04.16.18 / Virtual Reality

Samsung 837 2nd Anniversary Marks Rise of ‘Retailtainment’

Guests at 837 learning about Samsung’s devices and experiences.

In the heart of New York City’s Meatpacking district, Samsung 837 has made a name for itself as a technology playground since it’s opening in 2016. Today, as the creators behind the immersive space celebrate its two-year anniversary, they’re also doubling-down on the types of experiences that keep consumers coming back.

“We look at this space as a living, breathing organism that changes all the time,” said Zach Overton, vice president of consumer experience and general manager of Samsung 837 and Galaxy Studios at Samsung Electronics America. “This is where we develop and test the user experience with our innovative products. The goal of this space is to move away from the transaction and focus on the experience the product delivers.”

After more than 60 different “technology activations” in the last two years, which are built to ensure visitors get up close and personal with signature Samsung innovations, Overton and his team have programmed the latest 837 experience with the Galaxy S9 at its core.

Guests test out Samsung 837’s interactive Galaxy S9 windows.
Guests test out Samsung 837’s interactive Galaxy S9 windows.
Guests test out Samsung 837’s interactive Galaxy S9 windows.
Guests test out Samsung 837’s interactive Galaxy S9 windows.

Guests start their journey before they even walk in, with fully interactive, touch-enabled windows that introduce consumers to the art of the super slow-mo video, one of many new features on the Galaxy S9.

Inside, visitors are given the Galaxy S9 loaded with the Explore 837 app which has a game-ified interface to guide guests through immersing themselves in everything the space has to offer.

From virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to the latest smart televisions and more, Overton and his team have pioneered what has come to be known as “retailtainment.”

Guests enjoy the thrill of the 4D VR Theater Experience.
Guests enjoy the thrill of the 4D VR Theater Experience.

“We’re always trying to think of ways to get our devices in people’s hands, but we also want to make sure that it’s authentically enhancing their experience and not a forced integration,” said Overton.

That’s why you’ll often see lines form for the live messaging selfie booth or the latest virtual reality “ride.”

In the latest VR activation, “Anatomy of Ski,” guests are immersed in a ski competition guided by Bode Miller, alpine ski racer and Olympic and World Championship gold medalist.

Guests try out the Anatomy of Ski VR installation.
Guests try out the Anatomy of Ski VR installation.

The Explore 837 app has resulted in guests’ longer dwell times at 837, increasing the number of visitors who spend one hour or more in the space to 59% from 43%, and driving purchase intent in a way that’s fun, fresh and unexpected, according to Overton.

And when you’re ready to rest and recharge your senses, visitors can step into 837’s smart home, where SmartThings, Samsung’s Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, allows you to kick back while the latest Smart TV suggests programs you might like to watch and the Family Hub refrigerator recommends recipes that match up with your diet and the ingredients on hand.

If the timing’s right, your visit may also include a live performance on the Main Stage, 837’s amphitheater.

“Our Live at 837 concert series had SZA here the other night for the launch of the S9,” Overton said. “We shut off all the lights and live streamed three songs through the S9 to showcase the superiority of our low-light camera.”

The Samsung 837 Living Room where visitors can experience Samsung’s latest Smart TV.
The Samsung 837 Living Room where visitors can experience Samsung’s latest Smart TV.

Pivoting from playground to tech repair, 837 also offers customer care, including on-site repair and workshops for learning more about the latest technology.

“We’re moving from reactive to more proactive care,” Overton said. “That’s been a huge focus for us.”

Overton has overseen the evolution of 837 since before its doors opened. So, what’s next for the space that’s managed to blend interactive, entertainment experiences around art, music, wellness, culinary skills, fashion and music programming? Overton’s answer: “You’ll see a double-click on the wellness category, and we’ll be leaning into showcasing that multi-device experience.”

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