Tomas Balik became director of Samsung Electronics Czech and Slovak mobile division last December, when he replaced Roman Sebek. He is responsible for product marketing and sales in the division, which covers all mobile devices and affiliated services in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He studied at a faculty of international relations at & # 39; a University of Economics in Prague.
Tomas Balik, Head of Mobile Division Samsung CZ & SK
He came to Datart to Samsung, so electronics of all kinds are definitely not strange to him. In his opinion, what is the position of the Czech Samsung in Europe, how is flagship sold, or what future does it look for in proper phones? And are Czech customers loyal to the brand or are they paying in & # 39; first place for the purchase price? This and much more in an interview he gave us at Samsung's headquarters in & quot; Chodov of Prague.
TL; DR: What important is Tomáš Balík saying?
- "Three million phones will be sold in the Czech Republic, of which one million will be sold to Samsung"
- "We sell half of the Galaxy S10 models more than the & # 39; e-9 & # 39;, and we get a wide range of customer styles, especially to Galaxy S9 from last year, that & # 39; It doesn't work like plan. "
- "I think Smart Hub could work in 2020 to connect all devices of different brands at home"
- "The security of our phones is at a high level, but ordinary people don't care much about what I honestly don't understand"
- "The Czech Republic has the largest share in online mobile sales in Europe right after Slovakia"
- “Good news, you can try the Galaxy M20 on Samsung stores. At the same time, we are in agreement with Mall.cz, who is already selling it "
- "The Galaxy A40, A50, A70, whatever we say, is in the TOP10 brand by the last digits"
- "Watch portfolio has been expanded and we have many surprises ahead"
- "I even have three children and I see the biggest rotation of phones in my children"
- “Fulfilling? I was in it. Be better careful, if it's problems, we don't want to rush ”
- & # 39; Fold's flight could happen, even if it didn't happen. We started and healed again. ”
- "We think the introduction of Fold in a Czech Republic will move to the turn of 2020"
- “We want to sell the product against the price it has and keep it. We want to add some added value instead of discounts ”
- "In the Czech Republic, we expect 5G by 2020, not earlier, and rather in & # 39; the second half of the year"
Editorial: You've been to Samsung for half a year, how does the Czech branch in Europe stand? How do you look at their future appearance?
Tomáš Balík, head of Samsung CZ&SK's mobile division: Samsung is a big corporation, a very strong player with a good brand. Brands have appeared in the past in the Czech market, I will not name them, they came and in two years GFK and the brand will not recognize them, and many do not even know they were or were not here. The magic of Samsung is that the Galaxy S line has been here for 10 years and its function has been running all the time.
If I have to be proud this Czech Republic is the best country in Europe in sales of "dozens" this year and we really get good results with a new "A" line, especially the Galaxy A40 and Galaxy A50. We sell half of the Galaxy S10 models more than the & # 39; With the complete offering of the Galaxy S10, we saw the taste of our customers, especially to Galaxy S9 from last year, which they didn't like. Yes, not everything always works out. We are reliable with regard to the readers of our clients, which is the most important, to decide who we want to buy? It is the end customer.
But it's not just about mobile phones, it's the whole ecosystem. Samsung can bring the whole solution of a smart home – a tablet, I go watch with my watch, I share my achievements with one phone, that's in TV, washing machine, air conditioning, vacuum cleaner, fridge … and it can all be connected. If someone likes monobrand and wants a comfortable and trusted environment with one brand, then we are.
How far are you with the smart home concept?
We have tried the solution in the past, so far we have not succeeded as we want, so we pump it in again to connect the equipment of other manufacturers. Samsung is and wants to be an open platform, it does not shut in its shell. For example, you can add smart light bulbs to our new system. I use them at home, I will not specify the brand, but I have all connected in the Samsung system.
At work, I sometimes get notification that my dial machine has given me what is not exactly two times useful, but then my phone reports that I was rinsing in the washer machine and that is currently useful to me. We prepare Smart Hub, which works part-time, we have positive feedback from Prague's demonstrations. Most of our products can now be controlled by phone or tablet, and we would continue.
Is the smart house system already available in the Czech Republic or is it still under preparation?
