See inside Facebook's first ever physical retail location. Dubbed the Meta Store, it's designed to drum up interest in VR headsets and the metaverse.
- Facebook, or
Meta, is opening its first-ever retaillocation, along with an online shop.
- Dubbed Meta Store, it will sell headsets and offer demos to help people "connect" to the
Facebook is getting into physical retail for the first time, next month opening its own Meta location to offer its VR headsets and glasses directly to potential buyers as it tries to stoke interest in products vital to its metaverse ambitions.
Dubbed the Meta Store, it will open May 9 and be located in Burlingame, California, about 15 miles south of San Francisco. Along with its Quest VR headsets and Ray-Ban glasses that can record and post short videos or Stories, the Portal video-chat device will also be available at the store. The company last year changed its name to Meta to reflect its risky shift in focus to building "the metaverse," imagined as an immersive, hyper realistic digital world, and one that requires VR hardware to participate in.
"The best way to understand virtual reality is to experience it," founder and CEO
Last week, he posted a photo of himself using a headset in the store asking people to guess where he was.
Meanwhile, Microsoft closed all its retail locations for good in 2020. Google has dabbled in physical stores to show off its consumer hardware, such as Pixel and Nest devices. Amazon has made a major push into traditional retail in recent years, but the e-commerce giant has struggled so far.
A major part of the new Meta Store will be offering potential customers the chance to test out
In addition to the new store, the Meta website will also now include a shopping tab to sell its products online. Right now, Facebook only sells its headsets through third-party retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Amazon. The New York Times late last year reported on Facebook developing a retail strategy.
Martin Gillard, who's been leading Meta's burgeoning direct-to-consumer efforts, is now head of Meta Store, the company said. A spokesman would not comment on how many other stores may open in the future, but Gillard's role suggests an expansion plan of some kind.
"The Meta Store is going to help people make that connection to how our products can be the gateway to the metaverse in the future," Gillard said. "We're not selling the metaverse in our store, but hopefully people will come in and walk out knowing a little bit more about how our products will help connect them to it."
The new store is located on a Facebook office campus, so it will not be open on weekends. Stores are usually placed in areas that get a lot of foot traffic, typically a key part of any retail marketing strategy. However, Gillard said the company wants to be able to learn quickly from users at this stage.
"It gives us more opportunity to experiment and keep the customer experience core to our development," he said. "What we learn here will help define our future retail strategy."
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