Target in the US has created a new store…or more like a connected home installation on Fourth Street in San Francisco. The 3,500 square foot house is made of acrylic and aims to demonstrate 35 internet-connected home devices – of which only a third they actually sell in their retail stores.
Items like a smart door lock, a Ring smart door bell, a Nest thermostat and Sonos music player. This isn’t an installation about the ‘future’ connected home. It’s an installation about what’s possible now, showcased in a market that lives and breathes technology – and really a way for Target to develop new partnerships with Silicon valley. The pop-up is called ‘Open House’ and sits just below their Metreon City Target Store.
It’s the first move we’ve seen by Target’s CEO Brian Cornell into the connect home or internet of things area – something that sits well outside their comfort zone. Casey Carl, Target’s Chief Strategy and Innovation Office said: ‘We’ve been reliant on products and services and market expansion as a means of growth…although those are great we also have to be playing on other fronts to diversify our portfolio and make if far more defensible as a business model. Otherwise you can just get picked off from any and all competition over time’. And for Target that competition is Amazon and a key area of diversity is the internet of things. ‘The internet of things is this impending megatrend – a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity, so when we talk about where growth is going to come from, here’s a horse I would bet on’ says Carl.
The business has started to re-organise itself around this new ambition. It has recently hired three ‘entrepreneurs in residences’ each working on new business ideas under the leadership of Casey Carl. On top of that the business has started to centralise it’s incubation of new ideas with an internal team called ‘Enterprise Growth Initiatives’. We’re sure Open House is just the beginning.