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, 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.


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.

  • Good for Samsung. And yeah, not many people are aware of the diversity of products Samsung makes. I mean, they make smartphones, feature phones, media players, tablets, laptops, desktops, televisions, DVD players, cameras, camcorders, monitors, printers, SD cards, external and internal storage, washers, dryers, refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens, vacuums, and accessories for most of the aforementioned. Wow.
  • I really enjoy Samsung's washer and dryer accessories. The belt holster for the WA546 is something to behold.
  • Not a surprise, Samsung copies every one's marketing, design, innovation, style, brand, strategy, should I continue... You get the point. Is there anything original about Samsung?
  • I know right? Displays... another Apple original that no one else had done before...
  • Notice asuperstarr did not once mention Apple. There are other consumer electronics companies out there, you know?
  • I think its pretty obvious he/she was saying they were copying Apple...
  • Maybe, but I see "Not a surprise, Samsung copies every one's" as meaning just that, everyone, not just Apple, not just Sony (TVs), not just anyone else. EVERY one. To be honest? I don't care who copies who. Because it ceases being "copying" when they improve upon it. And that is a matter of personal taste.
  • I was responding with the context of the story in mind. The comment I was responding to was pretty much saying that their last "copy" was of Apple. I have no other context from whoever superstar is. I was responding with the info that could be derived. I was just saying this is not a copy of an original idea. And if they had no original ideas or products, they wouldn't sell as many products as they do. I don't think my comment was nearly as far fetched as the comment I was responding to.
  • Great for consumers! It would be cool if they had dedicated in-house Samsung techs like Apple has Genii. They could be called Samsung Q's or something else that is galaxy related.
  • Are they actually going to have working phones in the store? Not one of our local Best Buy stores has a single working phone unit for demo, just plastic shells with a sticker screen on the front.
  • That's weird I know several Best Buy stores with the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 ready to use. They have that for several phones including iPhones and a few other Androids.
  • I think this is a calculated move for Samsung but will it beat Apple at its own game I highly doubt it. It does make since to do this but they will never have the retail presence that Apple has. I mean I have had a couple of problems one with an iPhone 4 and more recently with a 4S and it was an unbelievable customer service experience for me to be able to schedule a time to have my problem resolved by an Apple Genius. Both times they replaced my phone without any hassle. That is why I will continue to buy Apple products because I can walk into any Apple store and walk out with no issues. It's great.
  • this makes logical sense. in clothing stores different brands have whole sections to them selves so why not electronics
  • I agree with you, some people act like if it was something apple exlcusive, but that is just fair play especially for people not familiar with either I think is great they can go a beat buy and compare phones, features and make a decision based on what they really liked and not on what people tells them is better.
  • Pretty soon Best Buy mobile will be renamed to Apple Samsung Quarter. It really does show the influence Samsung has has in the mobile world recently and Best Buy's faith in sales for them.
  • Influence?!? The only reason BestBuy is probably doing this its cause of all the cash that Samsung has to put out to make this happen. Smart move for Samsung though. But I think that in order to compete against Apple you must provide the same customer service you get from them. No finger pointing just fix the problem and done.
  • Have to give props to Samsung here: it's a really smart idea to have pulled off an agreement like this with BestBuy. While I think a lot of the new software features of the GS4 are gimmicks in real world use, they are great tech demos that will be a great way to show off what the phone can do. Along with that, there are many accessories launching with it and having it all in one place will definitely show that Samsung has their stuff together.
  • Agreed. I know I will be going in and playing with one.
  • It's a good idea business wise but not shocking when they make it look exactly like apple.
  • I agree with you!
  • Although there is a bit of annoyance at the "me too" factor from Samsung, if this is successful, the added competition will hopefully help keep pushing Apple forward. If Apple wasn't getting serious competition, they'd be more likely to eventually get a bit complacent. I really wonder what the landscape will look like in 5 years?
  • I don't think this would have happened if Best Buy wasn't in such a financial mess; however, this is quite a smart move by Samsung. Not only are they competing for market share and customers from other Android OEMs, but they are trying to tackle all competition by moving in on Apple's turf inside Best Buy stores. I wonder how awkward it will be for die-hard Apple and Samsung employees inside those Best Buy stores.
