Samsung has long been mocked (to start with Apple) because the Korean conglomerate keeps selling both commodity products such as vacuum cleaners or refrigerators and high-end digital devices like smartphones. Many experts say that a brand can’t be cool and desirable unless it sells only cool and desirables stuffs. OK, it makes sense.
As Samsung had not made inroads into innovative retail experiments as well, we could have the feeling that the brand was doomed to stay far behind Apple, in terms of brand image.
Ready to change your mind ?
Samsung has recently opened a Flasghsip store in the Meatpacking District in NYC. To tell the truth, it is a “non-store” because you can’t buy any products there. You can just do it online.
This “non-store” is called “Samsung 837″ (referring to its location on 837 Washington Street). Cool and catchy nickname.
What are we talking about ?
- A 37,000 square-foot space on 3 stores,
- Apart from a coffee, nothing can be bought offline,
- Samsung 837 is being billed as a “cultural destination” and a “digital playground” at the same time dedicated to showcase and display a wide range of Samsung products in immersive and spectacular settings. A place where living an experience is not an empty promise.
Let’s embark on a guided tour.
- The main floor is dominated by a video screen as tall as the interior and billed as the world’s largest digital display. In a former post about Apple”s new store design concept recently unveiled in Memphis, we were impressed by the size of the giant screen inside – see the post Here. In NYC, Samsung is pushing the boundaries a step further.
- An amphitheater is also displayed on the ground floor to set-up live cultural and professional events.
- The concept of immersion is a key piece of 837’s pitch. A rotating gallery space for art installations is currently occupied by an exhibit called “Social Gallery“. In it, a visitor can input their Instagram account name and walk through a reflective tunnel where 153 Samsung screens display photos, captions and hashtags sourced from that account. Afterward, you can take a selfie and have it flash up on the main video screen as a mosaic of Instagram photos.
- The VR Tunnel is another feature that is worth a tour. Thanks to the Samsung VR Gear, you can live an experience in which you are the hero.
- On the second floor, Samsung’s “genius bar” makes it confortable to get in touch with the brand associates while treating yourself with a hot drink. Much warmer atmosphere than in Apple stores, don’t you think ?
- Domestic appliances are showcased through Ikea-like products staging.
As you may have imagined, Samsung 837 has attracted massive flows of experts and journalists. They’ve all considered that Samsung has proved its creativity and boldness. The curated content experiences are numerous and brilliant.
The only slight disappointment arose from the kind of lack of cultural events set-up so far in the space.
Samsung as many other global leading brand are also expected to be able to generate cultural contents to get the most out of their devices. The cooler the brand, the higher the expectations…