Meta is taking the next step in its evolution away from being an ad-supported social network to a hardware-driven tech company for the metaverse age, with the opening of its first-ever retail store.
As the company formerly known as Facebook works to justify the billions it’s pouring into metaverse infrastructure — its Reality Labs segment lost $3 billion in the first quarter — it’s stepping up its efforts to introduce its next-generation products to the mainstream consumer. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has laid out an ambitious vision for the metaverse, in which people will interact in virtual worlds through various devices such as virtual reality headsets, but has suggested that it won’t be done until the end of this decade.
Martin Gilliard, Head of Meta Store, tells CNBC that the store is designed to expose consumers to Meta’s products, which you really have to experience to understand.
“The store is essential for us to be another touch point for the consumer,” Gilliard said. “What we will learn from this store will help inform if we continue to do more of these, but what we’re really looking for is the ability to tell a story and to get the feedback from the consumer.”
Meta’s first brick-and-mortar presence is a tidy 1,500-square-foot space adjacent to its Reality Labs Headquarters in Burlingame, California, with three products on display on blonde wood shelves.
The most important for adoption of the metaverse is the Quest Two virtual reality headset, which consumers can demonstrate to understand the various use cases of virtual reality.