  • I can't blame Best Buy or Samsung. Best Buy needs to reinvent themselves due to online shopping and specialized departments and better educated employees helps. As far as Samsung, smart move. Regardless of your mobile OS preferences, for this that are undecided putting their hands on working models is great.
  • I see this as beneficial to the market. Having a dedicated area for Apple products is great, and having a dedicated area for Samsung products I feel will bring brand awareness to consumers. Samsung offers a range of devices and this will help their products by giving them exposure.
  • Best Buy should make Samsung's "Mini-Shop" out of plastic.
  • Boom! :)
  • Good one...
  • This is really interesting. Especially because of the fact that best buy is so desperate for samsungs money for the increased floor space.. I had no idea that best buy was in a position like that. Aside from that, even being an avid apple fan, I'll definitely go check out these new Samsung displays. I love going to best buy and just looking at all the awesome stuff they have. Once spent 4 hours just walking around a best buy. However, the new displays from Samsung definitely won't make me want to change to anything Samsung..
  • Hmm.. We already have a giant Samsung display like that at the Best Buy I work at...
  • There is a Samsung store in the Best Buy in my home town and I have to say its quite effective. I couldn't resist strolling through and getting some hands-on time with their gadgets (of course I'm a gadget junkie so I'm an easy target for them). They had many "live" products on display like the S3, Note 2, Note 10 and Galaxy camera. I think there were some laptops too but it was obvious that the main push was the tablets and phones. They also have a whole display of the accessories. I thought it was nicely done.
  • What ever it takes to have Apple wake up and start giving us HTC One type of hardware! When the Galaxy S4 and Note 2 goes up against the iPhone 5 at the end of April for month after month after month after month. Samsung and HTC will not only get a bunch of newbie picking up a smartphone for the first time but will also pickup a bunch of converted Apple fanboys. Apple will continue to lose market share to Samsung this next quarter. The real kicker is when the iPhone 5s (yawn!) fails to slow the sinking ship! I'm buying an HTC One on T-mobil to show Apple I'm serious about supporting the underdog willing to take chances and put out incredible hardware! Because Apple can't give us a bigger iPhone with stereo speakers and IRblaster with WIFI AC support? They could, and they might next year but they won't in 2013! Why? Because they don't have to! I love Apple and my 64gig iPhone 5. But it's no longer the best and most innovative hardware! HTC One is! If only the HTC could run iOS then it would be perfect!
  • Maybe this is what BB needs to turn things around. They can just reinvent themselves as a tech bazaar with major name manufacturers setting up their own fruit stands to be manned by (hopefully) well trained staff.
    If you want just Apple, go to an Apple Store. If you'd like to compare, go to BB.
  • I really like this. It gives consumers the opportunity to go into one store and do a good hands-on comparison of the products. Sales people must hate me. When I am shopping for a new gadget, I first research it on the web. Then I go into a store and spend time trying it out, kicking the tires so to speak, before I plop down my hard earned cash. Having two of the more prominent phone manufactures front and center in Best Buy will be great for the consumer who wants to do hands on comparisons of the two devices. It should also further fuel competition between these two market leaders which again is usually good for consumers.
  • So another thing Samsung is copying from there superior rival ? Pathetic really are they not ? Everything they do seems to be a copy of someone else's good work
  • Really good for the marketing of samsung products, Samsung is obviously different from Apple. The samsung os is an open source os, maybe just like windows or linux . You can make a application to the Samsung more detailed as what you want. Not like apple, they have different programming
  • I'm an Android user primarily. I use an iPhone for work so I know both platforms. My parents wanted new phones. I know how my parents are so I suggested that they buy iPhones. Sure I may not like iOS but it is simple - great for first timers into the smartphone world (their portable rotary phones were finally wearing out). Everyone I know that has an iPhone loves it. They went to Best Buy and looked at the iPhone. Then they bought Samsung. Any they love their new big screen phones. They don't find the interface confusing, difficult, fragmented, laggy, or whatever other negative buzzwords you want to use. Moral of the story? Samsung's marketing is working. Samsung's mobile products are good. Name-call all you want but the "copycat" company has devices that are very different and they are selling very well to people who, a year or so ago, would have "just bought an iPhone".