Awaiting Real Sales From Virtual Shoppers

By June 11, 2007

THE seven million or so inhabitants of Second Life, the three-dimensional online world, have spent millions of dollars on digital makeovers, clothing and other goods and services for their avatars. But will the game’s players buy anything for themselves?
Retailers and manufacturers like Reebok, Adidas, American Apparel and 1-800Flowers.com are setting up shop in Second Life, hoping that users will steer their avatars to these stores and buy goods to deliver to their real world addresses. 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.
“What we’re doing reminds me of the early days of the online world,” said Christopher G. McCann, president of 1-800-Flowers.com. “The first site we launched in 1995 was in 3-D, because I said people wouldn’t want just two-dimensional photos. Here we are, 12 years later, back into this virtual world.”

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