Meta Opens its First Physical Store

The new 1,550-square-foot Meta Store offers a host of virtual reality-enhancing hardware.

The virtual platform sets up shop in the real world

By Andy Kriege, YSN

It turns out that even companies that are staking their futures on us living in a virtual world are building brick-and-mortar stores to sell their tangible goods.

Joining the ranks of Google and Microsoft is Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, Inc., which opened its first physical store this week at its Burlingame, Calif., campus. The 1,550-square-foot showroom is situated near Meta’s Reality Labs (formerly Oculus) headquarters, and was set up to showcase the company’s various hardware products, including virtual and augmented reality goggles and glasses.

 “We want you to interact with everything. We want you to pick stuff up. We want you to feel it.” — Meta

Shoppers at the Meta Store are encouraged to “pick stuff up” and “interact with everything.” While these multimedia sunglasses must be ordered direct from Ray-Ban, all other display items are available for purchase.

The social network and tech giant says the store features interactive demos that show customers how its hardware products work and encourages them to try them out.

According to a Meta blog, items on display include Meta Portal, a video calling device; Ray-Ban Stories, which are a pair of Ray-Ban glasses equipped with built-in capabilities for taking photos and videos, making calls, and listening to music; and Meta Quest 2, an immersive virtual reality device.

Meta hopes its consumer tech products and new retail format will lesson its dependence on app-generated ad revenue.

Also in the new store, you’ll also be able to check out the company’s Meta Portal smart displays within a special demo area. Once inside, you can place a video call to a retail associate to fully explore its capabilities, see Meta’s Smart Camera in action, and explore features like the animated Story Time.

The products are also available online at Meta.com.

The pilot shop has limited store hours but its tech gear can also be purchased on Meta.com.

Meta’s consumer tech products and entrée into retail reflect an effort to diversify beyond its Facebook family of apps. Indeed, the ad sales generated by Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and others accounted for fully 97.5% of the company’s revenue in the first quarter ended March 31, or close to $28 billion.

In contrast, the revenue contribution from its Reality Labs division, which designs and develops the metaverse-ready hardware, was a relative pittance at $695 million in Q1. While Facebook’s parent is betting big on Reality Labs, it remains a money pit for the company, having posted a first-quarter loss of $2.96 billion, which widened from a $1.86 billion loss last year.

The Meta Store is open Monday through Friday, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is closed on weekends.