Samsung to launch experience centre

Venkatesh Ganesh Bengaluru | Updated on September 11, 2018 Published on September 11, 2018

Samsung is taking lessons from Apple’s Playbook on how to sell experiences rather than devices

Opera House, which was a movie theatre, could be at the heart of Samsung’s next battleground in India to recapture its lead in the smartphones segment.

The Korean electronics giant is facing competition from a host of Chinese phone makers, such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and OnePlus, across all categories. Both OnePlus and Vivo launched experience centres, 50 m from Opera House on Bengaluru’s Brigade Road.

Battle for acquistion

The battle for customer acquisition in the technology space, according to the companies, is through the launch of such ‘experience shops’.

“The customer is evolving and wants an experience rather than a sales person trying to shove it down his throat,” Mohandeep Singh, Senior V-P, Mobile business, Samsung India told BusinessLine.

The 33,000 sq ft movie theatre, leased by Samsung, will house almost all of its products —from the Galaxy Note 9 to UHD TVs and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This development also comes close on the heels of Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh reiterating that India is one of its key markets, with 5G and IoT set to drive future growth with its range of smartphones.

According to research firm IDC, smartphone shipments grew by 20 per cent, touching 33.5 million in the June quarter, with Xiaomi having an almost 30 per cent market share with 10 million units; Samsung, with a 23.9 per cent share or eight million units; followed by Vivo with 12.6 per cent share or 4.2 million units.

Engaging customers

One of the key reasons for Xiaomi’s success is its engagement with phone buyers. Since its entry into India in 2014, Xiaomi has prioritised customer feedback.

“The community, whether online or through our meet-ups, has been a key ingredient to our success,” Manu Jain, MD of Xiaomi India told BusinessLine.

“We are looking at this as a playground, a melting pot for like-minded people and building communities, which can go beyond selling a product,” said Singh. In the pipeline are screening of movies, musicals, bringing venture capitalists together to interact with start-ups, among other things.

In India, mass and mid-price phones rule the roost and it is here that Xiaomi and others have led the onslaught on the Korean major. Industry watchers see this move as a counter-attack. “By building community, Samsung is also taking lessons from Apple’s Playbook on how to sell experiences rather than devices,” said an analyst from a multinational research firm.

Published on September 11, 2018
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