Target has begun selling its own smart lamp under its Threshold home furnishings brand according to the San Francisco Chronicle, a development that is believed to be the first case of a retailer creating and marketing its own Internet-connected home décor product.
The table lamp sells for $50 in the Open House section of the Target store at San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center, near where the retailer created Open House in 2015 as a showcase for smart Internet of Things devices. As with other smart devices, Target has enabled the lamp to be controlled via mobile app, but also has equipped it with a standard on/off switch — an option some smart devices don’t offer.
In addition to the smart table lamp sold at the Metreon location, Target also is selling a smart floor lamp, a smart ceiling lamp and a taller smart table lamp on its website, all grouped together under Threshold's Ara Collection aegis.
We have seen several retailers embrace the smart home movement by opening in-store showcases to promote and educate customers about these devices. In addition to Target’s Open House concept, we have seen a Connected Solutions space from Sears and more recently a similar in-store concept from Lowe’s and b8ta. It’s not clear if Target was the first to do so, but it definitely was one of the first, and the showcase proved successful enough that Target last summer expanded Open House to more of its stores.
Target also is not the only company making smart devices for the home either, but it does appear to be first retailer marketing its own private-label smart home device, which could be just an entry point for the retailer to develop a variety of other smart devices. And if it doesn't prove to be the beginning of a broader smart home strategy for Target, it is probably a good time for a retailer to be making that sort of commitment: The related market for smart home automation and monitoring devices is set for a big jump to 770 million devices in homes by 2021, according to Juniper Research, so consumers seem ready to welcome smart devices into their homes.
What can Target accomplish amid that market expansion? Well, it seems unlikely that Target would tread into the segment of smart appliances dominated by giants like GE and LG, or into the smart home speaker/assistant arena, where it would go up against Amazon Echo, Google Home and others, but there is still a lot of room for Target to carve out its own piece of the smart home devices market.
If it can manage to do that, it will also prove to be of tremendous value to Target's private-label marketing efforts. The retailer has committed to put more energy behind these brands, and if it can give its Threshold brand some value in the smart home devices space, it could give consumers more reason to seek out other Threshold products, both in-store and online.