Samsung’s new flagship isn’t a store
Samsung last week opened a 55,000 square foot, three-story “flagship of the future” in Manhattan. While an array of digital experiences are on display, tech writers seemed most surprised that shoppers can’t take any Samsung products home with them.
Named after its address in the hip Meatpacking district, Samsung 837 is described as a “living lab and digital playground” that enables consumers to test products and personally experience the Samsung brand. While having a support center like Apple’s Genius Bar and staff guiding shoppers to Samsung’s “online purchasing portal,” no cash registers are available.
“We didn’t want it to be a store,” Zach Overton, general manager of Samsung 837, told Fast Company. “We didn’t want it to be about pushing products in people’s faces.”
Instead, the store features:
Screen & Mainstage: Heralded as the world’s largest multimedia display, a giant digital screen made from 96 55-inch TV sets stands in front of a 90-seat stadium-style theater. Content will range from live streams and demos, panels and presentations, and screenings. A private Oscars viewing was held last night.
The Gallery: This space features regularly commissioned, technology-based art installations. The first installation, “Social Galaxy,” shows individuals’ Instagram feed as they walk through a mirror-filled tunnel.
VR Tunnel: In this area, customers can experience Samsung’s Gear VR technology with curated content that explores travel, sports and family, or special events like festivals, sports and music, and demonstrations.
Studio: A see-through cube structure serves as an interactive hosting space for radio and podcast curators, DJ sets, live recordings, celebrity interviews and more.
Other areas include the “Kitchen,” with chef demonstrations; a “Playroom” equipped with family-focused gadgets; and a “Living Room” of smart products — all backed by workshops and events. A B2B-support spot and cafe are also available.
“[What] we’ve created is a playground where people can connect with Samsung technology, with our products, with our services in an interactive and immersive way,” Marc Mathieu, chief marketing officer at Samsung Electronics, North America, told Adweek. “We believe that this is the way the store of the future ought to look like.”
- Samsung 837 Opens Its Doors In The Heart of NYC Marking the First-of-its-Kind Cultural Destination, Digital Playground and Marketing Center of Excellence – Samsung
- Samsung’s new flagship NYC building isn’t a retail store at all – The Verge
- Samsung’s NYC Flagship Is More of an Interactive ‘Playground’ Than a Store – Adweek
- Samsung Is Opening A Massive Flagship Store That Doesn’t Stock Any Products – Fast Company
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What does Samsung gain from opening a flagship without POS terminals? Will showcase stores prove to be the best format for technology brands?