Target launched the Game Room in San Francisco to cater to gamers, which could risk alienating its core customers.

WHAT HAPPENED: Target launched a new concept store around the future of gaming in downtown San Francisco last week. The Game Room allows shoppers to try new games like Magic Leap and products like Oculus Quest headsets. Only some of the products on display are available for sale. None of the Game Room products are available at other Target stores. The Game Room space was previously Target’s “Open House,” a smart home showroom that opened in 2015 to display tech products like smart speakers and connected doorbells.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • The Game Room positions Target as a tech-savvy retailer, but it needs to expand the initiative beyond Silicon Valley to make a lasting impact. The concept store invites a new customer to try out the retailer, but it’s not clear if this cutting-edge gaming audience needs Target’s help staying up to speed on everything. Focusing on different consumer groups who might be newer to gaming would be more beneficial for the long term.

  • More Game Rooms around the country would allow Target to get a better sampling of what products resonate with consumers. While San Francisco is the tech capital of the U.S., having a presence in other major cities, as well as at gaming conferences or events, could provide the retailer with more valuable consumer information. Target should take advantage of its wide-ranging physical footprint and insert more concept stores and showrooms to drive traffic and become a destination for discovery. An independent store in San Francisco is Target’s attempt to stay relevant to tech leaders, but the bulk of its loyalists are in other areas of the country.