Smart device powerhouse Samsung has opened a customer experience store in Nairobi, the largest such store in Africa. The Samsung Delite store, the second such store in Nairobi’s Central Business District, covers 4,045 square feet, and is built around the concept of improving customer experience through converging devices.
Located on Banda Street, the store focuses on Samsung’s Business Solutions, while showcasing the latest in consumer tech. Visitors to the store can interact with the devices while having coffee brewed at the in-house cappuccino machine.
“Nothing is more dynamic in this market than the consumer’s preferences. We have to keep on ensuring that our customer centers are not just stores that stock our products, but a place where we demonstrate how technology can transform lives and businesses”, said Simon Kariithi, head of Internet and Mobile at Samsung Electronics East Africa, at the launch.
Simon explained that the store was part of a move by Samsung to position itself at the heart of the customer experience, with multiple devices at multiple price points.
“Samsung is a lifestyle brand. There are phones for everyone, for those looking for the latest smartphones, to those looking for the ultimate virtual reality experience, and those who want a budget phone that gets the work done.”
While others are moving out of the device business, Samsung is digging deeper, with several devices, including the higher end S-series and the mid-range A and J series devices on show at the store.
The Korean manufacturer also used the store’s opening to officially introduce the Gear VR 2016 to Kenya. The Gear VR headset allows one to view high quality 360- and 180-degree video wirelessly from a compatible phones.
“The industry trend is for handset and device makers to leaning more towards the software side, outsourcing manufacturing to subcontractors, which means that there is a disconnect between the software and the hardware”, Simon explained. “This disconnect takes away from the customer experience on the whole.”
“In addition, some device manufacturers are opting to franchise their retail operations”, he added. “We’re not doing that. We are going the other way, and our commitment to the retail side of things is clear when you consider that this is the second store we are opening in Nairobi’s central business district.”
“Only about 5% of sales in Kenya are done online, with brick and mortar stores forming the bulk of device sales”, Simon added. “Consumers still want to walk into a shop and have a feel of the devices on display before they buy them. That’s why we have invested in this store.”
The Samsung Delite store is a huge gamble, but Simon and the staff are optimistic that it will pay off in the long run.
“The new experience center provides us with an opportunity to showcase how the technology at Samsung can be integrated to offer daily personal and business solutions”, Simon said, while pointing out his Gear smartwatch as an example. “It represents what Samsung wants to be, a lifestyle, not just a brand.”