Samsung has massively increased its presence in India over the years. It is currently the leading brand in the country across multiple product categories. Its investments in India have gone beyond selling products as the company now sees the country as the export hub to manufacture many of its products. The company made its intentions clear when it opened its largest mobile factory in the world in Noida, India, in July this year.
Continuing its efforts to strengthen its position in the country, Samsung has opened “the world’s largest mobile experience center,” called Samsung Opera House, in Bengaluru today. The company renovated and restored the iconic 33,000 square feet colonial Opera House property on Brigade Road over two years to transform it into a grand center, the first of its kind in India, for displaying its innovative products and services.
We went to the Samsung Opera House launch event today and found many similarities to the well-known Samsung 837 experience center in New York. The Samsung Opera House is spread across two floors and showcases a wide range of products, services, and experiences from Samsung and its subsidiaries. It is a one-stop shop to discover, experience, and buy Samsung products.
The ground floor is mostly reserved for the Galaxy smartphones, tablets, and wearables. Samsung’s entire smartphone lineup from its budget devices to flagship models are on display. All the tables where the smartphones are displayed feature a proximity sensor which detects a visitor walk-in and automatically displays the model specifications on a display strip in front of the device. The company has also created a separate section for a large collection for its device accessories.
Visitors can enjoy immersive VR experiences
Smartphones and wearable products are accompanied by compelling fitness and VR experiences. Visitors can try gamified VR fitness experiences powered by Samsung’s Gear Fit Pro and flagship Galaxy smartphones. The center also has immersive VR experiences such as the Whiplash Pulsar 4D chair to showcase the company’s VR offerings. Curved monitors and speakers from Samsung and its subsidiary, Harman, are the other highlights on the ground floor.
The top floor is dominated by home and kitchen appliances from Samsung. The space where the company’s TVs are displayed is designed like a living room to offer a realistic experience while exploring the products. The main attraction on the top floor is the home theatre zone, equipped with the best Samsung has to offer for media consumption. Customers can pre-book this zone for watching movies with family members, but details about the process are a bit scarce right now.
Just like other experience centers around the world, Samsung Opera House also has a section for quick after-sales service of hand-held products. Though IoT and Artificial Intelligence have become buzzwords found in every press release, there weren’t any compelling IoT experiences on display. Sure, there were all the Samsung smart devices that can communicate with each other at a rudimentary level, but there was no demo or experience that showcased the promise and potential of an IoT ecosystem powered by Samsung devices.
Samsung wants to make this center more than an outlet for sales and service. It intends to conduct many events focused on fitness, photography, cooking, music, start-ups, stand-up comedy, gaming, and more at the center throughout the year. The attempt is to transform the center from a store to a lifestyle hub for the young generation in the tech-savvy city.
Samsung says it has more than 180,000 retail partners and 2,100 brand stores across the country, making it India’s largest retail network. While the company already has the ‘quantity’ in retail presence, initiatives like the Samsung Opera House enhances the ‘quality’ of it. According to an IANS report, the Korean tech giant apparently has plans to open more experience centers covering all the major cities in the country.
Similar experience centers were opened in France and Argentina a few months back. However, considering how price sensitive Indian market is – a fact unambiguously demonstrated by the meteoric rise of many value-for-money Chinese brands in the region – Samsung investing huge resources into ‘experiences’ is a bold move.