April 01, 2013, 11:34 AM — Samsung is reportedly planning to open a number of store-within-a-store operations at several Best Buy locations across the country, just in time for the U.S. launch of the Galaxy S4.
Samsung's initial sub-stores will appear at first only in high-traffic locations and will be positioned near the mobile section in the select Best Buy stores, according to Geek.com. The report alleges that the stores-within-a-store will be dressed in large Samsung signage. Specially trained Best Buy sales reps will staff demo stations of Samsung phones and tablets, Geek claims, emphasizing features that are unique to Samsung's products.
Branded Samsung areas in Best Buy stores could help the manufacturer further differentiate itself from the rest of the Android horde--tangibly so, when you consider that devices from other Android will be relegated to Best Buy's crowded shelves.
Best Buy and Samsung have not confirmed the report, however. If accurate, the timing of the stores would appear to coincide with the expected U.S. launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung hasn't announced an official release date for the next iteration of its flagship handset, but AT&T has already announced it would take pre-orders for the S4 starting April 16.
Another brick in the retail wall
Samsung's idea of plopping mini-stores down inside popular Best Buy locations is far from new. Actually, the concept has been around for awhile now, from the company Samsung has been accused of copying time and time again: Apple.
The dedicated Apple mini-stores found in some Best Buy locations also feature demo stations for products as well as specially trained staff, and if the retail stores Samsung opened in Australia last year are any indication, even more superficial similarities may abound.
Giving customers ample opportunity to touch and play with electronic devices before they commit to a two-year contract for a smartphone or a $500-plus tablet has been a boon for Apple, which has a sprawling 400-store retail operation alongside the Best Buy mini-stores.
Other consumer technology companies have picked up on the retail trend as well. Microsoft has opened 31 stores selling Windows software, computers, and phones since 2009, and bolstered its retail ranks by another 30 pop-up stores around the country to help push the launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet line. Google, which is already selling smartphones, tablets, and laptops under its own brand, is also reportedly considering launching retail stores.