Samsung offers at-home Galaxy S20 trials to mitigate impact of coronavirus

Rachel England
Contributing Writer
Engadget

As the spread of coronavirus continues to keep people in quarantine and threaten promotional tech events, companies in Asia gearing up for low sales -- but Samsung's new home visit service aims to mitigate some of this fall out. Reuters reports that the company is offering a smartphone delivery service to allow customers to test its new products without having to visit a physical store.

The service will allow customers to have a Galaxy S20 delivered to their home where they can test it out for 24 hours, after which a delivery worker will collect the device. Speaking to Reuters, a person familiar with the matter said, "We are introducing a new service, as coronavirus-related issues could result in less in-store experience." They added that the service will only be available in some areas of South Korea.

Samsung itself, meanwhile, says it's rolling out an at-home repair service, where customers with foldable devices can request a visit from an engineer to deal with issues such as broken screens and poor call quality. It's not clear whether this particular service has been initiated in response to the coronavirus, or simply to offer added reassurance to would-be foldables customers concerned about some of the issues Samsung has had with the devices to date.

In any case, having tech company representatives make home visits in this way isn't an entirely new concept. Sprint introduced its Direct 2 You program back in 2015, which aimed to bring the physical phone-buying process right into customers' homes. Such a program offers a nice level of customer service for sure, but in the face of something like the coronavirus -- which analysts say could slash demand for smartphones by half in the first quarter in China -- it's much more of a necessary business strategy.