Samsung to set new site on consumers

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Samsung Electronics has targeted September 1 for the relaunch of its Web presence (www.samsung.com), which will have a look and feel consistent with its recently launched global brand campaign, "The World of Samsung" and include expanded e-commerce features.

Samsung, like other consumer electronics marketers, has struggled to plot an Internet strategy. Now it hopes to create a greatly enhanced e-commerce venue, including fun, lifestyle services that the company hopes will generate recurring revenue. That's a tall order by any stretch of the imagination. But Samsung, which markets a host of digital devices-portable MP3 music players, DVD decks and flat screen TVs-hopes the site will reinforce a brand position that's hip and cutting-edge but also accessible.

"Right now, because of the transformation of the company from analog to digital, we're focused on using the Internet," said Richard Johnson, director, marketing communications, Samsung Electronics America. At least half of the company's product line is digital.

The site will allow visitors to access MP3 music downloads and streaming audio, as well as research and purchase consumer electronics products. Eventually, it will let consumers evaluate High-Definition TV programming choices, and download video clips and photos. After starting the Web overhaul with consumer electronics, the redesign will extend to products including TVs, PC monitors and wireless phones. Samsung also envisions offering accessories, warranty information and downloadable versions of movies available on DVD. This, of course, is contingent on the resolution of copyright and intellectual property issues.

"We specifically want to create a digital merchandising site and have consumers come and visit different parts of the site to become familiar with individual products, services and promotions, and to cross-merchandise those products," Mr. Johnson said.

The site's redesign is being coordinated by Cheil Communications America, the in-house agency of Samsung Electronics America, based in Ridgefield Park, N.J. True North Communications' FCBi, New York, the Portland, Ore.-based SBI (which absorbed some of MarchFirst when that company filed for bankruptcy in April), and Open Tide, Seoul, are each retooling the Web site. True North's FCB Worldwide, New York, handles Samsung's estimated $400 million global brand account.

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