In Barcelona this week Samsung had a giant booth-like structure at Plaza Catalunya where they showed off the 5.3″ and 10.1″ Galaxy Notes. The lines were massive the entire week this structure was in place and the manager told me they closed the line down a full two hours before closing due to the fact there are only nine artists working at once. I would say the store and the atrium would fit about 100 people or so.
Aside from Apple-like displays of devices on white tables there were also many artists “painting” caricatures of the visitors. These caricatures were then printed on t-shirts and you can see one below of one of the people working in the store.
Samsung has spent a great deal of money advertising these devices both at the MWC show and on the streets so I would say this was a successful branding exercise. Moreover the crowd in the store was very young – similar to what you would see in a typical Apple store. There was also great techno music playing and a stand for a DJ – he or she wasn’t there at the time I visited.
This is how a shirt looks when they are done
Below is how the devices are presented. Notice that Samsung uses tables but the devices are placed on an angled platform where users aren’t forced to bend over to use the device. They have certainly one-upped Apple from this perspective.
Also notice the bag above the display which is what you are given to hold your t-shirt when you leave the store.
The question worth asking is whether Samsung’s aggressive marketing campaign is going to yield enough sales to force Tim Cook to reconsider Apple’s stance on not participating in trade shows in any substantial way. Sure, Apple has incredible stores which actually allow you to purchase products – so from that perspective you could argue they have one-upped Samsung.
One wonders if the Samsung is going to have to reconsider having stores like the Experience store in New York where you aren’t allowed to purchase anything. In other words, it seems logical that Samsung is going to have to get into retail.
Disclosure: I own Apple shares.