A new Target store will focus exclusively smart-home devices. When it opens on Friday, customers will be able to view and learn about 35 different Internet-connected household items. Not only will the goal be to sell these gadgets, the store is intended to provide tutorials, gather innovators, and inform the retail chain’s efforts to sell these products across stores.
Target Open House, the 3,500 square-foot storefront, is located on San Francisco’s Fourth Street and features a transparent house that shows smart devices in action, according to ReCode. Projected silhouettes demonstrate how they could be incorporated into your daily life, from a coffee maker turning on when you wake up to a phone alert when your baby stirs (assuming you have one). Behind the scenes, an app called Yonomi will keep the connected devices working together. Instead of requiring a hub that lets devices running on different protocols communicate, everything syncs through your phone, thanks to Yonomi. “We wanted to make it work for you instead of making more work for you,” the company’s CEO and co-founder Kent Dickson told Digital Trends.
What Target has done with its latest store takes competitors’ efforts a step further. It also builds on Target’s Connected Life, a smart-home section in its stores, by creating an opportunity for shoppers to interact with products in a way that they typically can’t prior to purchase. Still, execs readily own up to the fact that the new store is an experiment and there’s more to learn about selling smart-home items. Target is “trying to figure out where this world is going and what should our strategy with connected devices be,” the company’s PR head, Eddie Baeb, told Forbes. Indeed, Target is jumping in the game after retailers like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Best Buy.
The retailer has no plans to open more smart home stores for the foreseeable future, but it will apply the lessons gained from Open House to other locations.