Samsung enters the US retail space, opens stores

Samsung may not be copying Apple, but mini-stores are on the way to showcase the firm's products.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Samsung has made the decision to shake up the physical retail space to showcase its products more effectively and compete with chain-store owner and rival Apple.

The South Korean firm has entered a deal with Best Buy to staff mini-stores in their premises which will showcase and demonstrate its products, including smartphones, tablets and televisions -- and how they can be connected to work together.

According to Bloomberg, 500 of Samsung's new "Experience" shops will be opened by April 8, which will take up approximately 460 square feet in Best Buy's larger stores. Stores will be staffed by Samsung employees in order to promote the upcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone, as well as teach consumers about sharing content between devices.

By June, another 1,000 Best Buy stores will have Samsung Experience shops. Apple currently owns over 400 stores worldwide. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Ketrina Dunagan, vice president of retail marketing for Samsung Mobile's U.S. unit, said in an interview:

"This is our first opportunity to demonstrate connected mobile products in a location with educated Samsung employees able to walk a consumer through the experience. About 70 percent of U.S. population is within 10 miles of a Best Buy."

If such a large percentage of the American population is within close proximity to a Best Buy, by setting up shop within these retail spaces, Samsung can reach a large customer base -- something that remains important due to the highly-competitive and rapidly moving mobile device market. In addition, the South Korean firm may be able to springboard off Best Buy's current consumers, who visit and trust the brand -- not only saving the money and time required to set up chain stores, but keep sales strong.

Apple, however, does sell its products in dedicated areas of Best Buy stores, but Samsung is the first firm to group its products together with trained salesmen. Richard Doherty, executive director at Envisioneering Group, told the publication:

"You don't want to have some part-time salesman handling that sale when you've got a more complicated product line. This will be an expansion from Samsungland to Samsung Country to push down Sony and LG and use their bucks and catalog to finally challenge Apple in size and number."

According to ComScore, iPhone and iPad maker Apple currently leads in terms of smartphone sales, taking credit for 38 percent of the U.S. market in comparison to 21 percent for Samsung, although the latter leads in global shipments according to IDC.

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