Samsung Open House “Simplifies the appliance buying process and provides useful information about the latest new product innovations” (US Retailer, HH Gregg).

Apparently.

My experience in Currys PC World in Wednesbury, Birmingham was anything but simple and straightforward. It started badly and got worse, but there are some positives to build on.

It’s not clear straight away that the huge digital screen is touch-interactive rather than just a big lightbox. With no benefit or call-to-action messaging and a start menu at waist height it wasn’t surprising that many shoppers walked straight past.

Choosing fridge-freezers from the list of appliance types I was hoping for a range to look at. Instead I was faced with a full size image of a fridge. Great from a distance but standing right next to it can be a little disorienting at first.

The main problem is that it’s really not clear what you can do next. There’s a list of features without benefits (more of which later) and a list at the side to go back to the original appliance list.

It took a while but I finally noticed the discreet “1 of 33” button just above my knee height. And sure enough pressing this took me to another fridge with another list of unexplained features. I was sticking with it because it’s my job. But as a customer I might have been getting bored now and perplexed that all I could do was swipe through 33 fridge-freezers one-by-one to look at mystifying feature descriptions without the chance to compare one against the other. Where would it lead me? How could I narrow things down and find the model that was right for me?

And regarding those mystifying feature descriptions – do you know what a Digital Inverter Compressor is? I don’t and I’d put money on most shoppers not knowing either. Here’s a few more:

Multi Flow

Space Max

Zone Booster™

Water Wall™

Any clues? Me neither.

But it turns out that if you touch these features you are enlightened with images, dynamic videos and clear descriptions. Really useful stuff if you’re trying to choose but Samsung need to make it clearer that it’s there in the first place. This needn’t be complicated or cluttered, just think about how the “i” symbol is used on websites to lead visitors to more information. Here there are no clues to help you along.

The other thing that would help this digital installation drive sales is some kind of take-out at the end of the journey. Right now if I decide that a particular appliance is the right one for me there’s not much I can do besides write down the model number (assuming I have pen and paper) then go hunting round the store. It wouldn’t be that difficult to provide a way of getting this information to your phone or at the very least a clear call-to-action to see a store colleague for more help. Instead I’m left standing there with no obvious way to take things further.

So there’s some great content here and a fantastic opportunity to use in-store digital to drive customers to Samsung. Adding a way to compare products, providing clearer navigation and stronger signposting at the end would really make the most of this (probably not inconsiderable) investment.

Tim Bevin-Nicholls

PS. That Digital Inverter Compressor? Apparently it will almost halve your fridge-freezer’s running costs, make it quieter and last longer. You want one now don’t you?