You can't make up stuff that's this good: Samsung has reportedly hired a former Apple Store senior designer as it works towards a major expansion of its U.S. retail presence. This serves double duty in Samsung's Quixotic quest of being—or at least of having the perception of being—just as good as Apple.
The Information reported [via AppleInsider] that Samsung hired one Tim Cudgel, a former director at Apple who spent five years and nine months with the company. As of this writing, his LinkedIn profile make no mention of Samsung, but it does show that he left Apple in November of 2013.
Samsung's known retail plans include some 1,500 stores-within-a-store at Best Buy locations in the U.S. This was something Apple first did with defunct retailer CompUSA in the late 1990s, and it survives today in a much more limited fashion at Fry's Electronics (where the store-within-a-store isn't operated by Apple). Here's a prototype image Samsung was peddling when it announced those plans:
It would appear that merely copying Apple's path in retail isn't enough, however. If Mr. Cudgel has been hired by Samsung, it seems a reasonable bet that Samsung's stores-within-a-store, or perhaps even unannounced standalone retail stores, will be closely modeled on the look and feel Apple itself originally borrowed from The Gap,
That's no slight on Mr. Cudgel, either. The executive worked under Ron Johnson, and at least indirectly under Steve Jobs during his tenure at Apple. There's little doubt he will be bringing top-notch skills that aren't reliant on copying what Apple did. The problem is that Samsung does have a long track record of doing just that, copying Apple.
Of course, Samsung's copying efforts haven't amounted to much. In fact, let's compare the above Best Buy store-within-a-store prototype to Samsung's massive CES booth from 2013.
Samsung Tables at CES 2013 - Where Are the People?
Source: Bryan's iPhone
In January, I penned a piece noting that Samsung's booth was packed full of people—I mean packed—but that none of those people were interacting with the Samsung smartphones and tablets laid out like on tables that looked a lot like the white environs of an Apple Store.
Except for the people in the background in my pics, there's not a lot of difference between Samsung's prototype store and its CES booth. There aren't many people showing any interest in the products.
Good luck changing that, Mr. Cudgel. Maybe a little Apple-trained magic is what the company needs to get people interested.