Meta has been morphing itself into a serious hardware manufacturer over the past decade and now the company is set to open its first physical retail store where it will sell its growing lineup of hardware, which mostly consists of VR headsets and smart glasses or data glasses.
The store will be located on the company’s Campus in Burlingame, California. The Meta store is scheduled to open on May 9th. Visitors will be able to visit the store and physically try out the company‘s product lineup such as its Quest (2) VR headsets and Portal videophones. The stores will also be demoing the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses that the company launched last year and they will be assisted to order the glasses online.
The Meta store will have a demo area for its Portal videophones where users will be able to try out its video calling features with the help of store staff.
The store will also feature an area for testing various Quest 2 demos such as GOLF+, Beat Saber, Real VR Fishing, and Supernatural. Visitors will also walk away with a 30-second mixed reality clip with footage of them playing a game. Visitors will also be able to try out various styles of Ray-Ban glasses that capture and share videos using built-in cameras and test their functionality and capabilities before they make a purchase.
On its website, Meta has also added a “Shop” tab that allows online visitors to easily find all its product offerings in one locale.
Following on the heels of other tech giants such as Google, Meta is making big waves in the hardware scene, particularly in the immersive hardware scene. Google, too, open its first physical retail store only last year.
Previously, Meta had entered into a partnership with Best Buy to create demo stations for its virtual reality headsets. The Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses have appeared on Ray-Ban’s own physical retail outlets.
For Meta, this physical store is yet another opportunity to take its hardware to the mainstream. Meta may have sold as many as 10 million of its latest headset but for much of the consumer world, VR and AR tech are still something of a novelty. The store is also opening at a time when Meta is decidedly pivoting into the immersive technologies, now colloquially called the metaverse.
However, while the launch is a major pivot in the company’s approach to its hardware retail business, it is still a relatively small outlet. It sits on a 1,550 square-foot storefront and will be opening close to Meta’s Reality Labs HQ which is located on 322 Airport Boulevard in Burlingame, CA. It is not situated in a major metropolitan location like Google’s Manhattan store. The Meta store will be opening from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm from Monday to Friday so the opening hours are not particularly prime shopping time.
The head of Meta store Martin Gilliard issued a statement to the effect that the location gives the company an opportunity to experiment and focus on the customer experience as part of its development efforts and that these lessons will define the company’s future retail strategy as more of its hardware roll out into the market.
The last major Meta product release was in 2020. However, the Meta store will likely be its staging ground as it looks to showcase new VR and AR projects in the future, many of which are currently at an advanced stage of development.
The store will likely also give Meta an up-close look at how consumers will be responding to its hardware many of which have been plagued with privacy concerns in the real world.
- May 1, 2022