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Sears vs Target: Which store operates the best connected-home showroom?

Christopher Null | July 23, 2015
The connected home isn't just a dream for consumers, it's also a bonanza for retailers who stand to cash in big on shoppers looking to upgrade their home life with a few well-chosen gadgets. But connected-home devices are quite a new and emerging market, and confusion is rampant when it comes to products such as smart light bulbs and cloud-connected thermostats.

Kate was my guide through the store, and she was able to talk in considerable detail about the workings of any of the products on sale here. Foot traffic was extremely brisk during my visit, with shoppers seeming to take a real interest in the displays and staff amicably guiding them through what must have been the most unique visit to Target they'd ever experienced.

It's curious then that Target's top-selling items--displayed in real time and projected onto a wall--aren't the expected security cameras and light bulbs but rather the Tile key-finding system, which really isn't a connected-home product at all. The number-two seller is a smart pet food dispenser.

Target Open House is a fun little laboratory, but it feels more like an experiment than the broader retail experience at Sears. But that may be exactly what this often confusing industry needs right now: At neither store did I witness anyone actually buy  anything.


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