies then will evaluate whether to extend their pact or end it, executives from Samsung and Best Buy said.

So far, the few experience shops already open have received "a lot of positive customer feedback," Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said Wednesday during a press event in New York.

"Both of us are very committed to making it successful," he said. "There's no doubt in our mind that it will be successful. The only question would be how successful. How big is big? We don't know yet."

Samsung revealed earlier this month that it plans to set up mini Samsung stores inside all U.S. Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile venues by early June. A larger retail presence within Best Buy -- one of the world's largest tech sellers -- gives Samsung a place to pitch its products to consumers directly without shouldering the risks inherent to the retail business. The partnership with Samsung also helps Best Buy with its turnaround plan.

Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, told CNET that Samsung will look at both hard numbers and customer feedback to judge the success of the partnership.

"Anytime we do marketing initiatives or partner programs we look at a number of dimensions," he said, citing sell-through, consumer engagement, customer satisfaction, and the brand.

Meanwhile, Joly said the companies are discussing plans for expanding the mini shops to Canada. He noted they're defining exactly how it will occur and the pace for rolling out the stores. There also will be a Samsung Experience shop on Best Buy's Web site.