Take Samsung. Please. To their credit, they recognized that Apple’s iPhone was the future of smartphones. So, Samsung decided to be like Apple, create a classy brand, build stores, advertise heavily, and separate itself from all the Android riffraff. How’s that working out?
It’s In The Stores
Running a chain of retail stores is an expensive proposition. Apple created a couple of firestorms when they announced the Apple Store a decade or so ago.
Firestorm? Tech media pundits said it would be the end of Apple and predicted failure within a couple of years.
Firestorm? Apple’s loyal customers finally had a decent place to view the latest and greatest Macs and iPods.
Samsung’s executives understand the value of touch and feel, Apple style. Apple wanted to control the visual experience of presenting their product line to customers.
That effort stood in stark contrast to how Apple’s products were displayed in CompUSA, Circuit City, Best Buy, and other retail operations. And, Apple’s products have a margin sufficiently high enough to pay the freight of retail stores.
Former Apple CEO John Sculley has gone so far as to say, ‘If I were Samsung, I would tap Ron Johnson‘ to setup Samsung stores. Johnson was a Target whizkid and hired by Steve Jobs to oversee Apple’s retail operations. He left the company turnaround struggling retailer JCPenny.
Johnson’s turnaround failed and he was fired by JCPenny. So, why does Sculley think Johnson would be good for Samsung? Apparently he thinks Johnson has some kind of magical touch. Apparently not. Apple’s retail stores are doing fine without Johnson, while JCPenny did worse with Johnson.
Still, Samsung has a habit of following in Apple’s footsteps to segregate the brand and its products from the Android crowd, so having Johnson come in to run a large retail store buildout wouldn’t be too far fetched.
After all, Microsoft is opening up new retail stores within steps of Apple’s stores in dozens of malls throughout the country. How’s that working out? For the most part, Microsoft’s stores are devoid of the one element required for retail success.
Microsoft just can’t come up with a credible reason to attract customers to their Apple-copied stores without giving away hundreds of free concert tickets. That’s not much of a business model.
Samsung could do worse than hire Ron Johnson to run their stores division. The problem here is that Samsung is exhibiting signs of a split personality. They build components for electronics. They build smartphones, computers, and tablets that compete agains the very customers who buy their components. How is that a recipe for success?