The system in its perfect form is not yet available in the Czech Republic; It needs the mentioned Smart Hub. And it is not yet located for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and I personally regret it. But what is important is who already owns Samsung products, so they are already connected together. Now I do not want to anticipate, but I think that by 2020 we could work with our Smart Hub, which would connect all devices of different brands at home. Everything depends on location.
That, in Smart Hub, is not a support for Czech?
I would take it from a broader perspective. Every mobile that comes in for the Czech distribution, such as services, must go through the so-called localization. This means that it will continue technically whether all operators, networks, application functionality and other problems are guaranteed to work. A complex technological process is required before a product is launched. If you buy your phone in England or France, maybe everything is not 100% functional with us.
The phone was not made locally for the Czech Republic, and if people come to the store and say they do not hear the counterpart, it is a problem with the network, we sell it the wrong phone … it is probably not the phone located, and one has taken it from his vacation to the Czech Republic. Of course, it's up to a customer to decide where to buy the phone. This also applies to the Czech Republic.
And we had a very broad topic …
Yes, that is true, but only for the customer not seeing the background and then he is angry with us, although we cannot believe that the phone was not located for the Czech Republic to work and pay 100 percent here. bring what we explain. Localization is a technical process that takes several times for each product. It is meant for people who have long been dedicated to it. The enormous advantage of Samsung is that it can customize the phones, which is individually customized to & # 39; e customer.
When an operator comes in as a dealer, we will adjust a Knox solution. Whatever you remember, we can get it on your phone. The big advantage, I call him "my safe", is the huge security for every user, as well as for B2B partners. The security of our phones is of a high standard, used by the US Army … but ordinary people don't care much about it, which I honestly don't understand about the sensitive data we've got on phones. I believe that interest in safety will grow more and more. A few times, somebody picks someone's account or downloads private photo's and starts distributing it. And in safety, Samsung is the world's largest.
And so you see a Czech customer. That is why he buys one brand when security is not your priority?
I do not say that this is not a priority, but people are not yet aware of it. In my opinion, Czechs are one of the most trusted customers in Europe, but not in & # 39; The world, due to the influence of the Internet. Customers can extract a lot of information from the web. The Czech Republic immediately after Slovakia has the largest share of mobile phone sales in Europe.
And, if everything is online, the customer is quite able to choose a combination. Review, what someone tells him, what he finds himself, all the wrong price. We must be honest and believe that what we bring is worth the money you want. To quickly check the customer, he can check it quickly. Price is still an important factor, but it's not the best anymore.
We recently launched 24/7 infoline, we can solve most errors within an hour. Or we will come home for your phone with My Galaxy and lend you a replacement phone. These are the services that are already starting with the decision process of a customer. We saw it two years ago in Western Europe, and so it is with us. When it comes to buying it is such an important price, price / performance ratio and what I get when I buy as added value, that is, services.
And what role does the brand play in this?
The more expensive and high end the phone is, the more important the brand and the associated prestige for the customer. The big difference is, for example, if a customer buys a flag model for 25 thousand or in his wallet five thousand has the basic model. Premium = brand interest, and brand perception is perceived by people. The first question in the decision making must be where the user really needs the phone.
Can you publicize what is behind the Galaxy A40 Seznam.cz Edition? How did Seznam collaborate and what is the value of one phone?
The list is a successful company, it still has its unavailable position on a brand, especially if its wide scope. It is a distinctive local brand, and many people are used to List Services on their computers. That we thought was one strong brand (Samsung), a second strong brand (Seznam) and a third strong brand (Alza), so we try to say that what you see at home on your computer can have on your mobile.
Yes, you can say that all apps on your phone can also be downloaded separately on Google Play, but Seznam wanted to show that it is here and that it has something to offer on mobile. Maybe Mapy.cz is ranked as one of the best applications, but Seznam was not successful in & # 39; To get a subconscious mind, even though it is far beyond Google Maps. They are preinstalled in the phone and the user does not need to download anything, just click and navigate already …
I'll go to the store, so why should I choose Seznam's Galaxy A40? What is the added value?
As an active list user? I have something on my computer on my phone and I don't need to install anything else, otherwise it's the same phone that has "" saved me some work. Target audience? Maybe my mother. Pre-installed applications are very easy, but we believe that combining strong manufacturer brands, application vendors, and reseller brands will work. I find it a great project.
