Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META 1.13%) recently announced it would open a physical store near its Reality Labs headquarters in California, where customers can get hands-on experience with the various tools that will connect them to the metaverse.
In this clip from "The Virtual Opportunities Show" on Motley Fool Live, recorded on April 26, Motley Fool contributor Rachel Warren discusses the core idea behind this move and whether the concept signals a shift in the way companies connect with their customers.
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Rachel Warren: Meta has announced that they are actually opening a physical retail space. As of May 9, they are opening the Meta Store, which they describe as a retail space to discover Portal, Ray-Ban Stories, and Quest 2 and try them out in person. The retail store's going to be on their campus in Burlingame, California.
And the real, I think, core idea behind this store is simple to understand. It's basically the idea of allowing customers to get that hands-on experience with those hardware products that they will require in the metaverse, to access the metaverse. It's a huge part of this build out. For example, there was a blog post in which they announced this store, and they said you know you'll be able to -- through interactive demos, you can make video calls with Portal, you can explore the magic of VR with the Quest 2 demo. You know, they want their user base to be able to interact with these components, and I think one of the things that's interesting to me about this is: There is so much confusion about what the metaverse is going to look like, and I think having this idea of a space where people can go, and they can try out these products and see for themselves what they think. I think there's kind of an interesting kind of value proposition there.
It is interesting. There was -- of course, many different websites were commentating on this yesterday. Actually I heard the news at the end of the Daily Download yesterday. I didn't believe it at first, like Meta's opening an actual store? Can this really be? In the age of, you know, brick-and-mortar retail being less of a thing. And there was an interesting, a report on this on CNN and it was talking, giving the examples of, you know, Google. They opened a similar kind of store to showcase their hardware in New York last year. And then of course you have another big tech giant, like Microsoft, that actually shuttered like 80-plus stores in 2020 in the wake of the pandemic but has since kind of revamped a few, you know, what it calls, like "experience centers" and started selling some products there but not at the scale of that in-store presence it had before.
So I think it's an interesting question as to what is this going to look like? How successful is this going to be? Are they going to open more stores? Is this the first of many? This store is going to be about 1,550 square feet, so they're saying it's going to be a pretty small footprint for the engaging experience they have planned out. They said, you know, it was also really important for us to launch the first Meta store near Reality Labs HQ, where we're helping build the metaverse. So I think there's sort of this idea of having the store right there on the cusp of where they're building out their metaverse, as Meta sees it.
You know, if you go to that store, you might get kind of a first-hand look at a lot of these hardware technologies that are going to be so integral to the space. And I think the bottom line here is that management has said, you know, we want to show people what's possible. Their products today give a glimpse of the future as the metaverse comes to life.
You know, the whole Meta thing. There's been so much, so many headlines that I think Meta has given us just over the last year alone. You know, the company was facing kind of another wave of criticism last year in the wake of some of the claims about, you know, how it was managing content on its platform. And then right around that time, it announced, you know, its name change and announced this very significant kind of repositioning to be focusing on the metaverse. Whether or not those two things are related, who knows.
I'll be curious to see if this is a successful venture for them. I tend to think it will be. I think people are really curious to see what this is going to look like. And could this be the beginning of a new era of in-store retailers building out retail stores specifically because of where the metaverse is going? I'm kind of curious to see what that could look like.