Retailers Getting Ready for The Smart Home

August 03, 2015 | B2C Retail

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Two big-time retailers have seen the future of residential living and, in short, it’s “connected.” Both Target and Sears have opened spaces dedicated to showcasing the concept of the connected home—a home where appliances and accessories come with digital sensors that connect to the Internet and can be controlled from a smartphone.


These types of “smart” devices span a range of categories, from washers and refrigerators to safety and security systems and thermostats and lighting to entertainment systems.


The market for smart home technologies is expected to explode going forward. Whether at home, at work or on vacation, consumers will control and automate just about every device within the home. According to projections by research firm Strategy Analytics, U.S. smart home revenues are expected to double by 2019, hitting $39 billion.


Here’s what the two retailers are doing:


Target: Located in tech-savvy San Francisco, in the Metreon Center, Target Open House is part retail store, part lab, and part meeting venue. One side of the 3,500-sq.-ft. space features products mounted on custom-made interactive displays that activate when someone draws near. (Open House sells about 35 sensor-laden smart home devices, ranging from a Nest Thermostat to a Sonos music player.)


The other side of the space is designed as a transparent, acrylic “house” with a series of vignettes, including a living room and a nursery, that demonstrate how multiple connected smart devices can seamlessly work together to create real-life solutions. For example, instead of simply showing how a smart baby monitor functions, the Open House connects it to other products in the house. Visitors can experience how a baby’s stirring prompts soothing music on the sound system.


But that’s not all. Target also plans to use the space to host regular meetings – from tech talks and meet-ups to product demos and product launches.


Sears: Sears’ new Connected Solutions” flagship couldn’t be in a better location: It’s at The Shops at Tanforan in San Bruno, California, the heart of the Silicon Valley.


The 4,000-sq.-ft. store is intended to simplify the way people shop for their connected homes. To that end, it is set up like a house—with a living room, kitchen, nursery, workout room, garage and outdoor area—so that consumers can experience the benefits of smart home technology first hand and employees can demonstrate products designed for each individual space. There are more than 100 smart home gadgets on display, from video doorbells to Internet-connected garage door openers and light bulbs.


Sears is looking to taking a leading position in the smart home techonology market – a move that could inject new life into the retailer. Nationally, the chain is expanding its assortment of smart home technology home products to hundreds of stores. In addition to the flagship, Sears operates three 2,000-sq.ft. Connected Solutions stores in the Chicago area.


Posted by Angel Carra | Request as a Speaker

On the go, mother of two, who believes things happen for a reason. SVP of Sparks Retail focused on driving the best client and customer experience – because I know how they want to be treated.