Meta introduced the Meta Store on Monday, which would be the company’s first attempt to sell its tangible products directly to consumers in person, including the Quest 2 virtual reality headset and Portal video conferencing gadget. Customers who wish to buy the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses that were developed in collaboration with Ray-Ban will be led to a Ray-Ban website, according to Meta.
Unlike, for example, the Apple Store, there will be only one Meta Store for the time being, and it will be located on the company’s Burlingame site (specifically, at 322 Airport Boulevard).
Meta is the latest big tech company to create a physical location to display its products. Last year, Google opened one of these stores in New York. Microsoft closed its 83 stores in 2020, but repurposed a couple as “experience centers” in 2021 and began selling things there. For years, Apple has made its hundreds of stores a crucial element of its company.
The business will open on May 9th, according to Meta. It’s part of an effort to raise awareness of Meta’s aspirations for a “metaverse” — a sci-fi notion that envisions an immersive version of the internet that the firm spent billions of dollars on last year through Facebook Reality Labs.
Meta said in a blog post on Monday that the store will allow visitors to try out various products and will include a virtual reality arena where clients can try out games like Beat Saber and Real VR Fishing. These VR demonstrations will be shown to the public on a massive, curved LED screen in the store.
In a blog post, Meta Store president Martin Gilliard said, “The Meta Store is going to assist people make the link to how our products may be the entrance to the metaverse in the future.”
Because the store will be located on Meta’s campus, employees will have a “greater chance to experiment and make the client experience central to our development,” according to Gilliard.
Meta is the market leader in the modest but fast-developing VR headset sector. According to Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC, approximately 11 million VR headsets will be supplied in 2021, a 96 percent increase over the 5.6 million shipped the year before. According to Ubrani, Meta’s Quest 2 headset accounted for 80% of those shipments last year.
It’s unclear whether Meta intends to expand the Meta Store beyond Burlingame as Apple did in 2001 with its quick launch of Apple Stores around the world. According to a Meta spokeswoman, the company has no plans to build any further stores after the first one.