Meta, formerly known as Facebook, will be opening its first physical store in May.
The tech giant will open the Meta Store on May 9 in Burlingame, CA, according to a release on the company website. The store will focus on allowing customers to test out Meta-developed hardware such as Ray-Ban Stories (Ray-Ban’s smart glasses created in conjunction with Meta), the standalone video calling hardware Portal and the immersive VR headset Oculus Quest 2.
In its pre-Meta incarnation, Facebook attempted to run Oculus demonstrations in Best Buy locations with limited success, despite dedicating prime store real estate to devices and demos, according to a Washington Post article on the new store. The immersive nature of the experience may have made it an off-putting product for people 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 in major electronics retailers like Best Buy and general retailers like Walmart, according to Tom’s Guide. Were the Meta Store to scale beyond a single store, it could put Meta in more direct competition with its own retail partners.
Whether Meta will be any better at successfully managing in-store demos any better than Best Buy did a few years ago remains an open question. Another one of the biggest global tech companies recently stumbled in its attempts at providing a satisfying physical retail experience.
Amazon.com in March closed down all 68 of its Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star and physical pop-up stores nationwide. The company said it planned to focus on its physical presences in the grocery and convenience world and its Just Walk Out technology. Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told Reuters that the move resulted from Amazon discovering that “retail is hard.”
At the same time, other mostly virtual tech giants have been dipping a toe into physical retail in recent years.
For instance, Google recently announced plans to open a physical Google Store in Brooklyn, joining its first standalone location in Chelsea, according to The Real Deal.
- Introducing Meta Store: A Hands-On Experience With Our Hardware – Meta
- Zuckerberg’s First Store is a Smart But Expensive Metaverse Bet – Washington Post
- Does Facebook – er – Meta now need stores? – RetailWire
- Amazon is closing all its Books, 4-Star and pop-up stores – RetailWire
- Where to buy Oculus Quest 2 — latest stock updates – Tom’s Guide
- Google to open retail store in Williamsburg – The Real Deal