LOS ANGELES -- After last week's unveiling of the Galaxy S23 smartphone series and Book 3 laptop lineup at this year’s unpacking event in San Francisco, electronic device shoppers and tech aficionados flocked to a Samsung shop in Glendale, in the heart of Los Angeles, on Friday.
Situated at the Americana at Brand shopping complex, the Samsung Experience Store is a two-story building with a 1,034 square meter floor space that was opened in February 2019 alongside two other stores located in New York and Houston. So far, there are five stores across the country.
Unlike other Samsung-branded stores, SES allows visitors to explore the tech company’s various products and services and receive instant solutions. An average of 650 people visit the LA store per day, with 4,500 visitors per week. Due to the nature of being located in a wealthy area, the venue is more popular among premium device shoppers, according to the store manager.
What stood out the most when walking toward the LA store was its location. The Samsung venue was directly across from an Apple Store, with a fountain situated in the middle. Within five minutes walking distance of each other, both stores displayed eye-catching products in an attempt to draw visitors inside.
“In addition to the pre-order benefits, we’re currently having a ‘trade-in’ promotion, where customers can receive $120 worth of trade-in value when changing from other branded phones. … In particular, the crossover rate among iPhone users is getting high since we give a compensation worth $375 to them (when changing to Samsung phones),” another Samsung official said.
Following its “Share the Epic” tagline, the SES pursues the three best experiences of products, shopping and service for customers. A total of 38 devices in a wide range of colors were displayed for a hands-on interactive experience on the first floor, but the second floor was under renovation for more services, according to the Samsung official.
The venue also provides the “buy online, pickup in-store” service as demand for faster device takeover has increased amid logistics challenges in the country during COVID-19. An on-site repair service is also available, the official added.
When a Korea Herald reporter visited the site at around 11 a.m., a fair number of visitors were already exploring the Samsung products. The item that drew the most attention was the Galaxy S23 Ultra model, which is equipped with an upgraded 200-megapixel main camera.
“After unveiling the Galaxy S23 lineup, recent visitors have increased by 30 percent,” the store manager said. “Pre-orders (for the S23 series) have increased by 30-40 percent compared to the previous S22 series. US customers aged between 25 and 45 put a higher value on camera functions.”
Samsung has mainly touted the Galaxy S23 series’ upgraded camera functions and faster processors as the highlight, but the price is another competitive edge in the US as the company kept the price of the Galaxy S23 series the same as the previous editions in the country, according to the store manager.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra model’s price ranges from around $1,199 to $1,619 depending on the size of the storage units. The price of the Galaxy S23 has been set to between $799-$859, while the Galaxy S23 Plus is priced between $999 and $1,119. Meanwhile, customers in Korea have to pay an extra 150,000 won ($119) to purchase the latest model compared to previous models due to the increased volatility in the Korean won exchange rates.
“They’re actually the same price as the S21 and S22 series. So people like it because now they have more features with the same price,” the manager said.
Unlike other general retail stores, the LA venue was also an optimal place to experience the “connectivity” between Samsung devices. At the SmartThings Connectivity zone, visitors could sit comfortably and try various products -- from smartphones and laptops to tablets and watches -- and ask questions about them.
Another surprising visitor at the store was American actor Sumeet Dang, who is known for CBS’ action series “NCIS: Los Angeles” (2009), the TNT drama series “Animal Kingdom” (2016) and the horror film “Digging to Death” (2021).
Describing himself as an iPhone user from Detroit, the actor has been a fan of Apple products because of their compatibility. After exploring the LA store, he complimented Samsung’s enhanced compatibility between devices. The 36-year-old actor also found Samsung's stylus S Pen attractive. “The feeling is smooth and nice. The design is stylish, too,” he said.
By Jie Ye-eun
Korea Herald correspondent