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Best Buy Adding Samsung Appliance Shops

MINNEAPOLIS — In its latest move to revitalize its sales floors and share the cost of showroom space, Best Buy has once again partnered with Samsung, this time with a dedicated in-store shop for majaps.

The new department, dubbed “Samsung Open House,” showcases the vendor’s top white-goods introductions from CES 2015 with the aid of floor models, specially-trained Blue Shirts, and an 85-inch, interactive touchscreen display.

The in-store shops began appearing in Chicago and Minneapolis Best Buy stores in early June and are rolling out to other select markets, including Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, Texas, and Union, N.J., through the balance of the year. Best Buy’s hometown Star Tribune newspaper put the total number of installations at about 200.

“Technology has become a major part of appliances, and the Samsung Open House will give customers a first-hand view of the amazing innovation in these products,” explained Kevin Balon, Best Buy’s appliances senior VP. “By showcasing top-of-the-line appliances and letting consumers interact virtually … we will assure our customers they are getting products that fit their needs the best.”

Featured products include the Flex Duo dual-door oven with two independent cooking cavities; the counter- depth four-door Flex refrigerator with a compartment that can serve as a freezer or fridge; the WaterWall dishwasher, a 2014 introduction that uses a sweeping vs. spraying water motion; the Activewash top load washer with built-in sink; and the POWERbot VR9000 robotic vacuum cleaner.

Samsung’s complete appliance portfolio can be accessed via the life-size “CenterStage” display, which provides an interactive virtual tour of the product line with photos, videos and custom features, Best Buy said.

John Herrington, Samsung’s home appliance senior VP/general manager, told TWICE during a recent interview that the displays “are fun, educational and allow shoppers to see their appliances in different settings.” (See TWICE, June 15.)

The partners said the Open House areas represent the largest dedicated in-store branded display of Samsung appliances in the country. They are designed to streamline the majap purchasing process and “inspire consumers to explore and engage with the latest Samsung innovations, helping them make an informed buying decision,” the companies said.

The new sections represent Best Buy’s third series of Samsung-branded Experience Shops following the debut of mobile departments in 2013 and home theater areas last year.

“Samsung and Best Buy understand how critical it is for shoppers to touch, see and experience new appliance innovations, and Samsung Open House makes that a reality,” the retailer said.

Samsung’s new appliance line is also being touted in a series of TV spots featuring Hollywood couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard.

“We’re pulling all the levers to continue building awareness of our brand name, and its association with great product, to draw more customers into showrooms and onto websites,” Herrington said during the TWICE interview. “Because once they’re there, we convert very strongly from a visual and feature perspective.”

Samsung’s home appliance business is under pressure from Seoul to boost U.S. market share from its No. 5 position behind Whirlpool, GE, Kenmore and LG, as Samsung Electronics president/CEO B.K. Yoon pushes to become the world’s largest majap maker by revenue.