Meta, the Company Formerly Known as Facebook, Opens its First Store
The tech giant’s store will introduce shoppers to the metaverse.
The new store gives customers hands-on experience with hardware that can bring them into the metaverse, as well as a virtual space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and socialize with other users.
“We’re not selling the metaverse in our store, but hopefully people will come in and walk out knowing a little bit more about how our products will help connect them to it,” said Martin Gilliard, head of Meta Store, in a post on Meta’s blog announcing the new store.
“Once people experience the technology, they can gain a better appreciation for it.”
Customers will be able to purchase Meta Quest 2, the second iteration of the company’s virtual reality headset, which retails for $299, and accessories for the headset, like a carrying case.
There’s an interactive display wall and a demo area where visitors can play a variety of games, like golf or fishing, on wall-to-wall curved LED screens that display what they’re seeing in the headset to other customers.
When the demo is over, users will get a 30-second clip of the experience to share with friends.
Meta Portal video-calling devices, which feature AI-powered smart cameras, are also available for purchase at the store.
There’s a demo area for Portal devices as well, letting visitors place a video call to a retail associate who can walk them through all the features.
Visitors can also test out Ray-Ban Stories, the sunglasses brands’ first smart glasses, though they have to be purchased directly from Ray-Ban.
The smart specs allow wearers to take photos and videos from a first-person perspective and share them through Meta-owned Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Meta’s 1,550-square-foot store is strategically located near Reality Labs HQ, the home base of the research teams behind Meta’s augmented and virtual reality technologies. Meta operates 12 research facilities worldwide.
“Having the store here in Burlingame gives us more opportunity to experiment and keep the customer experience core to our development. What we learn here will help define our future retail strategy,” said Gilliard.
“Ultimately, our goal with the Meta Store is to show people what’s possible with our products today, while giving a glimpse into the future as the metaverse comes to life—and hopefully demystifying that concept a bit in the process,” said Meta.
SEE: Take a Look Inside the Meta Store
The metaverse revenue opportunity was valued at $500 billion in 2020, according to a 2021 Bloomberg report, and could grow to $800 billion by 2024.
With such a lucrative, relatively untapped market up for grabs, luxury brands have been staking their claim in the metaverse, looking to capture the attention of tech-savvy Gen Z shoppers.
Last May, Gucci and Roblox, a popular metaverse platform, teamed up on the Gucci Garden experience in honor of the brand’s 100th anniversary. For two weeks only, visitors could walk through the garden, and try on and purchase digital products for their avatars.
In September 2021, Balenciaga partnered with video game Fortnite to create digital merchandise inspired by real-life designs.
National Jeweler columnists Duvall O’Steen and Jen Cullen Williams took a deep dive into the metaverse in their latest column, highlighting what jewelers should know and how they can be a part of it.
“Jewelry is the perfect category for the metaverse,” Syama Meagher, CEO and chief retail strategist at Scaling Retail, is quoted in the column as saying.
“It is collectible by nature, perfect for collaborations, and carries more brand loyalty than clothing. We have to ask ourselves, how do our brands create meaning in a virtual world where people are congregating and socializing?”
During the annual Jewelry Market Week in Las Vegas in June, the JCK Show will feature an opening keynote on the topic by Swan Sit, former global head of digital marketing at Nike, Estée Lauder, and Revlon.
Called “Web3 Is Coming—Navigating the Past, Present, and Future of Retail,” the talk is scheduled for Friday, June 10 at 8:30 a.m. at The Venetian and is open to all registered badge holders.
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