Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc. is opening its first ever retail store in California, hoping to introduce people to virtual reality worlds with a try-before-you-buy approach.
The Meta Store will open May 9 in Burlingame, California, and showcase the company’s hardware products. Meta encourages visitors to “interact with everything” including the Portal video calling hub, Quest 2 virtual reality goggles and Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. Meta also added an ecommerce store to Meta.com, where consumers can buy those products directly from Meta online.
Tech firms have regularly set up — then shut down — physical shops. In 2020, Microsoft Corp. said it would shut down its store locations permanently but continue to invest in online sales. In March Amazon.com Inc. said it would close its physical bookstores, “Amazon 4-Star” locations and mall pop-up kiosks as the world’s largest online retailer narrows its brick-and-mortar push to the grocery sector.
Not sharing plans for future stores
“The best way to understand virtual reality is to experience it,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said as part of the announcement. Meta previously tested this through pop-up shops in various locations. The company declined to share any plans for future stores.
Jennifer Stevenson, head of product strategy for location-based marketing firm Uberall Inc. says opening a store offers multiple benefits to Meta. First, she says, it allows the social media giant to introduce its virtual- and augmented-reality products to consumers in an interactive and entertaining manner.
“Furthermore, [Meta] can reach customers who are skeptical of these advanced, interactive technologies and showcase the benefits of these devices in-person. Honest feedback from consumers will also give Meta much-needed information about which products are working and which need to be improved,” Stevenson says.
“In addition, Meta is offering a ‘Shop’ tab to its website, making it easier to find all its products in one place online. This is a smart move because it offers consumers who may still be wary about in-store shopping the digital option to review these products from the comfort of their own home,” she added.
Over the past year, Meta has increasingly focused on the metaverse — a future version of the internet made up of immersive worlds accessible via headsets — which Zuckerberg thinks is the next major computing revolution after mobile phones. The company changed its name from Facebook to Meta in October to underscore the dedication to its investment.
Meta has explored partnering with EssilorLuxottica SA, the world’s biggest eyewear company, to sell its headgear. The two firms teamed up to produce Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, which were sold in some of the Franco-Italian company’s 8,000 retail outlets globally.Favorite