Samsung is expanding its retail presence in the United States with three locations set to open next week in Los Angeles, New York and Houston. While the company has previously organized pop-up stores around the country and opened an experiential space in New York City in 2016, the move marks the first effort to sell its smartphones and other products directly to U.S. consumers.
The company plans to open Samsung Experience Stores at The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles; Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York; and The Galleria in Houston. The stores will open the same day Samsung reveals its Galaxy S10 and foldable smartphones during a press event in San Francisco on Feb. 20. It also says more pop-up stores will be coming to malls around the country starting next month.
“Our new Samsung Experience Stores are spaces to experience and see Samsung technology brought to life, to empower people to do what they never thought was possible before,” YH Eom, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics America, said in a prepared statement. “We want to build a ‘playground’ for Samsung fans--a place to learn about and try out all of the amazing new products we have to offer.”
At the new stores, visitors will be able to purchase Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, tablets, wearables, TVs and other smart devices. The shops will also give visitors an opportunity to get hands-on experience with products and participate in demonstrations with Samsung staffers. Customer support and walk-in repairs on mobile devices will also be available.
The effort is very much a reflection of new opportunities Samsung sees in the market and follows a model that has been incredibly effective for Apple, which opened its first retail store in 2001. Samsung has a long way to catch up to Apple. The iPhone maker has opened 506 retail stores to date, including 272 in the United States and 234 around the world.
The lack of a retail presence in the United States hasn’t hampered Samsung’s efforts, but it could improve its ability to reach customers more directly. The world’s largest phone maker has thus far relied on carriers and other retailers to push its devices to consumers. The South Korean conglomerate is scheduled to hold a major press event for its 10th-anniversary flagship smartphone and its first foldable smartphone on Feb. 20.