Over the past eight years, South Korea’s Samsung has been expanding its retail presence by opening standalone stores in major Canadian markets. This month the company opened its first storefront in Quebec — its sixth in Canada — and more locations are expected in the coming years.
NEW SAMSUNG SHOWROOMS ARE DESIGNED FOR CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT WITH BRAND IN DEDICATED ‘ECOSYSTEM’
Patricia Heath, Vice-President of Retail Excellence at Samsung Canada, said that the retail showrooms are intended to be places where consumers can engage with the brand in a dedicated ‘ecosystem’. That includes learning about products as well as an opportunity for one-on-one customer support. The retail spaces also act to foster “relationships over transactions” she said, also driving sales to Samsung’s wholesale partners and e-commerce website.
The store expansion began with a location in suburban Vancouver in 2012 and more locations are expected to open in Canada in the coming years. The newest Samsung retail space recently opened at the Montreal Eaton Centre in downtown Montreal, spanning about 2,900 square feet on the main level of the mall between a recently opened Pandora store and a Uniqlo flagship store that will open in October.
NEW SAMSUNG LOCATION FIRST IN CANADA TO FEATURE MODULAR FIXTURES
Ms. Heath explained that the store is the first in Canada to feature modular fixtures as well as an updated design that allows for a cross-merchandising opportunity with Samsung’s Galaxy products showcased. Successful elements from the Montreal store will be rolled-out into other locations.
The Montreal store carries Samsung’s range of products including the all-new Galaxy Note20 Series 5G which the company says are “productivity powerhouses that works like a PC and lets you game like a pro”. Other products carried in the store include an expansive assortment of smartphones, wearables, and tablets.
“The focus is on making sure that our retail spaces are actualizing omni-experiences,” said Ms. Heath. Consumers can order products online and pick them up in the store. Another benefit to the stores are product servicing opportunities including one-on-one support for eduction as well as setting up a device such as a new phone.
On-site service and trained ‘Galaxy Consultants’ are available to answer questions and provide technical support and repairs for mobile products. Appointment-based shopping is available in order to accommodate shoppers concerned about health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The showroom model is used by other retailers such as Apple, with stores acting as education and service centres while at the same time driving sales online as well as at partner retailers. Dyson, Canada Goose, and other brands are also using physical showrooms to engage with consumers — the physical space helps to create a sense of legitimacy for the brand.
MORE SAMSUNG SHOWROOMS ARE EXPECTED FOR CANADIAN MARKET
More Canadian Samsung stores are expected according to Ms. Heath, though the expansion will be methodical and based on opportunity. The company’s first Canadian retail store, spanning 1,500 square feet, opened in the spring of 2012 at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby. A second store followed in February of 2014, when Samsung opened a 1,900-square-foot unit at CF Richmond Centre, also in suburban Vancouver (which subsequently closed). A 2,200-square-foot West Edmonton Mall store followed in November of 2014, and a 2,535-square-foot CF Sherway Gardens store in Toronto followed in November of 2015. In the fall of 2016, Samsung opened a 3,345-square-foot space at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. In January of 2018, Samsung’s largest retail store in Canada, by far, opened at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto spanning more than 21,000 square feet over two levels.