April 5, 2013, 5:34 PM

Best Buy gets tight with Samsung

Best Buy is launching dedicated shops for Samsung.

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Shoppers headed to BestBuy.com in search of Samsung product will soon be able to shop items from the manufacturer in a special online store within the e-retailer's web site.

The Samsung Experience online shop will offer product images, details, comparisons and reaviews of Samsung tablets, smartphones, laptops and accessories. When consumers check out from the online store, they also will be presented with recommendations of other Samsung products to complement their purchases, such as a tablet case if a shopper is buying a tablet.

Best Buy and Samsung also announced yesterday plans to put Samsung Experience Shops in 1,400 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores, beginning this month. The retail chain also plans to offer online support of Samsung mobile products and accessories in the second quarter.

It’s all part of what Best Buy calls its ”Renew Blue” transformation strategy, which includes combatting showrooming, or store shoppers viewing products in physical stores and then buying online. With more options to buy hot products like Samsung mobile devices in store and online, Best Buy says it hopes to capture sales before shoppers click to another retailer online, or use their smartphones in stores to find better prices on the web.

“The stores create a destination where consumers can experience Samsung’s extensive mobile ecosystem of products and learn how they work together from dedicated Samsung expert,” Best Buy, No. 11 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide,  says. 900 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile specialty stores will feature the Samsung Experience Shop by early May, with the remainder launching by early summer.

In the stores, shoppers will be able to interact with and buy Samsung products. Additionally, some Best Buy stores will offer what best Buy calls Samsung Smart Service, which includes help from trained Samsung specialists. The specialists will assist with product demonstrations, basic product services, Samsung account set up, warranty registration and post purchase support.

The shops vary in size, with the largest being approximately 460 square feet. Within the larger shops, the stores will feature a Samsung Connected Solutions area where customers can see how Samsung devices can connect and share content across multiple screens.

In one store in Richfield, MN, where the retailer is based, Best Buy widened the aisles, reduced the height of fixtures and built a centralized station to promote the latest products. In another move to stop showrooming, Best Buy also said in February that it would match online prices and store prices at competing stores. It will match prices set by all local retailers as well as 19 major online retail competitors, including Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. The Renew Blue plan also includes adding new levels of personalization to BestBuy.com.

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