Samsung installing 'Experience shops' within Best Buy stores

Some 900 stores will be opening by May

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As it battles Apple on many fronts, Samsung is rolling out its own American retail presence.

The Korean electronics giant is opening 1,400 Samsung Experience shops within Best Buy stores, partnering with the Minneapolis retailer.

A Samsung Experience shop opened this week in the Best Buy at 4650 First Ave. NE in Cedar Rapids, according to Carly Morris of Best Buy. A similar shop will open by the end of the week in the Best Buy at Coral Ridge Mall, 1431 Coral Ridge Ave.

Morris said a Samsung Experience shop is expected to open in mid- to late May at the Best Buy in Waterloo, at 2541 Crossroads Blvd.

Samsung and Best Buy quietly have been testing the concept for the past few weeks at stores in Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis. The shops feature two to four tables of Samsung tablets, phones, cameras and laptops, along with a help desk and a wall of accessories.

Morris said the shops will be staffed with Samsung-employed "experience consultants" trained on the company's products as well as Best Buy sales personnel. Samsung employees will be able to handle software upgrades and some hardware issues, but will not be able to perform out-of-warranty hardware repairs.

Samsung shops in large stores are roughly 450 square feet, but the size of the store at each location will depend on the overall layout and size of the Best Buy store, Morris said. In some cases, the Samsung shop is located in two areas at the front and center of Best Buy.

Morris said about 900 stores will be opening by May, with the remainder projected by the end of June.

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