The target audience was "hit", it found its phone. The fact that someone writes unflattering comments on your phone is already a tax for the online world. On the other hand, anyone can choose between basic and Seznam.cz editions. In collaboration with Seznam, who wants to be more visible on mobile, we visited the first major adaptation, a local swell. It is some extra, price fighting can be done by who, we go in another direction. Like Bixby's assistant. The availability in the Czech Republic is far away, so we are vying for something that Czechs know and use, much of their reading news on Seznam.cz.
You only sell the Galaxy M20 online and people talk to us that they cannot visit the phone. Planning some changes to this?
Good news, you can try the Galaxy M20 on Samsung brand stores. At the same time, we are in agreement with Mall.cz, which is already selling it. It's no longer just on the Samsung.cz website. The phone is not pledged for mass sales in all stores, this smartphone was introduced into a Czech Republic as an online model against & # 39; e competition, which is certain of course …
We are happy with the sales, the M20 has found a target audience, even though they do not know much about the phone. Telephone advertising is not yet significant, although it is a good model against a good price. However, we are doing very well with the A-series, so "emko" is just the candle on the cake for those who want a big battery and display it without bullet. The A series, however, is on the right with the "tens".
Can you be more specific?
The sales are sold immediately after the launch. A40, A50, A70, what we have mentioned, is in & # 39; the TOP10 at & # 39; a mark according to the latest numbers and A20tka is very quick approach in terms of sold pieces. The Galaxy S10 is again the number one in sales terms. Three million phones are sold in the Czech Republic, of which one million are sold to Samsung, of which 15 to 20% & # 39; phones are phones. Since its introduction in the Czech Republic, hundreds of thousands of "A" have been sold in the Czech Republic, a few hundred thousands. The rest is bargain sales and other models.
We owe it to the simplicity of our portfolio. Do you remember the previous characters? Plus, Neo, Duos …. A20e, A40, A50, A70, A80, everything is clearly regulated. And like the Galaxy A50, it's a phone tricked like the Galaxy S9 last year, and at that price tag ideal. He immediately went to TOP10.
That it was worth dividing the middle class and the Galaxy S10?
Certainly, it made the portfolio more transparent. Last year we have no counterparty at various price levels as if it were a little cracking, this year we say. Last year, the price / performance ratio was not as well received by customers. Next year we want to keep the portfolio so clear that the customer knows it. Last year, customers sought in vain for the difference between J4 +, J4 or J6, and what about the plus version at the end? Now it is just right.
For the first time, we have named sales numbers in the Czech Republic, and we don't hear much about it, even from you. In & # 39; most cases are only the year-on-year percentage …
Each number can be interpreted in different ways if I tell you the sales numbers, that's how & # 39; I'm saying. Some agent estimates are not followed at all, like Gardener, which is also the basis for some of your articles. This is a completely different metric that is based on distribution, so it's not that accurate. We measure how much we sell to end customers, with GFK. Of course, we cannot reveal the exact figures.
In fact, the brand behaved very differently than Gartner states. And if someone lives on & # 39; s data and says it grew by XY%, we just smile. Reality is different. We are successful, and we are happy with our position in turnover, where & # 39; we manage what we need to accomplish. Ultimately, the customer decides whether or not we have a job here at the Czech headquarters or not to buy our phone.
And what's in the Czech Republic is getting the most out of & # 39; a portfolio of Samsung Electronics?
Telephones are clearly in the first place, we see a huge increase in watches. This trend is in Europe and worldwide. Today no one can imagine me living without a mobile, mobile the business most, have the largest share and the biggest turnover. The watch grows even in triple values!
Czechs are toys, they have great fun. Even famous people watch the number of steps as the heat. The only downside is that they have to charge what I did not do last night (laughs, note read). I also use them to adjust, it's a design device. For the second time, Samsung is the only mobile manufacturer at a fair for luxury watch manufacturers. We have luxury big models for suit, business, medium with small straps … Watch portfolio is expanded and we still have many surprises.
