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» Brands March On Into Second Life from Futurelab's Blog
image: Amazon web services blog-- Update on the progress of the in-world Amazon store.-- Adidas-Reebok is rumored to get in soon.-- And so is Toyota Scion (here and here).-- CNet writes about a Baltimore accounting firm setting up shop... [Read More]

» Amazon Moving Further Into Second Life from Managing the Gray
Jeff over at the Amazon Web Services Blog has screenshots and commentary on his first shopping experience inside of Second Life with an integrated Amazon.com store. I have not had the opportunity to check it out for myself, but just reading the account... [Read More]

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Prokofy Neva

Dear Jeff,

I don't mean to tell you your business here, but I do have some responses to the lay-out. I feel that presenting the 2-D sort of cardboard cutout stand-up of the book representation you have here presents some problems in the 3-D world mainly for users and retention to the site.

a) Textures can rez very slowly depending on both sim performance and the user's own connection and graphic card. So you have to make sure to use no greater than 512 x 512 m2 textures to have less loading issues for people on arrival, that can be limiting. Even so, a huge field of textures remaining unloaded means people leave.

b) Even if loaded/rezzed, the avatar may not be able to keep focusing on static cut-outs, especially if other things cloud the field (not sure the yellow build around it will help or hurt there, would have to see) -- but regardless of optics, you still have the problem of holding the avatar's attention and keeping him engaged, when presenting something that is less visible than the old 2-D Internet, and less compelling, and yet not within the optimal environment of the 3-D world he's already learned to manipulate.

c) I'd therefore suggest having more 3-D, clickable scenes, as if the book has come to life, a theater-in-the-round. That is, Harry Potter is not just a stand-up cardboard cut-out ad, flat, white, with text on it, but is a virtual scene, with perhaps an antique high-backed chair, bats flying, strange potions brewing with particle bubbles somewhere, something clickable in the scene, i.e. a free wand that the visitor can copy and take home or else rez out of his inventory to play with while in this scene, etc. etc.

Obviously, prim count limitations would limit the number of books that could be rendered as 3-D scenes like this, but having at least some of the books come to life like that could help.

e) I've tried developing an infohub or newbie learning station with this ancient "Memory Palace" idea, I called it "Memory Bazaar". The idea is to have the objects and 3-D scene be part of what helps learning, assocation, memory. I have talk-script to chat the question a visitor might have when he arrives and starts clicking on stuff--most people are keyed to click when the go in any video game world/virtual world, and notecard giver gives him a text. Ideally, if we had more tools, the avatar could voice and the object would voice too, its text could come up as a cloud or something less difficult than a notecard. The advantage of the notecard is just that you can keep it and re-read later when you can make sense of it.

Here's the location:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Ross/35/242/60/

Prokofy

Hugo Dalgleish

Prokofy,

We do try and keep a user's attention with the image displays. Through some clever scripting, we're able to utilise the client-side Quicktime streaming to display the images of items for sale, much like you'd see by browsing amazon.com. However, because SL only permit us to overlay one texture like this we can only show one image per land parcel, and it severely restricts what we can display.

One of the hardest things we've found when developing the store is how to represent real-life items in the virtual world. I wanted the objects to be very abstract, but some basic research showed that users like virtual items to look like real life items. It's why where we sell books, we use objects that look like real life books, where we sell magazine subscriptions, we use objects that look like magazines and so on.

Your idea of a fully immersive environment for shopping is a great one, and I can truly see it working for a themed store in a themed mall. Imagine a bookstore that only sold murder mystery books and having some chalk outlines on the floor, bloodstained carpeting, and a smoking pistol on the table. For a generic store (like our current one in Baekje sim) that might not work as well.

Now, if a publisher were to do a book launch inside Second Life, your idea would be very appealing...

rikomatic

This is a cool build, that I'm sure will stimulate lots of ideas and new multi-verse development.

What would seem to be one possible next step is applying the "Other customers also were interested in ..." functionalities to the virtual store. I.e. when you search for "Harry Potter" the store might display other magic and fantasy related products whose proximity to the Harry Potter object would vary depending on how close a match they were.

As you click on one of these items, the discovery tool would refocus on that item, perhaps displaying close matches to "magic wand" or "spell-casting".

The other interesting application of the technology would be the "your store" function of Amazon to the virtual store. A customer entering, with their consent, would allow the store to read their amazon preferences and build a virtual store to their interests and products they tend to buy. New items and sale items might appear up front, while more peripheral but potentially interesting items in the back.

But the most dramatic usage of a virtual store would be sharing the shopping experience with another avatar. The store would re-stock itself with items that might be of interest to both of you, say suggesting a movie you would both like to watch, or a book you might both want to purchase together. That would best leverage the community-based, 3D web functions to their fullest.

Hugo Dalgleish

Rikomatic, we already have working prototypes of some of the ideas you've mentioned. One big issue is that of privacy. Most people in Second Life want to keep their SL and RL personas seperate, so won't give out personal information (like amazon usernames) inside the virtual world so we can't retrieve your real life shopping habits and provide recommendations based on those. However, we've come up with a completley opt-in way of providing recommendations for you based on the products that you've been shopping for at our virtual stores.

Watch out for this feature coming soon!

harrycoupons

am so happy hearing that Amazon's Remote Shopping Cart system is now into the stores.

Thank for sharing valuable information.I will try this for my service.
http://www.coupons2grab.com/amazon-discount-coupons

Thanks&regards
harrycoupons

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