Samsung sent out a press release on January 29th. the basic gist is, “Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced that it has signed a ‘preferred partner’ agreement with Carphone Warehouse Group plc to operate over 60 Samsung stand-alone stores across Europe. The agreement follows the successful opening in 2013 of three stand-alone stores in Spain, operated by Carphone Warehouse. The new stores will be rolled out in the next three months across seven European markets: UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands. The stores will have a premium look and feel and will sell Samsung mobile communications products across Samsung’s full range of mobiles, tablets, laptops and wearables.”
Does Samsung really think this will work? Look I don’t have an Apple store anywhere near me in West Virginia. The closest Apple Stores I have is in Kentucky and Ohio and both are over two hours away,however that didn’t stop me from buying four different Apple products from different stores and locations, if I want an Apple product they will make sure I can get it. Samsung is just as accessible to me. At the close of 2013 in Europe 68.8% of the market was dominated by Android with Samsung leading the pack. But why all the stores when you are already in the lead? Is it over kill? Is it going to be enough to compete with Apple’s 100 retailers in the EU?
So it’s the store not the product
The Galaxy 4 is a sweet phone and if I had to go back to Android that would probably be my choice, (Google Play Edition), but you’re buying up 60 stores across the EU will maybe give you a small bump in sales, probably around 1-2% but I guarantee that you will not make your money back on this in the mobile front, because you’re already winning! And updating the stores with a facelift? What does that mean?
Remember when Microsoft updated its stores? Yeah, they just copied Apple, and I’m not the only one do think so, do a web search and you’ll see the majority of reviews is the same belief so hopefully you’ll do better with your idea; however with all the lawsuits you’ve had for infringement I don’t really have high hopes that you’ll go that route.
Now I have never been in an Apple store or a Samsung store but from looking at the images online the stores that are already out look like an Apple store or the old Radio Shack stores from malls. Granted you don’t have a lot of room in those but be a little innovative- sorry, too soon with that last lawsuit loss?
I will give Samsung this much. That have a line of products that Apple will never equal, but it’s mainly the philosophy that Steve Jobs had when he came back of quality over quantity. Now you can fill up the Samsung stores with tv, radios, tablets and all that jazz. Doing that will help out in that aspect and you’ll get some money in that, especially if you drop all the prices for going in those stores as opposed to other retailers, however it won’t help you on the mobile market front.
Dress up your store the way you want. Add in all the pretty phones and have your own brand of “Genius Bar” employees, lower your prices to conquer the EU market, do whatever you must, however it all lies in the product. Apple products are viewed as premium products and not rip offs (though not all their ideas are their own, I’ll admit that), and sexy to consumers. In a way it is also viewed in some peoples eyes as social status. You’re not using a $200 Android tablet it’s an iPad. You’re not using and $500 bottom line PC you got from Walmart, it’s an iMac.
Of course the biggest weakness? Google. As hardcore as you want to make the specs on your phone you will always be tethered (see what I did there?) to the Android platform and you have to adhere to their system. However, make your own operating system and you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. But I can see the problems it will make in switching to your own system and that would mean more patents so it’s probably easier to just stick with Google and let them fight it out.
I have to honestly admit the only Android phones I hear about in real life is the Galaxy. That’s it. Galaxy vs iPhone. I hear nothing else when someone ask me what should they buy. So it leaves me to believe that most people really don’t care too much about what the Android is or what iOS is, it’s the phone.
Only time will tell
In the next few months this will all roll out and we’ll see how well it does. I’m sticking to my guns and saying that if Samsung is hoping that this plan will help them establish a strong enough foothold to hurt Apple in the mobile front in the EU then they are sadly mistaken. Apple is its own worse enemy in the EU and it’s their fault the sales are so weak because of the pricing but it’s not something Apple is concerned about or they would have fixed it by now.