In addition to the trend of a running edge, we also have a smaller model Galaxy Watch Active, which is especially popular with women. That we have two basic directions and simpler wrist bands, Galaxy Fit. If we decline from a mobile division, TV & # 39; s and displays will come in & # 39; Secondly, followed by white technology, cooling and, last but not least, professional displays. Everything is an integral part of the company. And it often happens that even smartphone users of other brands have a TV from Samsung.
Global sales are falling, but the market in the Czech Republic is constantly growing. Do you have any idea what we can find between the lines?
The brand is not saturable, people still want to visit some news and always play with and discover some news. In Germany, a strong operator brand is needed, with two-fold contracts, so that people change phones every two years. In the Czech Republic, operators are slowly canceling subsidies. While the brand is abroad as a sine wave with a maximum of two years, it is not with us. In addition, operators and businesses come with good offers.
But the replacement of mobile phones has long since been a known fact. It was earlier faster, today it is slower. I do not know if the German children buy in large mobiles. I even have three children and I see the biggest phone rotation in my children. There it is, it breaks, there it forgets, there is some new feature missing … and if your child is meeting the age of seven, you have hands in & # 39; e hands. Daughter recently got A7 and is already looking at A50.
But a few years ago it was said that the marks have long been sitting …
… a few years ago things were said. Maybe we are talking about the destruction of stone shops, and today they grow like mushrooms to the rain.
What is more important to you. Stone shop or online?
You can't say that. Previously, it was virtually separated into brick and mortar webists and dealers, and today it is an important shift from both sides. Pure stores invest in e-shops, where & # 39; t I click, I'll pick it up. In & # 39; a store I see again, I buy at home, bring the phone. Disabled people began to open dispensing points and branches, and found it was not possible online at all. People want to come somewhere, have a living person there at least to complain, to write one that they break. And that is irreplaceable.
Meanwhile, the one and the other world knows that they cannot exist without each other, but the whole thing moves to greater speed. One understood that time was the most expensive. Effect "Order online and get it at & # 39;, logistics, speed and convenience, it dominates today. I believe in a combination of everything. I do not just believe in stone shops or online.
What about the tablet segment?
Expanding the mobile phone displays, the entire tablet market began to diminish, and almost formed two product groups. Cheap tablets from the order of three to five thousand used by children. They play gamblers in the car, on the aircraft, in playing games … and then they're the better tablets to be used by people who no longer watch TV . I see it on myself, in the evening I take my tablet to bed and see streaming things. And you need a good screen and a good sound.
If people want to work with a tablet, they buy the more expensive. We are dominant in this segment as Apple. I think the tablets have improved lately, like our Galaxy Tab S5e. It's light, has good sound, and it's more fun to play – play, watch, surf, view, while Tab S4 last year was more to S Pen, where & # 39; we took the tablet like a little different.
And soon, respectively, his successor. a tablet that has a touch pen and it will be a bomb. Just the sound of TV. It has been working hard to make it a great multimedia experience. I heard him play, you feel like you're at the TV.
We can say that the middle class of tablets completely disappeared, respectively. incline to lower than higher portion of & nbsp; portfolio
I think the brand has evolved into an army and a higher segment. The center did not disappear completely, but we did not focus on it. Maybe a premium Galaxy Tab S5 will never be worth three thousand. Then we have smaller tablets there. "Trackers", with wider frames, easier to keep, and that's a huge use of tablets in the B2B segment. Solution for companies that draw contracts, documents, scans, and we are very strong. Also with security and the Knox platform.
What about the future? Will it be foldable?
It's just one of the other ways he finds a customer. And the final? That maybe a chip is built into your hand? Who knows? Closer to future is Fold. I was in it. Distribution has already occurred somehow, then stopping … Better careful, if it's problems, we don't want to rush. It's a device and innovation that doesn't have to spoil its name. We believed it would be OK, customers convinced us that it was not the solution they expected, so the model was withdrawn.
On our internal conference I used to borrow Fold for three days and I did not want to return it. It is beautifully large, pleasant, especially working with three windows, I am enthusiastic about Fold. Having such a very innovative device has its flight, even if it shouldn't happen. The segment is simply evolving and testing, and it will not work and people will say "No friends, we expect something completely different!"So yes. We as Samsung would prefer to take it, admit it "OK, failed", we'll do it again and better.
