Samsung Electronics celebrated the launch of the Samsung Experience Shop today with the grand opening of their newest location in New York’s Union Square Best Buy store. JK Shin, CEO and President of IT and Mobile Business at Samsung, Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, and Tim Baxter, President of Samsung Electronics America hosted an executive grand opening. Samsung also announced an experiential consumer event featuring Bruno Mars to celebrate the launch of this innovative retail concept.
The activities mark the beginning of a nationwide rollout of the Samsung Experience Shop, which will be installed in more than 1,400 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile specialty stores across the U.S. by early summer. Samsung Experience Shops are beginning to open just in time for the official launch of the highly-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S 4.
Google users will find not only Samsung Android phones and tablets (and cameras!) but Chromebooks at the new store-within-a-store. Full press release follows: Read more
The delayed HTC One, HTC’s flagship phone originally due to have been launched a month ago, has finally launched. It’s intended to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S4, and HTC had hoped to beat Samsung to market before a shortage of camera components forced a delay.
The all-metal unibody handset with Snapdragon 1.7Ghz processor, LTE, NFC, 1080×1920 display and full 1080p HD video recording is available from AT&T, Sprint, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Walmart, Target, Amazon.com, Costco, Car Toys, Sam’s Club, HSN.com, and HTC.com. The 32Gb model starts at $199 on a two-year contract … Read more
This morning, Sprint announced Samsung Galaxy S will be available beginning on Saturday, April 27 for $249.99 with a new line or eligible upgrade and two-year service agreement. New customers who switch their phone number to Sprint from another carrier will receive an additional $100 instant credit which yields a $150 superphone. Sprint Pre-order for Galaxy S 4 will open on tomorrow (Thursday, April 18), at www.sprint.com/galaxys4, while supplies last.
T-Mobile also announced a $149.99 down plan with their new device payment offers of $20/month on top of their simple service plans. T-Mobile will have the device a few days earlier on April 24th and offers HD voice options on top of their great pricing plans.
When we heard late last month that Samsung planned to open Apple-style ‘store-in-store’ locations within Best Buy retail stores it was still only rumor. Today Samsung and Best Buy have made things official for its plans to roll out 1,400 “Samsung Experience Shops” in Best Buy retail stores across the United States. Best Buy plans to have the store within a store Samsung shops up and running by the summer with 900 scheduled to open by May:
Select Best Buy stores will have Samsung Smart Service™, which includes dedicated Samsung Experience Consultants™ and Best Buy blue shirt sales associates to assist customers with purchasing and activating mobile products on the carrier of their choice, understanding their device and supporting them throughout the lifecycle of their product. The specially trained Samsung Experience Consultants will assist with product demonstrations, basic product services, Samsung account set up, warranty registration and post purchase support.
The shops vary in size, with the largest being approximately 460 square feet. Within the larger shops, the Samsung Connected Solutions™ area creates a place for customers to see how easily Samsung devices connect and share content across multiple screens.
It’s not exactly a first for Samsung, having experimented with a number of similar store-within-store locations at other retailers around the globe, but it could very well act as a test ahead of bigger retail expansion plans in the U.S. It’s also something that Google has experimented with in Best Buy and PCWorld in the United Kingdom, which we’re hearing has lead to even much bigger retail plans for the company.
The image above shows what a typical Samsung Experience Shop inside Best Buy will look like. Samsung’s full press release below: Read more
Geek.com reports that Best Buy plans to introduce Samsung ‘store-in-store’ facilities: an area of the store devoted exclusively to Samsung products and with specially trained staff on hand to demonstrate features.
Apple is so far the only company to be featured in this way:
An unspecified number of Best Buy stores are said to introduce the Samsung areas to coincide with the launch of the Galaxy S IV.
An extremely reliable source has confirmed to us that Google is in the process of building stand-alone retail stores in the U.S. and hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas.
The mission of the stores is to get new Google Nexus, Chrome, and especially upcoming products into the hands of prospective customers. Google feels right now that many potential customers need to get hands-on experience with its products before they are willing to purchase. Google competitors Apple and Microsoft both have retail outlets where customers can try before they buy. Google’s retail move won’t be an entirely new area, however.
Google Chrome pop-up stores
Google currently has Chrome Store-within-a-store models in hundreds of Best Buys in the U.S. and 50 PCWorld/Dixon’s in the U.K. These stores have Google trained employees who demonstrate the value of Chromebooks and can answer the multitude of questions people have before making a purchase. Our source told us the new Google Stores would be a much broader play. The Chrome SIS employees don’t have sales targets, and they are there mostly for educating. Best Buy and Dixen’s also handle product and monetary transactions, not Google.
Google and Virgin also ran a limited test run of Kiosks in five major Airports, including this one at SFO (Image Scott Beale)
My understanding is that these new stores will operate independently and make direct sales to customers from Google like the Nexus online store does currently. It might also make sense for Google to sell its apparel and other Google-branded merchandise in these stores as well, but that’s speculation on my part.
The decision to open stores, I’m told, came when drawing up plans to take the Google Glass to the public. The leadership thought consumers would need to try Google Glass first hand to make a purchase. Without being able to use them first hand, few non-techies would be interested in buying Google’s glasses (which will retail from between $500 to $1,000). From there, the decision to sell other Google-branded products made sense.
Along with Glass, Google will have an opportunity to demonstrate other upcoming and Google X projects like driverless cars and mini-drone delivery systems at its stores.
There are small bits of anecdotal evidence that Google is looking into retail. It is hiring folks to develop Point of Sale systems, for instance. We’re told, however, that most of the ramping up of these stores will be done by an outside agency.
“I don’t think we would have been nearly as successful with iPad if it weren’t for our stores. It gives Apple an incredible competitive advantage. Others have found out it’s not so easy to replicate. We’re going to continue to invest like crazy. The average store last year was over 50 million in revenue.”
Google may now understand that if it wants to roll out a new product category like Google Glass, it is going to have to dive into retail. Read more