Target’s San Francisco ‘Open House’ Showcases Connected Home Products

By educating — and, it hopes, inspiring — consumers now, Target looks to cash in on the significant retail revenue potential offered by IoT.

The Target Open House in San Francisco represents the big box retailer’s latest attempt to prove its commitment to omnichannel marketing by crafting an experience lab to showcase its vision of the connected home and the Internet of Things.

The Open House, which functions as both a showroom and an inspiration lab aims to bring IoT home devices to life by demonstrating real-life solutions in lieu of just verbally prophesizing about the coming “connectivity revolution.”

Customers can test various devices

For example, the Open House display shows how a smart baby monitor functions, for instance, connecting it to other products, such as a lamp or even a coffee maker and speakers. Visitors can see how a baby’s stirring prompts soothing music on the sound system or a pot of joe brewing in the kitchen.

“Putting a house in the space, we felt, was the most relatable and welcoming way to introduce these products,” said Todd Waterbury, Target’s chief creative officer. “What we’re trying to do is humanize and personalize the benefits of these products, as well as show them working in concert. It’s really about relevant storytelling and creating a destination for engagement and discovery.”

Target and its partners will get real-time feedback from consumers interacting with the products. Plus, the space will help make connections for Target and others by regularly hosting meetings – from tech talks and meet-ups to product demos and product launches.

IoT has been a long-developing trend, but with the introduction of the Apple Watch, dialogue around connected devices has picked up steam in the retail space. And rightly so — as we wrote in June, IoT has a potential value of $1.2 trillion to the retail industry. By prepping consumers in a tech-friendly city like San Francisco now, Target has a good chance to capture shopper attention in the near future as it looks to market connected home products in stores.

“From a strategic perspective, we see Internet of Things as a megatrend on the horizon. We know it’s going to generate huge value,” said Casey Carl, Target’s chief strategy and innovation officer, whose “Enterprise Growth Initiatives” team created Target Open House. “We’re using Open House to test the trend, both for us and for guests.”

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Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.