He will surely find his customer. And if you have it in your hands, you will enjoy it. Yes, the price tag will be higher, but it's logical. The big advantage of Samsung is that it invests in these innovations, invents and innovates, looking for the right path. The least is, and the public does not see much as someone comes, copy technology and is aggressive in price, because in years of development they do not have to invest a whole money. He just took it and copied it.
This is the world, it is normal, I do not complain, but if someone fixes the prices, so I tell them – the price is not just what you currently have in the hand, for which the factory bought parts, assembled and sold. The price also includes several years of development. Jigsaws don't push out any classic phones, I don't think, but it's rather a question of how far flexible phones can come. On a wrist?
And will Galaxy Fold be in the Czech Republic?
Be silent, originally talking about autumn as the second half of 2019, but thanks to what happened, we think it will move in the turn of 2020. And again the location, Galaxy Fold needs software, business and communication to get the mark in to go.
How do you rate the case Huawei? Can other manufacturers affect other brands?
I read newspapers just like you, and just like customers. I'm sorry about the competition, it's got to be healthy, it's not driving the development. The customer can read newspapers, is smart and well read, especially in the Czech Republic, and it is up to him to buy. Let them buy a phone from the brand that honestly convinces them that they have everything the customer needs. And there I would leave it to those customers.
When a product arrives at the & nbsp; mark, is the price determined locally or globally? What is your view of cashbacks?
The price is given centrally, otherwise it would cause problems between brands and is fixed. In the past, discounts and cashbacks were the rule, and it is clear that we are not living in a vacuum. We will get a prize that & # 39; if we think it's good, and if you look at the A40 and A50, you won't find any cashback, even at the Galaxy S10. Earlier we came with a higher price and then we arranged the price locally, this year Samsung changed its strategy. We didn't have any cashbacks this year.
We want to buy the product at a price it must have and keep it. Instead of discounts, we want to add some added value, now they are AKG headphones, for pre-orders of the S10 series were Galaxy Buds headphones. Everyone can buy and lower the price and call themselves a successful marketer, we go another way. The devaluation of the market comes from the fact that the dealer is only able to sell it with a discount.
But if the competition falls and the price is cut by five, six, seven thousand, we have to react in some way or another, otherwise we would lose competitiveness. We don't keep it. But the difference of six, seven, eight thousand on a phone that's well-designed in comparison to our product – is justifiable. We do not live in a vacuum and we must behave in a market.
Instead of cashbacks, we try to get more than bonuses, for example when packing AKG headphones, YouTube Premium subscription, and so on. Another option that we use continuously is the Trade-In program, or purchase of old devices with a bonus when buying a new mobile from Samsung.
And what happens to redeemed phones?
The partner handles or repairs purchased phones. The brand is big and our partner knows where and how the purchased models can return. As someone & # 39; e-nine & # 39; brings, is it still a great phone, and if it works, why not sell?.
Do you have plans in the 5G segment?
In the Czech Republic, we expect the first launch of the 5G network by 2020, not earlier, and rather in & # 39; the second half of the year. It's a huge investment, no one can imagine what it is, throwing money into 5G. From the outside it is simple, simply replace it with all antennas and the least is done. And if I hear it's a 5G network auction … it was another frequency auction. And the winner, if he builds the network, is directly with 5G, while others simply need to replace components and also work on 5G.
We wanted the Galaxy S10 5G to be at least in the hands of our operators, because the operators are the key element of a 5G. Solve technical problems, localization, adaptation and similar problems. In England launched 5G, going in Germany, so that the attention of Samsung elsewhere is directed.
Personally, for one reason I want to sell 5G phones in the Czech Republic. We sell 8K television and 8K is not here. When we sell 4K TV, 4K content was not. That we said we did, we know it will come and we will calculate the image before it comes. I wanted to sell 5G phones in the Czech Republic to prove that we are ready for a new era. Now he is not with us, but he will be here soon, but we want to bring him here first. It would be a nice marketing buzz, and if the Chinese are ahead of us, it's nothing to do with it.
The conclusion is that where 5G networks will not work, even 5G phones from Samsung will not be offered. When the first operator launches in the Czech Republic 5G, Samsung will be behind the door to offer their phones immediately. The biggest advantages will be productivity, speed and convenience, real-time communication, automation in production and, of course, fast data transfer anywhere.