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Samsung’s Best Buy Move — We Should Have Seen It Coming

In going through the many news and blog alerts in my email address this morning, much has been written since late last week about Samsung’s deal to open departments of its products in Best Buy.

I could bore you with the many links, but the stories/blogs fall in the following camps: It is a brilliant move by both Best Buy and Samsung; it is a move by Samsung to threaten the Apple departments in Best Buy; it is a terrible move for Samsung due to all the added expense; and it is an old-fashioned idea taken from department stores that will never work.

That last point is the only one I will take serious issue with. It may be old-fashioned, but it just may work because it is easier for consumers. It also may begin the process of not just selling products, but selling systems of any category of CE products.

But my real point is: We should have seen this coming.

When the death-knell of Best Buy began last spring by just about everyone, one of the questions was, “What are they going to do with all the real estate inside their stores that used to sell CDs, DVDs and video games?”

Well, Best Buy could have taken a page from Woolworth’s and open a lunch counter, but didn’t.

One subject of conversation in the industry floating around a year or more ago was the expectation of some major brands opening their own stores, a la Apple and to a certain extent Sony, an idea that was shot down by many.

The Samsung Experience outlet in the Time Warner Building in New York closed Dec. 31, 2011, and it seemed to be another indication that major CE brands would not open retail stores. But … maybe Samsung learned something about dealing with customers at the New York showroom and thinks it can translate that into the departments in Best Buy.

Not to mention that Video & Audio Center of Santa Monica, Calif., has branded departments in its stores that are successful and get regular visits from top execs at Sony, LG and Sharp, among others.

Who knows — we may see more CE branded departments in Best Buy, and other outlets, if these experiments prove to be successful.