Samsung said on Wednesday that Best Buy has begun rolling out Samsung Experience Shops nationwide, starting with New York’s Union Square Best Buy store. This particular mini-shop was unveiled in a special ceremony by JK Shin, CEO and President of IT and Mobile Business at Samsung; Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy; and Tim Baxter, President of Samsung Electronics America. Bruno Mars was also on hand.
These dedicated mini-stores will be installed in more than 1,400 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile specialty stores across the U.S. by early summer. It's Samsung's obvious attempt to tackle Apple and its brick-and-mortar stores without having to actually erect a building. Customers can get a hands-on with a large number of products seemingly without any influence from competing products sold in Best Buy.
On Wednesday Samsung also noted that the Experience Shops are beginning to open just in time for the official launch of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 which arrives in the U.S. starting Saturday, April 27.
"On launch day, shoppers can line up at Samsung Experience Shops nationwide to experience the device’s suite of innovations that will change how consumers interact with a smartphone and deliver an experience that enhances everyday activities and is safe for work," the company said. "The Galaxy S 4 uniquely makes advanced technologies and features easy to use by integrating them into the way individuals use their phones every day."
Products Samsung will showcase in its Experience Shops include smartphones, tablets, laptops, Smart TVs, cameras and accessories. Tablets include the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and 10.1, and the Galaxy Note 10.1, among others. Laptops will include the Series 5 Ultrabook, the Series 9 Ultrabook, and several other non-Ultrabook models.
"This opening of the Samsung Experience Shop at Best Buy is a key illustration of the Best Buy Renew Blue strategy," CEO Hubert Joly said at the NYC launch event. "This is a very meaningful development from the customer standpoint. It is an opportunity to touch, feel, and learn about great products and how they work together."
News of Samsung planning to build stores within Best Buy arrived earlier this month. Ketrina Dunagan, the Samsung VP heading the company's retail effort, told AllThingsD that 70-percent of consumers live within ten miles of a Best Buy store. The company originally considered constructing its own stores, but decided that partnering with Best Buy was more appealing. She also noted that Samsung's in-store gadget cave will be larger than Apple's own smaller store-within-a-store setup already installed in many Best Buy locations.
The deal between Best Buy and Samsung was reportedly made back in December, and the companies plan to have 900 Samsung shops built and ready to serve by May -- the entire rollout is expected to be completed by June. Each one will feature two to four tables stocked full of Samsung gadgets, and staffed with Best Buy personnel and "experienced consultants" hired by Samsung.