Interesting news on the smart home retail front. Target, the second largest discount retail chain in the US, has confirmed it's finally getting into the smart home game.
I first learned of the news of the national rollout of the new "connected life" section when Piper's PR team emailed select analysts and press letting us that the Piper would make be a part of Target's new program. CNET confirmed with Target, who said the rollout would cover 1800 stores and each in-store section would cover 8 feet of retail shelf space.
"Later this month, Target is launching an 8-foot connected-home statement in Target stores nationwide," said the Target rep. "Products featured within the statement include home cameras and sensors, location tracking devises and digital scales. By "statement," the rep later clarified she meant "a designated area within the electronics department where these products will be showcased on the shelf."
Some quick observations on the news:
- I've long expected Target to make a bigger move into smart home, and the new effort sounds about like what I predicted: A dedicated section showcasing a few simple-to-understand product categories. It reminds me of the rollout of their wearable sections, which offer limited selection from a few key brands
- Target could be the first major retailer launching a smart home section without a smart home hub. Now, this observation could easily be proven wrong in the next day or so with an announcement by a vendor, but I think its interesting that only Piper has been outed as part of the new lineup. I've long felt hubs are a stopgap, and word on the street is other retailers are unhappy with slow sales of smart home hub-centric systems. It could be Target took notice.
- As I wrote when news broke of Target's trials in smart home last fall, the company's an important one for helping to make smart home more mass market. It hits a higher-income, younger demographic compared to Walmart, which is exactly the right part of the adoption "bell curve" you want to focus on if you're a retailer.
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