NY Times On Virtual Retail

The New York Times is carrying a story I figure is worth mentioning, if only because I’ve addressed the same issues on this blog a number of times and like to harp on them. The article, “Awaiting Real Sales From Virtual Shoppers” (Link), is a bit glazed over, but I did appreciate some of the details that fell out. Some of the highlights for me:

  • So far, retailers say they have low expectations for their efforts, but some believe that the experiments could yield important lessons on how people might operate in the online realm.” (more – reLink)
  • Mr. McCann said that he expected to distribute more virtual bouquets than real ones. “This is more about relationship building for us right now, and exposing our brand,” he said.” (more – reLink)
  • One of the more successful commercial applications within Second Life has been Reebok’s virtual store, where users may create custom versions of Reebok shoes for their avatars, and for themselves.” (more – reLink)
  • Either way, the sudden popularity of three-dimensional virtual spaces online suggests that consumers are ready for that sort of experience even if retailers are not. Mr. Schionning, for one, says they will have to be ready soon.
  • “Imagine taking an avatar and walking around a house, painting the walls dynamically and furnishing it with products from Pottery Barn or Ikea,” he said. “There’ll be a point when a 3-D Internet solves problems in your real world.”
  • With regard to that last line item, if you haven’t read my earlier post, “Smiley Face Savvy” (reLink), you might want to give it a look. With rapid-manufacturing on the horizon (and I’ve been following announcements of some nice new materials being introduced), companies will be doing more than delivering photorealistic renderings.

    via Greg Verdino’s Marketing blog