Today’s FT is reporting that…
Samsung is opening 60 stores across Europe to sell its mobile phones, tablets, laptops and wearable technology in partnership with Carphone Warehouse, the UK retailer. By working with Carphone Warehouse to create a store concept, the South Korean technology group will compete directly with Apple, whose flagship high-street shops have boosted sales for the US group – and strengthened its brand among less technology-focused customers.
This is either a car crash waiting to happen. Or it’s a brilliantly inspired move that’s been long, long overdue.
My first instinct was to consider a true Samsung store to be rather exciting. Only last weekend I was admiring a rather stunning Samsung refrigerator belonging to some friends we were visiting. It was seriously smart — not only was it plumbed into the water supply (with a filter!), it also had a little mini door within a door to enable quick access to milk or similar items.
I’m all over Samsung’s mobile offering, but I’m less aware of their wider product range. So a Samsung dedicated store is something that makes a lot of sense to me. The cross fertilisation opportunities of such a store could be rather profound.
But this deal above is just ‘mobileish’ — so phones, tablets, laptops and wearable jazz. I can see why — because Carphone is the partner.
If I am looking at a new Galaxy — and if I’m one of the many millions of happy Galaxy users, I’ll probably be keen to pop in at least once a year to have a look. And whilst I’m there you could be wowing me with your TVs, Fridges and baby monitors.
The FT article reckons Samsung is planning 60 new stores for Europe, a quarter (i.e. 15) of which will be UK based. The fundamental challenge for both Samsung and Carphone will be to do a decent job of these dedicated stores: If you’ve been into one of the tired Carphone stores, you’ll know what I mean. Some stores are perfectly fine, but others are filled with worn out shelves showing off rubbish plastic phones hanging by twisted security wires. I hope that’s not what they’re planning, or what the stores will become.