How does “the Internet of Things” translate into retail sales?

The “Internet of Things” is a buzzword that I don’t fully understand myself. I believe it relates to devices that can be interconnected via wifi network and controlled remotely via mobile device. (Everything from thermostats to security systems to slow cookers…you’ve seen the ads.) On a recent RetailWire forum, panelists weighed in on Sears’ move into this business. Here’s my comment on their “Connected Solutions” strategy, especially in contrast to Target’s decision to open pop-up stores:

I shopped a Sears store recently in the Milwaukee area, and they were in the process of setting up an extensive “Connected Solutions” shop adjacent to the electronics department. (The merchandise hadn’t been set up yet, but the sales associate explained the idea to me.) I think Sears’ approach — integrating it into their existing stores — actually makes more sense than the idea of a pop-up store. Target certainly has enough real estate in its stores to roll out the idea faster, especially with their decision to take a more “curated” approach to the grocery business.

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