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Near the end of March, we reported that Samsung was planning to emulate Apple’s store-within-a-store model at select Best Buy locations. It seems the initial roll-out has finished, as Samsung is promoting the mini-stores — called “Samsung Experience Shops” — in emails being sent out to customers this morning.

You can use a Web page set up by Best Buy to see if your nearest store has a Samsung Experience Shop inside. Based on the number of locations I’m seeing, not every Best Buy will have one. For example, Pennsylvania only has twelve total stores with a Samsung Experience Shop. Two of those are located in close proximity to my city, Harrisburg, so I’m hoping to get to one in the next day or two to snap some photos.

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The Samsung Experience Shop will let customers play with the Galaxy S4 and learn how it works with other Samsung devices.

Best Buy is really pushing the benefits of such a setup. The splash page for the Samsung Experience Shop touts “Unparalleled service” and the ability to “See how the latest products work together.” Really, those are the same benefits that the Apple stores-within-stores provide and, along with Apple’s own retail locations, are a big part of why the company’s products feel like they’re on a different plane than products from competing manufacturers. Long story short: Samsung was wise to follow Apple in this regard.

It’s interesting how the dynamics have changed in the mobile market — at least for smartphones. Ever since the iPhone’s arrival, we’ve had that iconic device dominating a muddled pack of Android and Windows-based devices with no clear leader. Samsung’s Galaxy line of devices — and its willingness to innovate with its own software and services, not just crapware — helped it quickly pick up a lot of the market. And now when you walk into certain Best Buy stores, you’ll see an Apple mini-store and a Samsung mini-store battling for customer attention.

If Samsung enjoyed as much success in the tablet market as it does with smartphones, Apple would have a whole lot to worry about. For now, the company simply must defend its territory on the smartphone front. The Samsung Experience Shop is something Apple can’t take lightly, as it means the value of the Samsung brand is increasing. Apple will have to work harder to make its products more desirable than Samsung’s offerings, and Samsung will work to better Apple’s products. Regardless of who comes out on top, consumers win.

Will you be stopping to check out a Samsung Experience Shop at your local Best Buy? If so, let us know what you think.


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