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Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal


Facebook is heading into the holiday season with the opening of pop-up stores inside nine Macy’s retail sites across the country.

As Facebook has hardly any physical products of its own (more on that later), the stores will feature 100 products from “the most-loved small businesses and digital-native brands” on Facebook and Instagram, the company said, giving shoppers the chance to get up close and hands-on with the products before deciding whether to make a purchase.

Facebook’s pop-up store concept, which includes some paraphernalia linked to its site, has been set up at Market@Macy’s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; New York City, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle and can be visited from today through early February.

For those not in the know, Market@Macy’s is essentially a pop-up marketplace showcasing a range of goods from up-and-coming brands, as well as established ones, in a space inside select Macy’s stores.

Digital-native companies such as Two Blind Brothers — a non-profit that makes ultra-soft designer clothing with all profits going to blindness research — is one such business inside Facebook’s new pop-up store, with shoppers able to feel the brand’s clothing for themselves and chat to assistants about the products on offer.

“Facebook has been a core partner in our growth,” said Bradford Manning, co-founder of Two Blind Brothers. “For Two Blind Brothers and the majority of businesses participating, the experience will allow consumers to experience our brands and quality in a physical store for the first time.”

More physical stores coming?

While Facebook’s first foray into business-focused physical stores can be described as tentative, it could develop into something more substantial over time.

Facebook is covering all the costs for its space inside Macy’s, apparently in the hope of cementing loyalty among small businesses, while at the same time highlighting to others the potential benefits of getting involved with the company.

Another possibility for future physical retail locations could link to Facebook’s renewed interest in developing tech products of its own. Amazon has been operating pop-up stores for a number of years now, with the locations showcasing its growing range of electronics, from Kindle ereaders to Fire tablets to Echo smart speakers. Facebook, on the other hand, is about to start shipping its brand new Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices, and last year tried out a few pop-up locations to demonstrate its Oculus VR headsets, and so we could yet see more Facebook-themed spaces where shoppers can get their hands on its products and try before they (perhaps) buy.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
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