Canadian Retailer Magazine | Digital Retail & Technology | Marketing & Merchandising | National

An immersive new retail reality

January 14, 2019
A fully functioning demo kitchen, equipped with a range of Samsung home appliances.
A fully functioning demo kitchen, equipped with a range of Samsung home appliances.

Samsung Canada is innovating, providing its customers with experiences that invite them to engage with the brand on all levels

BY SEAN C. TARRY

THE way consumer shop today is drastically different than the way they did only five years ago. And it continues to evolve as the digital transformation permeates, influencing and changing just about everything the retail industry touches. Yet, one thing that remains the same is the customer’s desire to interact with a brand and its products, giving retailers and brands the opportunity to provide experiences that meet this need.

Canadian Retailer sat down with Patricia Heath, Vice President, Retail Excellence, Samsung Canada, to find out how its CF Toronto Eaton Centre Samsung Experience Store (CF TEC SES) is allowing the brand to achieve that goal, and then some.

Canadian Retailer: What was the impetus behind the new Samsung store branding philosophy?

Patricia Heath: Our ongoing retail strategy is largely based on our commitment to helping Canadians discover, connect and reach their own passions through the power of curiosity. We’re inviting guests to connect our ecosystem and their passions through innovative experiences that will engage, educate, and entertain.

The CF TEC SES is simply unlike anything we have ever done before in Canada. It’s a defining example of our steadfast pursuit of premium, immersive retail innovation. We are constantly innovating with our technology as well as the ways it can be experienced. And we believe that curiosity is fundamental to unlocking our passions and potential. This is why we’ve designed our CF TEC SES to be a platform that excites people to explore and discover what they are most passionate about.

CR: How does the new store design of the Samsung stores help support enhanced service and an improved experience for the customer?

PH: Consumers need to see, touch and feel products to understand how they can seamlessly integrate technology into their lifestyle. They can do this like never before at our CF TEC SES as the store delights all five senses through showcases, events, experiences and demos. We want guests to experience the fully-customizable, fully-connected Samsung ecosystem from the moment they walk through the door.

Though Samsung has over 3,400 retail locations worldwide, people may not think of us as a traditional retailer. Our TEC SES is one of a very few select Samsung stores globally that sells every product within the Samsung ecosystem—home appliances, consumer electronics, mobile, and more. We offer a fullyfunctioning Samsung demo kitchen, interactive Samsung Gear VR and Gear360 zones, the full range of Samsung smartphones and tablets, and a TV Experience Zone showcasing Samsung design innovations like The Frame. We also have onsite, expertly trained customer service consultants and technicians to provide education, troubleshooting and repairs.

CR: How does Samsung hope the customer interacts within the new store design?

PH: For the 50 million annual guests that visit the CF TEC, the intention is for CF TEC SES to be a dynamic and inspirational destination. We want to connect guests to hands-on experiences with new products that can empower their daily lives. We leverage our entire ecosystem of products to explore new methods of retail immersion alongside our partners to provide a uniquely customized experience for each guest.

We are committed to delivering elevated customer experiences through a space that opens up a world of possibilities and inspires, while empowering guests to connect with whatever makes them most curious about the world. The store offers an extensive calendar of events including innovative, premium and entertaining sessions with a variety of local partners and charities.

CR: Given that the focus of the new store concept is on showcasing and informing about the product rather than simply selling the product, what kind of metrics are being used to measure its success? And what does Samsung anticipate based on these metrics?

PH: We listen to our guests, gather their feedback, and leverage their insights to take a holistic approach that will deliver what our guests want from our brand.

For example, one of our recent visitor surveys that followed a special event hosted by a well-known Toronto chef informed us that 62 per cent of respondents were very likely to recommend a product featured at an event; 29 per cent were likely to. Taking that into consideration, our strategy and planning teams can understand how we best engage the Samsung ecosystem in our events for a natural approach that will resonate with consumers. We continue to see, and hear, about the importance of experience within our consumer journey at our CF Toronto Eaton Centre location—truly driving purchase consideration. This is just one such example, but represents the type of qualitative knowledge, and understanding, we glean from our visitors.

CR: Looking ahead two to three years, what does the future of the Samsung store experience look like?

PH: We are focused on the evolution of the CF TEC SES and look forward to having even more Canadians experience it for themselves. We are committed to bringing all Canadians closer to the Samsung ecosystem through innovative and elevated experiences—be it through retail, product launches or events.

We are continuing to evolve the operation and design of the CF TEC SES all the time. Samsung retail innovation delivers premium experiences that invite discovery, and as we continue to reimagine ways to delight our consumers, we are able to glean new data and insights that will inform future strategies.

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