Kinset Inc. and its founder, John Butler, are trying to implement virtual shopping malls that feel more like online virtual worlds like Second Life. All this is an attempt to increase online sales, which only account for about 7% of retail business. The thought is that people enjoy the movement through various merchandise aisles as a form of leisure. This may be true, but I think the merchandising experts are missing the essence of why people “shop” in the first place.
The interaction of people with one another. The feedback we receive from other people’s faces while they browse in the same store. The relationship of crowds to products. These are all factors of shopping that cannot be replicated online. I don’t care how masterfully written your Amazon.com feedback is, tangibility is huge! Online shopping primarily serves people who know what they want, and those people are already shopping online. Who wants to window shop on the internet when there are so many other fantastic eye-popping things to access in the virtual world?