Meta is Reportedly Planning to Open Retail Stores to Sell VR, AR, and Other Digital Connection Tools
With Facebook – or Meta, as its parent company is now known – progressively growing its inventory of tangible products, it's only natural that the firm would contemplate opening actual stores to better exhibit its cutting-edge hardware innovations.
According to The New York Times, leaked internal documents showing ideas for IRL Facebook storefronts where it would sell its VR headsets, AR glasses, Portal devices, and more could be on the way. Meta has explored creating retail locations that would eventually span the globe, according to people familiar with the initiative and documents seen by The New York Times. They claimed the stores will be used to introduce consumers to the company's Reality Labs division's technologies, such as virtual reality headsets and, eventually, augmented reality spectacles.
Meta will need to get more of these tools into more homes to guide users towards Meta's vision of the metaverse, an immersive digital world of endless possibilities, and physical stores may be a better way to establish direct-to-consumer supply chains while also enabling new showcase opportunities to generate more sales. That's understandable. You can buy Facebook's goods in stores right now, but they're strewn about alongside a slew of other competing devices and options, and they don't get much attention. If Facebook wants to invest more in direct marketing and presenting its next-level plans, it would be best served by creating its dedicated promotion and product displays, which it could control directly within its stores constructed particularly for its offers.
In this regard, Meta's VR headsets appear to be the most obvious focus, with the company's fully-enabled metaverse vision centered on fully interactive VR worlds, which would only be genuinely achievable in the VR environment.
Meta will be well-positioned to play a significant role in the next stage of digital connectivity if it can construct the primary platform that would permit such connection – which Meta has been quick to point out that no single firm will "own." However, someone will have to build the platform into which other developers can plug, and Meta is likely to be the best-positioned to play a crucial role in defining the parameters for universal connection and functionality in this regard. That will almost certainly necessitate the formation of an independent consortium, or industry-wide agreement, which will then promote the development of universal schemas and data-sharing methods for interoperability inside the area, as well as more innovative and collaborative routes. However, Meta is already leading the way in VR (via the business formerly known as Oculus) and appears well-positioned to win out in this change.
This leads to consumer adoption and optimizing hardware take-up to progress to the next level. Meta is witnessing great consumer demand for its standalone VR devices and expects to release more advanced versions of the device, as well as its Portal video calling device, which has witnessed a spike in sales due to the epidemic, and its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses cooperation.
Meta is also rumored to be developing a new smartwatch, as well as new beacons for retail outlets, as a way to deliver more direct sales insight and counter data losses caused by Apple's ATT upgrade. On the other hand, Meta may consider incorporating full-body scan booths into these stores to further link individuals to the virtual world.
As you can see in this video, Meta is working on new scanning technology that will allow for more accurate depictions of humans in AR/VR, but you and I will never be able to do full-boy scans at this degree of accuracy with our own mobile devices. To do so, you'll need a dedicated studio like the one shown in the video - and perhaps it will be another feature of Meta's retail store.
It's also worth noting the increased visual data catalog that Meta could end up creating as a result of this. Due to persistent privacy concerns, the business recently shut down its facial recognition program, but it's also trying to build full-body scans like this, capturing even more visual data. In the long run, it appears that removing Meta's old Face ID database won't cost the company much.
Given the emphasis on its metaverse push, the company certainly now has enough hardware products and functionality to develop a network of retail outlets, as well as the financial motivation to press forward with the initiative.
Establishing consumer supply chains is difficult, and Snapchat has an advantage over Meta in this regard, as its Spectacles product has been available for some time through various retailers. Opening its retail chain, on the other hand, would mitigate this effect and better position Meta to maximize sales growth and product awareness, virtually ensuring increased take-up. It would be a massive project, but it makes sense - and the company's expanding product portfolio indicates that this is a developing possibility.
A Meta shop could be opening in your local mall soon, making connecting to the metaverse as simple as purchasing a headset and logging on. There's still a long way to go in this, but with each shift, you can see how the next level is growing closer.