Best Buy giving Samsung the Apple treatment with in-store mini-stores
Way back in the year 2011, the big box gadget retailer Best Buy surprised us with the launch of dedicated in-store miniature Apple stores, or if you prefer fancier Apple display sections with dedicated sales staff. The move has worked well for both Best Buy and Apple, offering prospective Apple customers and current Mac and iOS users more than one thousand new spots to go check out and pick up the latest gear from Cupertino.
Clearly no longer content playing second fiddle to Apple, Samsung's partnering with Best Buy to do the same, launching before the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 at the end of April. According to Geek.com, Best Buy's high traffic stores will be getting the Samsung mini-stores, with staff being told to start clearing out two aisles worth of space next to the popular in-store mobile departments.
Apparently there will be "large Samsung signage" and demonstration stations to show off the features of Samsung products. And like the Apple mini-stores, Best Buy employees will receive special training, though it appears that the entire mobile department staff will be receiving this training instead of select individuals like the Apple sections. If all goes according to plan, Samsung and Best Buy plan to eventually roll the mini-store expansion out to all of Best Buy's locations.
The move signals both Samsung's desire to push forward with their newfound swagger and the acceptance of the largest brick-and-mortar electronics retailer in the United States of the aforementioned swagger. It's worth giving some consideration to how Samsung's store will be adjacent to and staffed by the Best Buy mobile department, where the sales emphasis is almost exclusively on smartphones, with a handful of cellular tablets thrown in for good measure.
Samsung's success in the mobile market has been almost exclusively thanks to their Galaxy S line. Where consumers see Apple as a company that makes desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, they see Samsung as televisions and smartphones. Setting up their store inside Best Buy is obviously a step to expand consumer recognition of what Samsung does, but by pairing it with Best Buy's powerful mobile presence they're also acknowledging what customers know and expect of Samsung.
It's also worth considering the benefits in the move for Best Buy. While they'll be losing significant floor space to the Samsung sections, this is a chain that's in the midst of an upheaval of sorts, faltering through a botched bid to take the company private and closing numerous stores over the past year to save costs. No doubt Samsung has paid well for the privilege of getting the same treatment as Apple, and that's money Best Buy desperately needs.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.