- Meta just opened their first brick-and-mortar store in Burlingame, California to showcase its Metaverse products.
- Even companies who have a large focus on technology and online shopping still find the importance of in-person experiences.
- The Metaverse has a vision for the future where customers, from the comfort of their home, can use VR to walk into a store virtually, look around, and try things on.
Meta just opened their first brick-and-mortar store in Burlingame, California on May 9 to showcase its Metaverse products, joining the list of other major tech companies that have opened retail shops. With the company differentiating itself by offering consumers the opportunity to test their next generation technology, Meta is hoping that offering users an in-person experience will increase user interest and sentiment.
Even Tech Companies Need a Physical Presence
Within this innovative new storefront, consumers can utilize interactive demos to make video calls to retail associates with Meta Portal, learn how Ray-Ban Stories can help them stay present with the world, and explore the magic of Virtual Reality (VR) with a first-of-its-kind immersive Meta Quest 2 demo. This shows that even companies who have a large focus on technology and online shopping still find the importance of in-person experiences.
“Like the rest of retail, most of the industry believes that a physical footprint is very important for brands to interact with customers so they can try, touch, and feel things, as well as connect with knowledgeable product advisors who can help explain what certain items do,” Oscar Sachs, Founder and CEO of Salesfloor, said. “The retail apocalypse made everyone believe that retailers needed to rationalize the number of stores they currently have compared to the past, but nobody feels that brick-and-mortar is not important in a unified commerce approach.”
In-Store Interactions Can Help Boost Online Sales
According to Jennifer Stevenson, Head of Product Strategy for Uberall, Meta’s decision to showcase its Augmented Reality (AR) and VR products to consumers in-person offers multiple benefits:
- Meta can showcase the company’s futuristic digital world dubbed the “metaverse” to customers in an interactive and entertaining manner
- They can reach shoppers who are skeptical of these advanced, interactive technologies and showcase the benefits of these devices in person
- Honest feedback from consumers will also give Meta much needed information about which products are working and which need to be improved
“In addition, Meta is offering a “Shop” tab to its website, making it easier to find all of its merchandise in one place online. This is a smart move because it offers customers who may still be wary about in-store shopping the digital option to review these products from the comfort of their own home. While this is just an initial first step to Meta getting into the retail store business, the company’s decision to showcase and utilize their new technology in store is essential to attracting consumers to the Metaverse,” Stevenson said.
The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Shopping
The Metaverse has a vision for the future where customers, from the comfort of their home, can use VR to walk into a store virtually, look around, and try things on. While this is light years ahead of what we do today, Sachs says this is Meta’s ultimate goal for the future. Facebook opened this store so they can sell the hardware that enables those types of shopping experiences and can use them as demonstrations. Five years from now, everyone will probably have a virtual reality store.
Until then, Sachs says there is some technology that is crucial for retailers to have in their stores right now:
- Buy online, pickup in store.
The technology that everyone has been implementing over the last few years is the ability for customers to buy products online and pick them up in store. Retailers need the technology to be able to do this right now, and anyone who is not doing it is a lagger.
- Virtual shopping capabilities.
When customers are not in the store, associates should be able to turn certain devices on so they can virtually shop with online traffic. They can do so with live and video chat, where they are literally providing the same kinds of sales experiences online as well as in store.
- Communication channels.
This is a very important technology to implement in stores because it provides ways for customers to create relationships with store associates. This can even be offered through something that is easy to implement such as WhatsApp or social media platforms. Your employees should be one of your most powerful marketers because they have relationships with customers, and therefore can use communication channels to recommend new products that just arrived based on what shoppers have purchased in the past.
“The development of the metaverse is a long-term investment,” Johan Liljeros, GM and Senior Commerce Advisor for Avensia, said. “Gen Z and Gen A will be the drivers and they will grow as that generation becomes a stronger economic force.”