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Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

I recorded this week’s FaceTime at the Samsung 837 Experience store, located in New York City’s downtown meatpacking district, just across the street from the HighLine - it was one of the places we visited during the recent GMDC Retail Tomorrow conference, and I think I can safely say it was a highlight.

One of my criticisms of Microsoft when it started opening brand-centric bricks-and-mortar locations was that they seemed like pale imitations of the Apple Store - a comparison that didn’t make Microsoft look any better when they’d open stores in the same shopping centers, often nearby Apple Stores, and it was obvious just from looking inside that the Apple Stores were almost always busy, and the Microsoft Stores, not so much.

This Samsung store, on the other hand, is something completely different - while it is a flagship facility that couldn’t and wouldn’t be replicated in a traditional mall, there are differentiated elements about the experience that easily could be. From the virtual reality games that they let you play to the enormous video wall, from the smart appliances on display to the coffee shop and desks where they encourage people to come in and spend time - the Samsung 837 Experience is all about being immersive.

That’s a great lesson. It seems to me that being immersed in the product experience is a valuable and differentiating approach to marketing - whether you are selling a virtual reality system or smartphones, or tomatoes, bread and cheese, or cookware and HBC products. The goal is to create connections between the customer and the product, and to turn physical retail into a kind of stage where the connections can be enabled and nurtured.

The more tactile the retailing experience, the more people will seek it out because that’s largely something that online retail can’t offer.

And by the way, I don’t care if you are Albertsons or Wegmans or a 15,000 square foot independent … creating an immersive, tactile experience is more about imagination and creativity than big budgets.

If you’re in New York, I encourage you to visit the Samsung 837 Experience store - it is a terrific example of what imaginative, immersive retailing can be. I’m pretty sure that they’re less interested in actually selling stuff than in creating a brand connection that is both relevant and resonant.

That’s what is on my mind this Thursday morning and, as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

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