Mita opens a retail store


The parent company of Facebook and Instagram is taking on a new role as a physical retailer.

On Monday, Meta announced the Meta Store, which will be the company’s first attempt to sell its physical products — including the Quest 2 virtual reality headset and video calling device — directly to consumers in person. The store will also offer demos of Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses developed with Ray-Ban, but customers who want to purchase them will be directed to the Ray-Ban website to do so, Meta said.

Unlike an Apple Store, for example, there will only be one Meta Store at the moment, and it will be based on the company’s campus in Burlingame, California (specifically, at 322 Airport Boulevard).

Meta is the latest big tech company to open a retail store to showcase its devices. Google opened one such store in New York last year. Microsoft closed its 83 stores in 2020, but reshaped a few of them as “experience centers” and began selling products in them in 2021. Apple has made hundreds of its stores an essential part of its business for years.

Meta said the store will open on May 9. It’s, in part, an effort to make consumers more familiar with Meta’s plans for a so-called “metaverse” — a sci-fi concept that envisions, essentially, an immersive version of the internet, which the company spent billions of dollars last year via Facebook Reality Labs.

In a blog post on Monday, Meta said the store will allow people to try different products and will include a VR space that lets customers try apps like Beat Saber and Real VR Fishing. These virtual reality shows will be displayed on a huge curved LED screen in the store for others to see.

“The Meta Store will help people connect that connection with how our products become a gateway to the metaverse in the future,” Martin Gilliard, president of the Meta Store, said in the blog post.

Because the store will be built on Meta’s foundations, it will also give Meta employees “more opportunity to experiment and keep the customer experience central to our development,” Gilliard said.

Meta is the leader in the small but fast-growing market for VR headsets. Technology market researcher IDC estimates that nearly 11 million VR headsets were O’Brani believes the Meta Quest 2 headset accounted for 80% of those shipments last year, said Director of Research Jitch O’Brien.

It is not yet clear whether Meta plans to eventually move the Meta Store beyond Burlingame, similar to what Apple started in 2001 with the rapid expansion of its Apple Stores around the world. A spokesperson for Meta said the company has no details to share about whether it will open any stores other than the first one.

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