Best Buy Locations to House Samsung Mini Stores
Samsung Electronics announced Thursday that it is expanding its retail presence by installing Samsung-specific micro-stores within all roughly 1,400 Best Buy locations.
The specialty stores, dubbed “Samsung Experience Shops,” will focus on getting Best Buy customers interested in the Samsung brand and its products. According to a Best Buy spokesman, the Rochester and Maple Grove stores already contain the small Samsung shops, as they were used as initial testing locations.
While Samsung, based in Seoul, South Korea, has long had a partnership with Richfield-based Best Buy, guests will now have the opportunity to browse and interact with Samsung’s range of mobile products—including smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and accessories—in a single location rather than spread throughout the store.
Micro-stores in select locations will also feature customer service employees who will assist guests in setting up and activating their products and provide support for returning customers who have questions or are in need of repairs, similar to Apple’s so-called “Geniuses,” but in Best Buy’s signature blue uniforms.
The shops will be installed beginning this month and 900 are projected to open by early May, with the remainder launching this summer. While the shops will vary in size, the largest will be about 460 square feet.
Although Samsung is the biggest producer of phones in the world, Apple’s iPhone still outsells Samsung’s mobile phone in the United States. Apple already inhabits Samsung’s new territory: It has its own micro-stores in many Best Buy locations.
Apple also outnumbers Samsung in its independent retail stores. While Apple has 400 stores in 14 countries, Samsung only last summer opened its first North American location, in Vancouver, Canada.
Best Buy has been going through a tumultuous period, and CEO Hubert Joly is currently trying to turn the company around. In February, the company cut 400 Minnesota jobs at its headquarters as part of an “initial reduction” in a larger cost-cutting effort. Early signs of a successful turnaround have helped drive up the company's stock, which climbed 87 percent during the first three months of this year.