After unveiling its direct-to-consumer store concept in Sydney last year, Samsung opened its second Experience Store in Australia this morning in Melbourne’s Highpoint shopping centre.
With a 380 square metre sales floor footprint, the store is significantly larger than its George Street counterpart in Sydney and features a number of new display areas, most notably, a section dedicated to TV and AV products. There are also Galaxy-branded tables devoted to Smart Cameras, tablets, laptops and even a brightly-coloured “Play Zone” for kids.
In another first for Australia, the store also featured a showcase for the new Galaxy Note 8.0, with consumers able to get up close with some of the first stock to hit Australian shores. The Wi-Fi only version is available for pre-sale from today and is expected to be in-store from the second week of April, while a 4G version is set to arrive in May.
Attending the store opening were Samsung Electronics Australia’s managing director S.R. Yoon, who presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony, director of audio visual Brad Wright and Samsung Australia’s vice president of telecommunications, Tyler McGee.
According to McGee, the new location was chosen following feedback from consumers calling for a store in Melbourne. As to the Highpoint location (roughly 10 kilometres north-west of the Melbourne CBD), McGee said the timing was just right after a recent refurbishment of the suburban shopping centre.
McGee said the new Experience Store was all about allowing consumers to “engage” with the Samsung brand and to get a feel for how the brand’s products work and complement each other.
“The George Street store is doing fantastic for us, consumers are really engaging with it and we’re really happy with the results we’re getting from the store,” said McGee. “But we’ve discovered a few key things.
“First of all, consumers want to engage with Samsung and experience our hero devices. Not just from the mobile and tablet side, but also from our AV side. So we needed a larger footprint to showcase some of our larger products.
“Consumers also want to understand how our Smart TVs work with our tablets, with our smartphones with our cameras. So we’ve allocated more space for that. And finally, when it comes to training, we found that we haven’t enough space in our George Street store for training and our Samsung tutors, so we’ve made more space for that here and for our customer service.”
The Melbourne store is essentially an evolution of George Street, with bigger displays and bright point of sale, and thematic areas dedicated to customer service, signing up for a mobile plan, learning about apps or after-sales training for customers wanting to learn more about their new product.
There is a chance that the Highpoint Experience Store will be used as a blueprint for future store rollouts, now that Samsung appears to have found its groove with layout and size. However, McGee said the brand was not focused on rolling out a set number of stores but rather focusing on quality.
“The bottom line is we don’t have a fixed number saying we’ll have ‘X’ number of stores,” he said. “It really is consumer led and driven,” he said. “So based on feedback from other parts of Australia, we’ll then make decisions on whether we do or don’t expand.
“So why Melbourne? When we opened the Sydney store, the largest number of people that came forward through our Facebook page, through our social media, through email and our call centre, the largest number of people asking for a similar store were from Melbourne. So that’s why we came to Melbourne as our second store in Australia.
“We’ll monitor that now this store is open and see what kind of feedback we get from other locations around Australia. We’ll base our decisions on that.”