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By Alyssa Newcomb
Facebook is stepping over the invisible line dividing the digital and physical worlds with nine new pop-up shops inside of Macy’s stores, just in time for the holiday shopping season.
The pop-up shops, which opened this week, feature 100 small, digital-native brands, according to Facebook. Many of those brands have been power users of Facebook and Instagram to help grow their business.
Among the brands being featured are Two Blind Brothers, which donates profits from the sale of its ultra-soft clothing to researchers working to find a cure for blindness; the Charleston Gourmet Burger Company, which makes sauces; and Love Your Melon, a beanie company that donates hats and 50 percent of its profits to pediatric cancer charities.
“When an e-commerce brand can physically reach out to a customer and engage them, it really throws gasoline on that interest,” Matt Sargent, senior vice president at consumer research firm Magid, told NBC News.
The Facebook pop-up shops will take place in The Market @ Macy’s spaces, an area the retailer has previously used to spotlight emerging brands. Macy’s doesn’t take a cut of their revenue and instead takes a one-time fee, which varies by space and season, according to its website.
Welcoming Facebook into Macy’s is a smart move, according to Sargent.
“One of the things we found is apparel shoppers at Macy’s are much more digitally focused socially than the vast majority of customers out there,” he said. “Macy’s is understanding this and it allows them to engage with their customers in ways other retailers can’t.”
The nine pop-up stores are in New York City, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
Facebook’s temporary entry into the brick-and-mortar world also comes one month after it released its only current physical product, the Facebook Portal. The video communications device costs $199 for a smaller screen and $349 for a larger one.
It was unclear if Facebook would also sell the device in its new pop-up stores. Facebook did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
Facebook isn’t the only tech giant combining bricks with clicks: Amazon is joining forces with Good Housekeeping for the holiday season. The duo launched a pop-up shop in the Mall of America that brings the magazine’s pages to life. Shoppers can use a code to shop for Good Housekeeping-approved products through Amazon, which will then deliver them directly to a shopper’s home.
The e-commerce giant also announced this week it is shipping a holiday catalog to millions of customers, hoping to capture a percentage of the toy market from Toys R Us, which shuttered earlier this year. Customers can scan product images with their Amazon app to get more information and to add the product to their shopping cart.