April 26, 2022
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, will open its first physical store in May.
The tech giant will open the Meta Store on May 9 in Burlingame, Calif., according to a statement posted on the company’s website. The store will focus on allowing customers to test hardware developed by Meta, such as Ray-Ban Stories (Ray-Ban’s smart glasses created in collaboration with Meta), the standalone video call hardware portal and the Oculus Quest 2 immersive VR headset.
In its pre-Meta incarnation, Facebook attempted to hold Oculus demos in Best Buy locations with limited success, despite devoting prime real estate to devices and demos, according to a Washington Post article on the new shop. The immersive nature of the experience may have made it an off-putting product to try in stores full of strangers. The demos ended with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the products planned for the Meta Store, including the Oculus Quest 2, remain available at major electronics retailers like Best Buy and general retailers like Walmart, according to Tom’s Guide. If the Meta Store evolved beyond a single store, it could put Meta in more direct competition with its own retail partners.
Whether Meta can successfully manage in-store demos better than Best Buy a few years ago remains an open question. Another of the world’s biggest tech companies recently stumbled in its attempts to provide a satisfying brick-and-mortar retail experience.
In March, Amazon.com closed its 68 physical Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star and pop-up stores nationwide. The company said it plans to focus on its physical presence in the grocery and convenience world and its Just Walk Out technology. Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, said Reuters that the move resulted from Amazon discovering that “retail is tough.”
Meanwhile, other, mostly virtual, tech giants have moved into physical retail in recent years.
For example, Google recently announced plans to open a physical Google Store in Brooklyn, joining its first standalone location in Chelsea, according to The real deal.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will it take for the Meta Store to succeed? How do you think Best Buy and other retailers that carry Meta products will react if the concept is scaled?
“Seeing is believing, especially when it comes to the Metaverse. There’s no better way to get people to try VR than to put on a headset.”