Target Pilots Connected Living Experience to Educate & Inspire Guests about Connected Home Technology

June 3, 2016 - Article reads in
guest experience
Ridgedale store showing connected home technology

At Target, connected home technology—which connects everyday items like thermostats and door locks to the internet—is an area we’ve explored for years. Last summer, we opened Target Open House in San Francisco—part retail space, part learning lab, part meeting venue for the connected home tech community.

“One of the goals of building Open House was to understand how to display and educate consumers on connected home products,” said Casey Carl, chief strategy and innovation officer. “We have learned three big lessons: storytelling is key to helping guests understand how they might use connected devices, having a knowledgeable team member on hand is extremely important and guests want to see products in a real-life setting.”

Now, we’re ready to bring that experience to life and test for the first time in a traditional Target store.

Introducing Connected Living, an in-store experience dedicated entirely to showing guests how connected products can make life easier, more convenient and more efficient than ever. Housed in our Ridgedale location in Minnetonka, Minn., the experimental area and resident expert will display everyday situations to demonstrate how connected devices can help our guests.

“There is tremendous untapped potential here, and we’ve been steadily adding more connected products to our assortment.” said Scott Nygaard, senior vice president, merchandising, hardlines. “But the market is still early and consumers are focused on single-use, single-benefit products. Our goal is to educate and inspire guests about the potential of connected devices, and take learnings from the test to refine the experience with the hope of eventually expanding it to more stores.” 

We modeled the pilot on the lessons learned from Open House, which uses a physical “house” space and LED screens to illustrate how connected products work in a real-life setting. In Ridgedale, we’ve taken these learnings and translated them for store guests in the form of discovery tables and LED screens dedicated to categories ranging from wellness to baby.

The pilot Connected Living space will be organized into six sections and feature a dedicated expert, animated discovery tables and Open House-style LED screens to tell stories that illustrate a product’s usefulness and ability to work with other devices. The different sections, which feature many products that are currently on display at Open House, include:

  1. “Family Fitness” – Devices for wearable and sharable wellness like the UNICEF Kid Power band, FitBit and 94Fifty basketball
  2. “Connected Kitchen” – Tools for conquering the kitchen such as a Drop scale and the WeMo switch
  3. “Virtual Guardians” – Watchdog technology for the home like the Ring wireless video doorbell and Disney Circle
  4. “Connected Nursery” – Gadgets for better play-time, night-time and you time such as Edwin the Deck and the Mimo monitor
  5. “Rest & Relaxation” – Devices to set the mood for sweeter dreams like the Hello Sense Sleep Monitor
  6. “Item Trackers & Smart Buttons” – Tools that help you get what you want and never lose what you have, including Tile and the Flic wireless smart button

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