While walking the dog this morning I listened to a Harvard Business Review podcast that discussed the coming amalgamation of ecommerce, social networking, and virtual worlds. The topics discussed included how some companies are setting up virtual shops in Second Life.
The discussants felt that the social interaction component of the virtual world was something that could make virtual world shopping a real success someday.
While I am a big fan of social networking, the thought of such shopping experiences does not thrill me. I hate shopping. Shopping for me is not recreation, it's something I put off as long as possible and, when I do it, I do it as quickly as possible. Online purchasing has been an especially fine development since it helps me avoid the parking, the lines, the surly staff, and the long walks from store to store.
Reproducing such experiences online in a three-dimensional world is not my idea of fun. Heck, I can't even get my avatar in Second Life to look the way I want him to. Give me a two dimensional page with ordering information and I'll be happy!
Here's a quote from a Reuter's news report (from the Reuters Second Life news feed):
“Amazon.com, the retail business, does not speculate on what it may or may not be doing in the future as it relates to Second Life,” said Amazon spokesman Andrew Herdener in an email.
That hasn’t stopped third-party developers and others from working on their own solutions. Earlier this year, 3pointD.com reported that a group of Amazon engineers were working to bridge Second Life and Amazon.com, outside of the formal auspices of the company. Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels described the initiative as a “completely grassroots effort” to 3pointD’s Mark Wallace.