Samsung’s new Bing Lee appliance concept creates ‘Total Retail’ offering

Samsung is taking demonstration to new levels with the launch of a new store fit out concept dedicated to home appliances. Spread over 90 square metres, the display features home appliances from across Samsung’s mid- to high-end product range, all of which are powered up and plumbed in to be in full working order.

The display is the first of its kind from Samsung, and has been installed in Bing Lee’s Rhodes store in Sydney, roughly 15 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD.

According to Samsung Electronics Australia’s director of home appliances, Mike Lilly, the display represents a “culmination” of Samsung’s research into consumer shopping behaviour, and one that is designed to meet all the major “touchpoints” of the retail experience.

Speaking to Appliance Retailer, Lilly said the display was designed to offer consumers the complete experience when shopping for appliances.

“It’s all of our home appliances — so we have fridges, washers, microwaves, vacuums, and dishwashers on the stand — and every one of those products is working,” said Lilly. “Even the washing machines are working, so someone can come in and push a button and see the product draw water in and go into the Bubble Wash cycle, for example.

“We’re putting products in there but we’re also putting a lot of devices around to help sell the products, as well as people on the floor. So every product has a little tablet with information on how the product works next to it and there are screens around with multimedia information. They’re laid out in a way that allows you to easily shop around.

“And then if you want, you can sit down, have a coffee and get some advice while you browse further with some of the tablets we have on the benches throughout the display.”

The display includes a mixture of more traditional rows of products as well as in situ installations designed to give shoppers a better sense of how the products would work at home. It is this ‘real world’ element to the display that is essential to selling appliances, according to Lilly.

“It’s very important to have people be able to see the appliances in the environment they’re meant to be in,” he said. “Home appliances are hard to display visually compared to AV products, in the fact that a lot of the technology goes into the mechanics behind it, so I think if we can get them working and get them turned on, then that’s lifting the experience to a new level. Seeing that whole home appliance ecosystem is going to be very beneficial [for consumers].”

In the current retail climate, it is this experiential element that is vital for both retailers and suppliers to maintain a competitive edge. Although Lilly conceded the retail space is changing, he said consumers are still looking for a good experience when they come into a bricks and mortar store.

“We know consumers do their research online, but it’s very important for them to come into a store to touch and feel and trial, and then get that expert advice from what is really the most trusted source — the floor salesperson. This is essentially bringing that all together into one retail experience for the shopper.

“We operate in what I call a total retail environment,” he added. “I think we tend to put the different ways people buy into silos, but we have to think about it as an overall experience. So every facet of the purchase experience — be it online, catalogue, direct marketing or in-store — they’re all important and they’re all part of the decision process, more so now than they have been in the past.

“I think there has to be that recognition that the last three feet is still the most important part of the decision process, but there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that has been done by the consumer before they walk into the store.”

While Rhodes was chosen as the pilot site, thanks to “great foot traffic” in the shopping centre and recognition that Bing Lee is a “leader” in the retail space, after a year spent developing the new display concept Samsung will be looking to expand into other stores.

“For us, the retail solution is extremely important, so we’re certainly having conversations around how we expand what we’re doing,” said Lilly.

“It’s important that we get it right because the intention is obviously to encourage people into the home appliance section, to encourage them to purchase and then, wherever possible, to use the experience as an opportunity to upgrade products.”

While Lilly recognised that many appliance sales are “grudge purchases” he said that more and more consumers are coming into stores looking for more something extra from their appliance purchase.

“Everyone has a fridge that they walk past every day,” Lilly said by way of example, “and style is a really important factor in home appliances, as well as performance. So whether it’s a fingerprint-resistant stainless finish, a larger screen on the front of the fridge or a new design of washing machine, there’s more and more going into the product to make it look and feel great.”

Samsung is clearly investing in the home appliance space, both in terms of new products and retail executions, and it is an investment that looks likely to pay dividends. With the head of JB Hi-Fi Home, Terry Smart, recently valuing the category at $4.6 billion, and Mike Lilly saying that home appliances are worth more globally than both AV and mobile phones, Samsung’s new retail display concept is likely to be just the beginning of a greater focus on appliances in electrical stores.

Check out Appliance Retailer’s image gallery of Samsung’s new set-up at Bing Lee Rhodes.

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