Samsung has thrown down another gauntlet in its battle with Apple. This time, the Korean electronics giant is going head-to-head with Apple stores by opening retail boutiques, called ‘Samsung Experience Shops,’ in 1,400 Best Buy locations by the beginning of June. Stores will start operating in all of Best Buy’s big-box stores by May 1 and at smaller stores by June 1, around the same time as the Galaxy S4’s release date in the second quarter of this year.
The new stores will join Samsung’s first prototype location in Lewisville, Texas. Samsung previously had no retail spaces of its own in the U.S. and its Best Buy stores are intended to help it grab customer eyeballs and dollars away from Apple and Microsoft’s own stores (Apple also has retail spaces in Best Buy). Each of Samsung’s boutiques will be about 460 square feet and offer Samsung smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and accessories. The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung’s spaces will be larger than Apple’s and allow customers to purchase Samsung items without having to go through the main checkout line.
Samsung hopes having its own boutique spaces will boost its brand recognition among U.S. customers and allow staffers to show how its smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs can work together, potentially boosting sales of devices. In turn, Best Buy may be able to gain an edge on competitors like Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and Target by offering boutiques where customers can see demos and try out products. Sales at Best Buy stores open for at least 14 months fell 2.9 percent last year, its third straight annual decline.