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Samsung VR pop-up at Westfield attracts 125,000 visitors

Global technology company Samsung has attracted over 125,000 visitors to a pop-up studio located within Westfield London shopping centre, in the space of two and a half weeks.

The installation, which opened on 11 March and will be present at the White City retail hub's atrium until 10 April, is showcasing the tech business's virtual reality product Gear VR and new mobile handset Galaxy S7. Guests to the shopping centre have an opportunity to try for free the product range and experience the potential of technology.

Samsung's advertising and experiential agency Cheil created the space which comprises a number of immersive zones, including a virtual reality theatre where visitors can don a headset and experience what it would be like to ride some of the rollercoasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park in California.

There is a growing momentum behind virtual reality in retail environments, with Thomas Cook one company that is using Samsung's technology to help up-sell customers. Tommy Hilfiger is also embracing the tech in its flagship stores to catapult shoppers to its runway shows, while Virgin Holidays has teamed up with Google Cardboard VR to give its customers an alternative way to experience potential travel destinations.

Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer at Westfield UK & Europe, commented: "Technology is at the forefront of today's retail experience and as it evolves, so too does the environment we shop in and the experience the customer seeks.

"A recent report launched by Westfield, 'How We Shop Now: What's Next', predicts that 51% of Londoners would like to use new technologies, such as virtual reality headsets, with 39% wanting enhanced assistance to transport them to a virtual setting to better understand a product."

Upon arrival to the Samsung studio in Westfield, customers are handed a unique mission card, which allows them to collect stamps as they peruse products such as the S7, S7 edge, Gear 360, Gear VR, Gear S2 and TabPro S. Once customers have collected all their stamps, they can trade their card in for entry to the VR Theatre and are automatically entered into a daily prize draw for a chance to win a Gear VR headset or an S7.

Ryan added: "Samsung’s Galaxy Studio space takes the virtual reality trip to the next level, and the sheer volume of Westfield shoppers who have already taken part shows the appetite for this type of immersive experience in showcasing a new product."

Samsung's wider strategy for providing both retail and business customers with immersive experiences saw it open its Samsung 837 venue in New York City, earlier this year.

Described as a living lab and digital playground featuring numerous installations and touchpoints over three floors, the venue – which does not stock products to sell – hosts performances and special events, executive briefings and customer care meetings.

Commenting at the time of launch, Zach Overton, vice president & general manager of Samsung 837, said: "At Samsung, we have a proven track record of innovation, and with Samsung 837, we are creating the flagship of the future."

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