Target Internet of Things Experimental Retail Store

Earlier this month, the Minneapolis-based retail giant opened up a new store in San Francisco.

The aim of the new store? To educate consumers on the Internet of Things by allowing them to experience it for themselves.

The Internet of Things?

If you’re into technology, you’ve probably heard of the Internet of Things before. You might even know a ton about it. Or maybe you’ve only heard whispers of its existence and haven’t really been given a great explanation of what it actually is. Wikipedia can help: according to the internet encyclopedia, the Internet of Things is the “network of physical objects or ‘things’ embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices” — perfectly clear, right? Basically, the Internet of Things is a bunch of connected devices.

It’s one thing to explain to someone with words what the Internet of Things is and how it works, and as you might have been able to tell, the concept doesn’t exactly lend itself well to a worded explanation — it’s much simpler to just let a person experience it firsthand. And that firsthand experience is exactly what Open House (the name of the new Target store) aims to provide.

For example, when a customer walks into the store, a “smart door lock” cues music to start playing, which subsequently triggers a “smart plant feeder” that alerts the user whether the plant needs to be watered or not. A nursery room features a sensor that alerts the user if a baby wakes up, turning on lights in the process. Those are just a few examples of the 35 products that Target has on display in its new Open House experience store.

Helpful, or unnecessary gimmick?
You might think that smart, connected devices such as those mentioned above are unnecessary products that don’t really bring much value to the average person. As with any emerging technology, there will be the occasional gimmicky product (such as the smart egg tray), but there will also be some genuinely innovative and beneficial ones. Think about being able to monitor your sleeping baby’s breathing, positioning, and temperature from your smartphone or tablet — that’s already a reality with a product called Mimo.

Educate — then convert

Connected devices might be on the verge of becoming widespread (prolific, some would say). Target hopes that it can beat the mainstream rush and educate consumers on the benefits of the Internet of Things. Educate, and ultimately convert them to buy products from Target that make their lives simpler by making them more connected.

Luke Johnson
Luke Johnson
Luke once aspired to be a zoologist and first read of the elusive echidna when he was just a young boy. Feel free to email him with any questions related to marketing.