Samsung opened a dedicated store in the Sydney CBD last night. Branded technology stores are on the rise, but are they the best place to shop?
Retailers dedicated to a single technology brand can be very successful, Apple being the obvious example. Sony also has dedicated stores, and Microsoft operates branded outlets in the US, though not yet in Australia.
For consumers, these locations have obvious advantages: they're well-designed, usually offer free Wi-Fi, and have staff who are experts in the products on offer and know how to make them work together. The downside is that they're rarely (if ever) the cheapest place to buy a device. An outright buy Galaxy S III at the Samsung store is much costlier than if you shop around online. The same is equally true in the Apple store; the regular 10 per cent off Macs you'll see at other retailers never happens at Apple's own outlets.
No technology-branded store is going to entirely replace existing general outlets; as Luke as Gizmodo reports, Samsung doesn't plan additional stores anywhere else in Australia just yet. In any event, I'm not going to travel to the city to buy a Galaxy Tab if there are phone and electrical retailers in my suburb with the same deal.
Are you a fan of brand stores, or will you hunt around for a better or closer deal? Share your thoughts in the comments.